Taking Clean Water for Granted
(YM360 Note: At youthministry360, we partner with a lot of ministries. Neverthirst is an incredible ministry making a dramatic difference in the lives of "the least of these" around the globe. We're all about the work Neverthirst does, and want to share their story with you. However, youthministry360 isn't officially affiliated with Neverthirst, and vice versa. They're just a really good ministry doing some really good work. We thought you should know. )
"It is a long walk for water." This is what we were told in April 2008 by villagers in Witto, Sudan. These people lived in severe poverty. Just a few days before we had shared a meal with the leaders of Witto. They had told us about the difficulty of returning to their village after 20 years of war. Like many things they shared with us that day, hearing they had no access to clean water was tough and hard to imagine. But it wasn't until a few days later, as we prayed over children who were dying simply because they didn't have access to clean water to drink, that we decided to get serious.
We went back to the little village of Witto unannounced and asked them to show us where their women and children get water to drink. They told us it was a long walk. We didn't mind, though. We were determined to see the cause of so much death in post-war Sudan. So we walked. I remember thinking as we walked, "Wasn't it enough that these brothers and sisters in Christ had suffered 21 years of civil war? Millions had been left orphaned, widowed, and homeless? Wasn't it enough that they faced so many natural dangers already from wild animals and extreme living conditions?"
That day we walked about a mile down a worn and winding path through the bush. Suddenly we reached the sandy beach of a dried up stream. We walked a bit further and ended up at a shallow, stagnate pond. We immediately connected the dying kids a few miles away to this dirty water. It broke our hearts. It broke my heart because I have kids, young kids who couldn't stomach this dirty water either.
What was their solution? They didn't have a solution. They didn't have a plan. These people were just praying. They were farmers and mothers and children with no money and no plans and not a drop of clean water. Just prayers. And faith. And joy in Christ.
That day, on the outskirts of Witto, Sudan, God put the vision and the mission in our hearts for providing clean water to the poor through the local church. Just months ago it seemed we weren't really concerned about our neighbors, much less strangers in a strange land thousands of miles away. But that is what's so beautiful about the Spirit of God. Traveling through remote Sudan has a way of strengthening your prayer life and your dependence on Him. So we were ripe for the Spirit of Christ to give us the compassion of Christ.
We found it impossible to go back home to our nice comfortable lives with our nice middle class families and drown out the voice of God that screamed from the pages of our leather bound Bibles, "Seek justice, encourage the oppressed, defend the cause of the fatherless, and plead the case of the widow." Eight months later we had formed a Board of Directors, chosen the name Neverthirst, and scraped together the $10,000 needed to bring the people of Witto, Sudan clean water. God used that day in Sudan to simplify a lot of things for us. We could either spend the rest of our lives making things as fun and comfortable as possible or we could risk it all for the sake of His great name among the poor, among the lost, and among our brothers and sisters living in the hardest places on earth. What does your leather bound Bible tell you to do?
Share your thoughts with the youthministry360 community:
- In what ways are you helping your teenagers understand their role in helping the helpless in their communities and around the world?
- Have you ever partnered or done a fundraiser to support ministries like Neverthirst or the many others involved in missional initiatives to aid the needy? What was that experience like?
What else is on your mind? We want to hear from you . . .