“A three member well drilling team from First Baptist Church of Shelbyville just returned from their second mission project to Madagascar. Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief provided the well-drilling tools and assisted with training at Water Step in Louisville. Baptist Global Response paid for the pumps and hardware needed for each site.
The team had three goals in mind as they traveled to Madagascar. First, they desired to obey the command of Jesus by seeking to make disciples. Second, they wanted to offer assistance and encouragement to international mission partners. Third, they wanted to provide the blessing of clean water to remote villages.
The Shelbyville team partnered with an International Mission Board Strategist to assist in digging a well for an unreached people group in the Fort Dauphine area. This village sits in an arid part of the island of Madagascar, and, because of this, villagers must walk ten miles for clean water. Although the team attempted to drill for water in four different sites, they were unable to hit water and finally had to admit defeat. In total, the team dug 102 feet with no success.
The team lamented, “Had God not heard our prayers?”
Though the team was not able to find a water source for this village, they were able to provide these villagers with an even more important life sustaining source. The team was able to bring the “living water” of Christ to people unreached for the Gospel. This is the same living water that Jesus offered the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. The team, following leadership of IMB strategists, shared Biblical stories with villagers as they dug for clean water. The people were very receptive to the message of God’s Word. Several people gave public testimony of their commitment to follow Christ by being baptized.
In addition, the team was able to return to two villages on the northern tip of Madagascar, where they had ministered the previous year. The team discovered two very important things. First, the two producing wells, which were dug the previous year, were still functioning and providing water for 1600 people. The people said they were not sick anymore from unclean water. Second, the wells had opened doors for the Gospel and the team was excited to see the continued work of Christ in these remote and previously unreached villages. As the team returned, the villages celebrated those who had brought them both clean water and “living water” of Christ.
The team desires to tell others of the importance of providing clean water in nations across the globe, and to open unreached villages to the “living water” of Christ. Water related illnesses continue to affect families and villages all across Sub-Sahara Africa. A child dies every fifteen seconds somewhere in the world due to water related diseases. One out of nine people lack access to safe drinking water. Compassionate ministry opens tremendous opportunities for the Gospel.
If you have an interest in learning more about water ministry opportunities, such as well digging and pump repair, please contact Coy Webb in the Disaster Relief Department at the Kentucky Baptist Convention. As a team, we are personally thankful that the Kentucky Baptist Convention connected our church to this exciting opportunity of service that enabled us to bring clean water and “living water” to some of the least of these.”
Madagascar team members: Jerry Tracy, Bob Walters, and Mike Embry
You can contact Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief at (502) 489-3527, (866) 489-3527, or at [email protected] to learn more about mission opportunities in Sub-Sahara Africa.