(Author’s name and location are withheld for security reasons.)
Clean water is essential for life. In one Southeast Asian village, clean water brought a community to church.
A newly established church in rural Southeast Asia requested a community-sized clean water filtration system be installed on the front lawn of their church. They desired to share their hope and faith in Christ and wanted to be a blessing to a community that was uncertain and fearful of their presence.
The Southeast Asia Water Relief project, a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering ministry, partnered with different organizations and local church leaders to construct a clean water filtration system on the small church lawn. The slow-sand water filtration system has three varieties of filters and no chemicals are used, ensuring the cost and difficulty of maintenance is minimized.
Water is needed and cherished in the region. When the church invited the community to use the clean water filter with no strings attached, the generosity astounded the community.
Acquiring clean water is one of the biggest challenges for many families living along the river. The river is the source of drinking and cooking water, but it is also where people bathe, relieve themselves, wash dishes, and play. Industrial plants dump waste in the river, as well. Consequently, the river is a primary source of illness and disease.
Poverty is so great that many families cannot afford the fuel necessary to boil water before drinking it. Clean water is in serious shortage.
Community members observed that the water filtration system was provided freely, and they were grateful. The church recognized a need in the community, and Hunger Offering gifts helped them meet this need. The ministry led to openness and trust between the church and community that had not existed.
Having access to clean water ensures that villagers have fewer sick days, enabling adults to work more and children to stay in school. Creating awareness about the importance of clean water, involving communities in the construction and maintenance of the water filters, and building relationships are central components of the Southeast Asia Water Relief project.
Members of the community are involved in all stages of the project so they are given ownership of the program. This investment increases the expected longevity of the project by leading to greater care and maintenance. Involvement of the community also deepens relationships between the ministry and village.
The provision of clean water considerably raises the standard of living and quality of life for the people who receive it. The Hunger Offering is helping this ministry continue its life-giving work.