Published November 1, 2019
When was the last time that you thanked God for a glass of clean water?
The people in villages across Sub-Saharan Africa long for clean water. During the long dry seasons, you can often see arid riverbeds dotted with holes. Every morning women, girls and young children walk the dry path down to the river and hope that they will find enough water in one of these holes to supply their family for one more day. The water in these holes has often been contaminated by livestock and surface bacteria, but these families have no other option but to drink the unclean water. Tragically, this unclean water will cause many in villages to become sick and the vulnerable to die. Every eight seconds across Africa, a child dies from unclean water.
Two Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have heard the cries of those longing for clean water and have chosen to make a difference for Christ's sake. Disaster Relief volunteers Matt Stickel and Ron Wilson have received training in well repair and water purification and are making a difference across the continent of Africa.
Last year they traveled to Africa at the request of Baptist Global Response and International Mission Board partners to assist with a clean water project. Their goal was to develop a system that could mine water from beneath the surface of a dry riverbed and pipe it to cisterns in a nearby village so villagers could have a consistent and clean source of water. They hoped to develop a system that could be replicated in countless other villages across Africa.
The project was an ambitious one for these two experienced disaster relief volunteers. This was a much larger project than previous water projects they had served on in the past. The two-man team working with village partners found the project challenging from the beginning. Equipment issues delayed the work and then the rains came early to this part of Africa, and the team was unable to complete the project.
The team, along with an IMB partner, was disappointed as they met with the village chief to tell him that they would be unable to complete the project. But promised they would return in 2019 to complete this needed work. The chief was puzzled at why these men would care that his village had clean water and why they would travel not once but twice from so far away to help his people have water. This opened the door for the men and IMB partner to share about the good news of Jesus Christ. The chief was overwhelmed as they shared that God's love for this village was their reason for such sacrifice.
The men have kept their promise and are in Africa completing this project that will save lives as it brings the gift of clean water. Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief brings clean water and the Living Water of Christ across Sub-Saharan Africa.
I am thankful today that I can walk to my kitchen sink and drink clean water, but I am also thankful that my gifts to the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions is helping to bring the offering of life-giving water and the hope of the gospel to the least of these across our globe.
Coy Webb is disaster relief director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
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