By Abby Hopkins
Millions of people lack access to safe water in one country of sub-Saharan Africa. Within rural areas, many women and children walk more than three hours to collect water.
A married American couple recognized this need after several short-term trips to this African nation with their church and felt the Lord calling them to action.
“The need for water was the number one need constantly expressed by the people there,” said the husband, whom we need to keep anonymous.
They moved permanently to a rural part of the country to begin a ministry there. About half a million people reside in this area, with 90 percent not having access to clean water, he said.
The ministry conducts water projects in different communities, coordinating everything through local and national governments. So far, 15 water projects have been administered. The projects include water wells, WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) trainings and maintenance trainings for committee members of each community.
The goal of the ministry is maximal sustainability, the wife said. It teaches communities how to use and repair the wells properly so the residents can continually live with clean water and feel ownership of the project.
“It’s hard work, but it’s beautiful when you can go into a community desperate for water and you can see afterwards how they’re vibrant and healthy,” he said.
While the ministry provides for the physical need of water, it also focuses on sharing the Living Water of Christ with people in the area, where less than 1 percent would be considered evangelical Christians.
“If you come bringing clean water, it’s an automatic open door,” she said. “Communities that would typically be hostile towards our presence are very open.”
The couple prayed for an open door in a specific community where a water project took place. After being invited into a home, they were able to share the gospel with many community members and saw eight come to know the Lord that day.
“We saw the full picture of the water project,” he said.
Texas Baptist Hunger Offering funds are used specifically for the installation of water wells and pumps. The wife said she has learned how the body of Christ is meant to work together for the glory of God and the furthering of His Kingdom.
“This is a life and ministry that would not function without the body of Christ praying and giving and supporting and visiting and investing themselves in it,” she said.
The Hunger Offering partners with similar ministries to meet both physical and spiritual needs across the world. To take part in this work, give online here.