In a community named for a lake that once drew the Chicago elite to its shores, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church celebrates the flow of clean water in a community more than 2,800 miles away. Their “Fiesta Agua Viva” or “Party for Living Water” celebrates what God is accomplishing through their Living Waters for the World ministry in Guatemala and raises funds to keep it going.
Since attending Clean Water U in 2015, founding water team members Rick and Lois Johnson and Jac and Sarah Kelewae have been focused on including their church and larger community in the Living Waters for the World mission. They have grown the church's water team to include thirteen members, eleven of whom will have trained at Clean Water U as of October. And, they have invited the wider Ridgefield-Crystal Lake community to help share the gift of clean water through events like Fiesta Agua Viva.
The water system coming together at Belén Presbyterian Church in Guatemala - July 2016.
A family-friendly, indoor and outdoor event, Fiesta Agua Viva is held on a Saturday afternoon at the church. Children can participate in a variety of activities including “germ” coloring sheets based on LWW’s health education curriculum. All are invited to partake in food that is donated by church members and friends. And throughout the entire event there is music - lots of music! Guests are entertained by a marimba player as well as other musical performances by members of Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church and community. A silent auction provides opportunities for people to bid on items, and an empty five-gallon water bottle, like those used by their Guatemalan partners, is set out to collect donations.
The Fiesta Agua Viva fundraiser at Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church.
Water team member Lois Johnson reports that people enjoy themselves and feel like they are able to make a difference for others in need of clean water. And they do make a difference! Last year the team raised about $6,000 at their Fiesta Agua Viva, half of which came from the silent auction and half from donations in the water bottle.
The event requires a fair amount of effort from church members, but Lois says it is worth it. She recalls the opening celebration for Belén Presbyterian Church’s water system in Jerez Village, Guatemala saying, “At the end of the service, we were hugged by every person there - the moms, the kids, the grandmoms and the grandpas. The connection was really strong even with language challenges between partners.”
Signing the covenant at Ciudad de Refugio Presbyterian Church in February 2017.
Fiesta Agua Viva has helped fund their partnership with Belén Presbyterian Church, and it will help fund their new partnership with Ciudad de Refugio (City of Refuge) in La Felicidad, Guatemala, with whom they will install a Living Waters for the World water system this December. May God continue to bless the work of Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church and all of Living Waters for the World water teams.