Today we were invited to Pastor Ricardo’s church to delivery 15 water filtration systems to members of his congregation and one to the church. This church was recently planted in an extremely impoverished area of Iquitos and its members are new followers of the Lord. What an honor it would be to model the love and compassion of Christ to our new brothers and sisters. Upon arriving, Pastor Ricardo gave us a tour of the community so we could see firsthand the deplorable conditions that the residents were up against.
The conditions at this location were far worse than what we had experienced yesterday at the village. The sewer system does not work so standing waste is found on every street. We looked on as children played in the streets next to streams of raw sewage that ran freely from homes. The main illnesses in this community are malaria, hepatitis, and diarrhea. Pastor Ricardo told us that the standing sewage provides for an excellent breeding ground for mosquitoes which carry the deadly malaria disease. The drinking water situation isn’t much better.
The government does provide a source of water to the people, but there are several serious problems. First, the water that they provide is not necessarily healthy water. The locals continue to get sick on a consistent basis. Second, the water source is not constant.
At times the government will not provide water for a week or more to the residents, forcing them to seek water from other unhealthy sources. Since the flow of water is intermittent, they must store large quantities of water whenever possible. This stored water quickly becomes contaminated causing the cycle of poor health to continue.
After touring the community, we set up for our presentation in the pastor’s church. Before the training class began I took time to thoroughly train Pastor Ricardo on how to use and maintain the water system. He will be working to follow up with the families and address any issues if they arise.
The presentation would follow the same flow as yesterday, with additional emphasis put on having them demonstrate their competency using the water system. The training class went well with many families asking good questions and hopefully getting good answers from me. Initially, they all were under the impression that it was the water alone that was making them sick, but after discussing the contamination cycle and describing to them that we can get just as ill from not washing our hands, they began to realize the importance of doing a few simple tasks that can keep them and their families healthy.
At the conclusion of the session I made a point of discussing with the men how they are to now model their actions after Jesus Christ as new believers. We spoke about their responsibilities to their family and ultimately to the Lord. I reemphasized that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. And that know one can come to the father without going through the son. We all praised the Lord for His kindness and mercy and Pastor Ricardo closed us with a wonderfully heartfelt prayer.
Before leaving we decided to pass out another load of the GivingThanks t-shirts to the children. Kids came running from every corner of the neighborhood when they say what we were doing! It was amazing. These children have so little that any thing is big to them. What a blessing it was to pass out the shirts and see the smiles on their faces! Praise the Lord.
Please continue to pray for us as we go and deliver our last shipment of filters tomorrow.