Every 21 seconds, a child dies from a water-related illness.
And around the world, nearly 800 million people lack access to safe, clean drinking water.
These deaths are completely preventable. Clean water saves lives, and it only takes one week and about $5,500 to provide safe, clean water and change an entire community for generations.
"The water crisis is a solvable problem," said Jim Smith, coordinator of Outwardly Focused Ministries at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church.
Smith is coordinating an Aug. 2 through Aug. 9 well-digging trip to Guatemala for Macon District pastors and mission coordinators. He hopes that, by seeing firsthand the need for clean water and the changed lives, more congregations will be inspired to fund and build wells.
“We want to get other churches doing what Mulberry is doing,” he said. “The hope is that they will go and come back and say, ‘yes, this is doable; we can do this.’”
Several spots on the August trip are available. Six drillers and two hygiene instructors are still needed.
"Water is such a basic necessity; yet even in places where water is available, it is often not safe to drink,” said Rev. Tommy Martin, Macon District Superintendent. “Providing safe, sustainable sources of drinking water to remote areas around the world is a gift of life. Clergy return from these mission experiences sharing firsthand the need for and the blessing of providing life-giving water. Through personal witness, they claim the mandate among their congregations to go into all the world to give Living Water as well.”
Several South Georgia United Methodist Churches have already become involved.
Mulberry Street UMC has dug three wells in Central America and in September will send a fourth well-digging team to Guatemala. Valdosta’s Porterfield United Methodist Church has raised money for three wells and recently dug their first in Nicaragua.
“This is a fundamentally appealing mission trip because you leave something that will benefit the whole community,” Smith said. “We leave something that will last for, we hope, 50 years.”
Coordinated through the non-denominational nonprofit Living Water International (www.water.cc), those on the trip will share the love of Christ in a permanent, meaningful, helpful way.
“It’s disturbing to me that we have a worldwide solvable human crisis,” Smith said. “If we don’t act, we are condemning other people to suffer and die for the lack of clean water. There are so many things that we can do nothing about, but this is something with a very practical solution, but it requires some effort and some economic resources.”
Several things are needed to make the Guatemala well a reality, Smith said:
Smith is available to speak to missions committees and/or Wednesday night supper groups about Living Water International and the well-drilling ministry. For more information, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 478-747-4189.