Our journey began by heading down to the docks to catch a canoe ride with the E3 medical missionaries. Today we would have the privilege of traveling up river to deliver 12 of the water systems and the Good News of Jesus Christ to families and a school in a jungle village. Before departing I prayed Psalm 143:8 “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” The Lord heard my words and proved faithful yet again.
After reaching our destination, we hiked for 20 minutes into the jungle out to the small village of 8 Diciembre. There’s not much in the village; few houses, small school, soccer field, and a community center. Life out here is very basic, surviving day to day. The housing is very primitive, most consisting of a roof, a floor, and not much else.
After arriving we began to assess the water situation. Their local source of water is little more than a stagnant pond. As we walked with a local villager down to the watering hole, we quickly became sickened when the reality of what they and their children are forced to drink became clear to us. We were told that this village was in desperate need for clean water, but it wasn’t until we saw it for ourselves that it really sank in. The water emitted a noticeable odor and was covered with algae and debris. To make it worse, this water hole is the same spot where their bathing, food preparation and clothe washing takes place.
The villagers told us that they are constantly battling diarrhea, cholera, and stomach bugs due to the water. These families were in desperate need of help. Praise the Lord that He sent us here today to be His hands! “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10”Working with Pastor Segunda, we gathered our materials into the community center and set up for our training.
After setting up, we had an hour to evangelize in the community. The Lord led us to a local man in a nearby house and we presented him with the Good News using the EvangeCube. After the presentation and after answering a few questions of his, he prayed to receive Christ as his Savior! Praise the Lord! Please pray that the seed planted in his heart today will continue to grow and flourish. Shortly after, the Lord provided me with an opportunity to witness to a group of village children. What an honor it was to talk about our Lord and Savior to them! After telling them about the incredible gift of salvation that the Lord extends to us all, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13”, several of them prayed to receive Christ! What a day and it was only noon!
After lunch we began our training class with the 12 families selected by the pastor. The training consisted of 3 parts: Hygiene and Sanitation training, water filter training, and witnessing. After a brief introduction, we jumped into discussing topics such as the contamination cycle and how to break it, the importance of washing hands, disposing waste properly, and how to build a hand-washing station. The families were very receptive and attentive to the discussion and I believe that their knowledge and understanding of how to keep their families healthy was greatly improved.
Next we moved onto demonstrating the filters. We discussed the filter components, how and why to use the filter, and how to clean the filter. We did some basic demonstrations to reinforce the fact that just because water looks healthy does not necessarily mean that it is healthy. After filtering the water we had several families come up and sample it. All were overwhelmed with the taste and odor, or lack of, from the clean water. Praise the Lord! You could see the looks of thankfulness on their faces! After the water demo I closed by presenting the Good News of Jesus Christ to the group. The group had been recently witnessed too by the other mission team and had all receive Christ prior, but they got the opportunity to hear the words of our Lord and Savior again and were each presented with a bible for their home! We closed the session by praising the Lord together, what a joy! On the way out of the class, each family received a water filtration device, paperwork on how to use and clean the device, paperwork on proper hygiene and sanitation, and a hygiene gift bag (consisting of soap, toothpaste and brush, sponges) and a bible for each home.
We also brought a larger bucket with two filters attached to be placed in the local school for the children! Now on hot summer days the kids will have safe, clean water to drink!
Before leaving we had an opportunity to present the village children with the t-shirts donated by the GivingThanks organization. After clothing each child with a shirt, we provided them with a soccer ball and had a boys against girls soccer match. What a wonderful time we had just watching them be kids!
In summary, what a blessing it was to be the hands and feet of Christ today. Not only was the truth of our Lord and Savior preached, but His compassion and love was demonstrated to each family. It’s nice to think that tonight those families now have access to the two most basic and essential elements known to man; clean water and Jesus Christ.
Continue to pray for us as we journey back into the mission field tomorrow.