Africa (MNN) — In Africa, spiritual water can be shared once physical water is provided. A pilot project to treat and transport water in Uganda and Kenya are reportedly doing well and opening doors to share the Good News.
Bruce Okkema, executive director of En-Gedi Resource Center recently returned from Uganda and Kenya where he checked-up on the seven pilot systems that they partnered with Water Missions International to place.
Because of animals and mosquitoes, it is unsafe for villages to locate themselves too near their water source. "The piping of this water just makes their lives so much easier. The children often will spend an hour or two just carrying water in the morning and by the time
they get to school they're so tired they fall asleep," Okkema said.
In some villages even the path to a water source is quite dangerous. Last year, a child and his father were killed by an elephant in the Kenyan village Okkema visited. That walk no longer has to be made thanks to the piping system.
Villages often do not understand why it is they are being helped, but it creates a perfect opportunity to share the Gospel. "We couldn't speak the same language but with
their eyes and with their hugs I could truly feel that they were witnessing and experiencing God's love. Every place we went I had opportunities to speak to the village, speak to the leaders and say that this is living proof that there's God in Heaven who knows your situation, who loves you and we're coming in the name of Jesus to try and make your lives
happier and better," Okkema said.
The government has allowed older treatment systems to become dilapidated, "They're allowing the villages to fend for themselves which gives us an open door to come in and provide help, and in our case this help happens to come in the name of Jesus, so it lends huge credibility to the cause of Christ," Okkema said.
The system also lessens the amount of diseases they get from dirty water, therefore saving them money on medical bills. "I just hope we'll be able to multiply this solution hundreds of times over and once people are healthy again they now become very friendly and open to discussions to ‘Why did you come' and ‘We don't understand this. Explain this God whose name you're coming in'," Okkema said.
The systems are capable of purifying any kind of surface water and are now providing 30,000 people with clean water for only $2 per person, per year. The initial placement and cost of the system is a gift form En-Gedi- each system costs $15,000 to place.
A great way for churches to help is by sponsoring an entire project. "We can actually begin setting up trips where maybe people from that church would want to come and be part of
the installation and then ongoing relationships can form," Okkema said.