Each morning, most of us wake up, take a shower, brush our teeth, wash our hands, cook breakfast, and brew coffee or tea.
All of these activities have one thing in common: water--a basic resource that we all-too-often take for granted. In a country like Ethiopia, water that's clean enough to bath in, to use for cooking, or to drink is very difficult to come by. Most natural water sources carry a variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause severe water-borne illnesses such as Cholera, Schistosomiasis, Typhoid, E. coli, and Hepatitis A, just to name a few.
In the most rural villages of Ethiopia, family members must walk many miles to gather clean water and carry it back. Often, families will settle for dirty water merely due to its availability. What can we do to help?
One of the many items in our annual (and online) Gift Catalog is a clean-water well. Every year, thousands of generous supporters just like you decide to give a gift that will make a lasting impact on families in need around the world during the holiday season. IDES is proud to say that 100% of your donation is giving to families in need according to your specified gift designation.
When we say things like "your generosity makes a difference," we absolutely mean it. Recently, IDES was blessed with the opportunity to provide the funding to drill 3 new clean-water wells each in separate rural villages in Ethiopia. Approximately 400-500 people in each of the villages, a total of about 1350 people, were blessed by the new availability of clean-water. Local Ethiopian contractors were used in order to boost the local economy, therefore the wells were ensured to be a "hand-up" to the community, that families may begin standing on their own two feet. Once the wells were drilled, our mission partner in Ethiopia set up a community-appointed committee in each village to take care of and maintain the wells.
The most beautiful aspect of projects like these is not just the gift of a basic necessity--by providing clean-water to these families, their hearts are stirred by the generosity of our mission partners, and therefore much more open to receiving the Gospel.
"Ultimately, the goal in these communities is to develop relationships and expose the people of these areas to the true living water that is Jesus Christ," our partner reported. "We do this by digging wells in these villages along with planting churches these same communities. Due to the fact that we dig wells in the very communities we plant churches, these wells open up many opportunities to share the Gospel and help us develop strong community relationships."
One such example of these relationships is a young man named Birhanu. In one of the three rural villages, our mission partner had already planted a local church several years ago. Birhanu came to Christ as a result of the church, and decided to devote his life to evangelism and leading the church there. Unfortunately, he and his family have not had access to clean water, thus they were often contracting water-borne illnesses and becoming very sick. Their illnesses prevented them from ministering effectively in their village. Now that clean water is available, Birhanu is able to stay healthy and effectively share the Gospel.
"Birhanu and his family are now one of the many families being served by the wells that IDES has helped to fund here in Ethiopia. His ability to stay healthy and share the Gospel with his fellow community members has been greatly enhanced by your generosity," our partner in Ethiopia said.
Our partner plans to continue to interact with each of the three well committees in the village, along with supporting the churches that have been planted in each village. Our partner's missionaries are currently conducting spiritual training with the elders and evangelists in the villages, and teaching about best health practices.
Without supporters like you, these stories would not be realized. We praise God for giving us all the opportunity to bless others in the name of Jesus Christ!