The day starts well before sun up. It’s still dark out when tanks are checked, valves are opened and switches are flipped. By 7 a.m., you are already filling bottles and there is a long line at the front door of the church, neighbors visiting while they queue for their daily water needs. “Let me assist you with cleaning your water bottle,” you say to the newcomer. “If you put clean water in a contaminated bottle, you get contaminated water.”
A mother comes with her two little girls—they are twins! She works at the local TV station. A member of the church, she has been drinking this water since the system was installed. Her husband is one of the volunteers who helps serve the water every day.
“I’ve been coming here since the beginning,” she says. “When I was pregnant, when the twins were born, I always used this water for taking care of them, and to prepare their food. Thank God that we have this opportunity."
Five years ago - has it really been that long since we cut the ribbon and drank a first glass of pure water together to celebrate the beginning of our water partnership?
Meticulous records have been kept. The water meter will soon read a million gallons. Thousands of your neighbors have been served and several of them have so believed in this calling that they have joined you in service. New operators have been trained. Filters have been washed and replaced. You’ve brainstormed solutions when problems with the system have arisen. You’ve even helped other nearby churches become water partners.
Children have been born during this time in your neighborhood. In their lifetime, there’s been nothing but pure water for them to drink. The elderly you serve lunch to each day—that food is prepared using only pure water. The many visitors from around the world you have hosted, they’ve all filled their bottles each day with safe drinking water from the system during their stay.
All of this, you have done humbly, with smiles on your faces. God has blessed your community through your hands. “It is beautiful work,” Pastor Liudmila reminds us. “It is hard work, yes, but it is beautiful work.”
Operator Rafael and Pastor Liudmila at Sancti Spiritus Presbyterian Church.
We had no idea how beautiful it was going to be. Happy fifth anniversary to our water partners, our sisters and brothers in Christ.