Hi, y’all. Two requests today:
1. Sunday’s daughter (Amy) has bronchitis. Please pray for a quick, permanent recovery.
2. I’m going to try to make a long story short. Those of you who know me know that this can be difficult for me. (**Okay, I’m on read-through 4 or so now, and every time I read over this post, I add things to it. I just have so much to say about this! I’m going to stop now, though. If you’re interested in hearing more, you can feel free to ask!**)
A year ago two missionaries visited our church. Rodney is from South Africa and Shobane is from Swaziland. A little background on Swaziland: They have the highest percentage of AIDS cases of any country (42% infection rate). Largely because of this epidemic, there are an estimated 120,000 (some estimate 200,000) orphans in Swaziland (in a country of about 1.1 million people) with about 15,000 households headed by children. The life expectancy for someone born today is 32 years. About ½ of the residents of Swaziland do not have access to clean drinking water. This causes short-term and long-term health issues.
During their visit a year ago, Shobane spoke to our LifeGroup class on Sunday morning, and when asked what his most pressing need was he said clean drinking water for his village. The women of the village (his wife and daughter included) have to hike more than a mile to the river to get water for the family. They have to get there each day before the animals do because the water is cleaner before the animals get in it. The water, even before the animals arrive, is not clean. A well would provide water for Shobane’s family, but also for the rest of the village. (With such easy and immediate access to water, I think not having clean drinking water is hard for me to imagine. I don’t know what it’s like to literally being dying of thirst, but I do know what it feels like to be dehydrated – it’s not pleasant. More upsetting, though, is thinking about the children I know feeling that way – and not having any way to ease their pain. Dirty drinking water (that I have to hike miles to get) or having no water at all is not an acceptable choice. If I wouldn’t accept it for my children, it’s hard to ask Shobane to accept it for his. My husband and I both felt burdened about this project last year, and followed up with our church leaders about getting a well for Shobane’s village.
Here’s what we found: Once someone goes back to Swaziland, coordinating details becomes much harder. Despite people working on both ends, thousands of miles, a number of bureaucratic and financial roadblocks, and other pressing needs kept the project from moving forward.
Shobane and Rodney came back this year. Shobane still does not have clean water. Shobane spoke to our class (along with some other classes) again this year and, when asked, again said that clean water is his most pressing need. Upset that the well hadn’t happened yet (and that, from what we could gather, a solution was still months away), we felt a clearer and more dramatic burden for this particular project. Since Sunday, we have been researching well options and trying to get the details straight regarding what exactly is needed.
Yesterday (Wednesday) there was a breakthrough. A meeting with Shobane, Rodney, and the director of missions at our church yielded a new and more-streamlined plan. Most of the previous ideas were going to take 6 months to a year to implement, but everyone expects this plan to give them water within the month!
So here’s the prayer request: In order to make this well happen, we need to raise $7,000 by Monday. (Shobane and Rodney leave Tuesday, and the logistics of making this happen long-distance will again push the project back, maybe by several months. We firmly believe they’ve waited long enough). This amount covers all the needed materials for to provide clean, reliable water to both Shabone’s village and a nearby Christian orphanage. (Plus, having reliable water will allow them more stability raising crops, giving them reliable food and income as well.) As for the manual labor needed to implement this plan, Rodney and Shobane both said that if the money was available, the people are eager to work and would begin immediately.
Our church mission budget is already tied up in other projects, both in this area and elsewhere. So we’ve got to find the money elsewhere. And in some ways $7,000 seems daunting. We don’t have that in our bank account – that check would bounce so high! But, at the same time, it’s not so much. It’s about 100 tanks of gas. It’s about 150 dinners-for-two at an Olive-Garden-type restaurant.
We know there are pressing needs everywhere. We know that not everyone will feel burdened for this need just because we do. And I’m really not asking for money here — just your prayers.
So please pray that, if it’s God’s Will, we’ll be able to raise this money by Monday. Through a few big donors, though a lot of little donors, through some avenue we haven’t even thought of yet. Our God is a big God. We can’t do this, but HE can!
Ephesians 3:20-21: Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.