About 7 years ago, the elders of our church met to talk about the kind of service goals we have and what we’d like to accomplish over a 10 year period. A big part of that was our world missions program.
We were struggling with the ‘disconnect’ that was happening in our missions program. We were writing checks, supporting missionaries, but the ‘Great Commission’ wasn’t the life and breath of the church as a whole. There was a Gap in our Great Commission.
Families loved what we were doing, people were happy to be part of our missions giving and our conferences, but we were longing for way to take the ‘Great Commission’ and make it an Every DAY, EVER PERSON commission.
One of the issues that arose from that meeting was the international water crisis. Living in Liberia, I saw first hand how unsafe water in under-developed countries can be. We committed the issue to prayer and began to research the matter. After checking several sources we found that building wells and buying treatments systems for communities, specifically in Ghana, would incur an expense beyond our current abilities. We tabled the idea, but did not forget it.
At the end of 2010, I began to make plans to visit Josephus Hallie and his church in Ghana. Josephus was one of the Liberian students at the West Africa Institute of Biblical Studies where I spent two semesters teaching in 1994-1995. He was living and working in Ghana as pastor of Haven Of Grace Ministries in Tema.
As I planned the trip, I began discussing the vision we had a few years ago to provide safe water to countries like Ghana, and communicated my desire to begin making some kind of impact in that area on this trip to a few friends. One of those friends, Chad Sanderson, took it to heart and began looking for affordable, portable water solutions on-line and found the “Hydraid Water Filter”. The HWF was inexpensive, easy to install and use and remained effective for 7-10 years in the average home! This looked very good.
After several phone calls we came in contact the key international distribution organizer, Jim Bodenner. Jim is the Executive Director of the Safe Water Team. He informed us that there were close to 1500 filters already in stock in Ghana, but was struggling to find reliable distribution partners to help get them into the hands of families in need of safe potable water.
In June of this year we opened the The Safe Water-Ghana distribution center in Tema, Ghana and are at work implementing filters and sharing the Gospel throughout the Greater Accra region and beyond.
By adding Safe Water to our missions work in Ghana, God has begun to fill the ‘Gap in our Great Commission’. There is a renewed excitement and vision about our work, because as Christ did by example, we are providing a tangible expression of love to others, along with the Gospel message.
Consider this verse from Isaiah 41:17, “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.”
People in our church then began engaging themselves in the vision on their own.
While I was preaching, the kids in my church were drawing pictures of what I was talking about, and selling them for 10 cents to a $1 and putting the money in the water filter we have in the rear of the chapel.
One family did a fundraiser, selling knives and candles – they raised $200. Others have given money beyond their normal missions giving gifts, others are praying and still others are hoping to visit Ghana personally to provide a needing family with a Hydraid Water filter!
This year, our church is placing pictures of Ghanian families on a Christmas Tree, and families in our church can ‘adopt’ a family and buy them a water filter for Christmas.
Safe Water Ghana has become the missions tool that connects people with a real need and provides a way for believers of all ages to make an eternal difference in another family’s life. After all these years, God again has demonstrated that His timing is perfect, and He alone knows best.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” Eph 3:20-21