Bringing Her Gifts to the Table: an Interview with Hope Anderson
Hope Anderson is the Director of Pennington Presbyterian Nursery School, and a dedicated volunteer for Living Waters for the World (LWW). Here she shares with us why she has gotten so deeply involved and how it has affected her life.
Hope volunteers with LWW as a Clean Water U 101 instructor, Yucatan Network co-moderator, and water team leader for Pennington Presbyterian Church of Pennington, NJ.
Photo: In July 2013, Hope Anderson (far right) joins the pastor and mayor of Kaua, Mexico in cutting the ribbon on their new Living Waters for the World water System
Q: How did you first get involved with Living Waters for the World?
The Pennington Presbyterian Mission, Peacemaking, and Justice Committee, on which I sit, was asked to identify a mission component for our 2009 capital campaign. We selected water because we knew that access to safe water, and conserving the water we do have, are critical and continuous problems. Our associate pastor had heard about Living Waters for the World and helped us connect with the organization.
We knew we wanted to establish a water mission in the Yucatan Peninsula, so a few of us attended Clean Water U (CWU) and were later connected with our first operating partner in Sacalum Mexico in June 2010. We installed and educated with our partners in November of the same year and started on a journey that has altered the course of our lives.
Photo: Hope (second from left) presents a certificate to Michelle, a partner from Saculum, Mexico, during their water system celebration.
Q: Why have you stayed involved?
Living Waters for the World is one of the finest organizations with which I have ever worked. I am inspired each time I meet with my fellow CWU instructors, each time the Pennington team and I visit with our partners, each time I get to hug one of my beloved friends in the Yucatan, each time I listen to a water system operator talk about the children who are healthy because they can drink clean water, each time I collaborate with the members of LWW’s Yucatan Network, and each time I attend a Field Ops meeting and learn about the work of other networks. Living Waters for the World emphasizes partnership, relationships, and faith, all of which are living water for me.
Q: How has your involvement with LWW impacted your life?
LWW has changed my life completely. I often ask myself how God knew that being part of this ministry was something I truly needed. I feel a deep joy to be part of an effort that gives my life value; one that cannot be accomplished by a single person, but relies on partnership, love, respect, and faith to achieve its mission.
Q: What's an experience or story from your time with LWW that stands out as one of the most affecting?
In looking back over the past seven years, there are several experiences that weave a sort of tapestry for me.
On the first evening of our implementation visit to Sacalum in November 2010, we
worshiped with our partners in their small mission church.The walls vibrated with song, drums, electric guitars, and the voices of children.I had never felt so close to God in my life as I did that evening.
Last summer, our group from Pennington worked with our partners in Tahdziu to install a water system, provide health and hygiene education, and lead a week-long LWW-themed VBS. To do this, we included 16 senior highs and youth leaders and formed a giant team of 23 people.It was hot, 150 2 to 12-year-olds attended VBS Monday through Friday, most of us didn’t speak each other’s language….and it was wonderful.The congregation and community welcomed us with open arms, our teenagers fell in love with their VBS students, and the young men from Pennington and Tahdziu got to play soccer in the town square several afternoons. We culminated the week with a spirited water celebration for 300 people. We were all blessed to work in partnership, but it has been interesting to observe how much the young people have changed at home since they visited Tahdziu. They are starting to see themselves as part of the world and understand that they can help make it a better place.
Finally, every time I talk to someone associated with LWW, we share a special excitement and vibrancy – we can hear it in each other’s voices! Colors are brighter; the world sparkles.We are all blessed to follow God through Living Waters for the World.