Liberia (MNN) — 13 years of civil war in Liberia did
incredible damage to the country. It killed people, destroyed villages, and
also destroyed infrastructure. Living Water International's Bruce Whitmire says
it was especially hard on the water supply.
"Where hand pumps were once constructed, they have now been
destroyed–the pumps absolutely ripped out of the ground and sold to buy
bullets. And over the past three years Living Water [International] has been
able to rehabilitate and drill over 300 new wells," says Whitmire.
However, he says that just a small portion of what's needed
to serve a population of three-million people. "When you look at the
capital city of Monrovia (a city that was built for 600,000 people), about 1.5
million people live in and around the capital city. So, if all of the
infrastructure services worked, there would still be 900,000 people without
basic services such as water and sewer."
But none of those services work, so the needs are great.
However, because the need is great, Living Water
International is able get into areas easier than typical missionaries. For them, Whitmire says, water is an open
door for evangelism. "Water is merely a tool to share the Gospel. And, as
Living Water International works in 25 countries throughout the world, our goal
is to reach the world with water and the Word of God."
The civil war hurt the church. Whitmire
says LWI has changed that. "Living Water International and other
organizations have come in and shared the Good News not only through our words
but through our deeds. It was something that they didn't see in the church of
Liberia because they lost that focus because of 13 years of civil war."
LWI plans to provide even more water to Liberia this year,
says Whitmire. "There is a goal this year that we would be able to drill
52 wells, so that's one a week. By the end of five years, it is our goal that
every person in Liberia would have access to clean, safe water." That also
gives them access to the Gospel.
Whimire believes there is uniqueness to LWI's work.
"There are many people today who want to provide water, but there are very
few who want to provide water and the Word of God. And water without the Word of God
is absolutely a disservice to the people."