"13" Can be a Lucky Number!
Children enthralled by explanation of the reverse osmosis purification system
It was exactly 13 years ago that a Living Waters for the World (LWW) team from Transylvania Presbytery (KY) partnered with the village of Pich in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico to bring purified water to that community of about 2,000 people. Iglesia Principe de Paz, the church partner in Pich, developed the ministry into a vibrant part of the church’s mission, and soon nearly 90% of the villagers were using LWW water. Health improved significantly, and the church was able to support other church programs (e.g. youth ministry, VBS) with part of the revenue from the water – including a beautiful new sanctuary built in 2013, partly paid for with water funds. All this while still maintaining a very affordable cost for the water!
Original single-tank water building, 2013
But church leaders wanted to share the blessing of clean water beyond their own church and community, and so in 2015 they began to serve two nearby communities of Guatemalan refugees. This, of course, required even greater production from the water system, which operates every day and produces over 1,000 gallons daily!
Two of the reasons LWW exists! Children living in a Guatemalan refugee community near Pich.
All of this took a toll on the equipment which was aging - the humidity in the peninsula is very hard on metal, and the extraordinary hardness of the water causes occlusion of pipes. Furthermore, the Yucatan Network developed a newer, more efficient system design in 2010, so this system was of the older design.
By 2018, the water system had quadrupled in size and added five additional water storage tanks.
Seeing the continued faithfulness of this water partner in Pich, and the wonderful ministry they were continuing to accomplish for THIRTEEN years, even with their older model, their LWW partner from Transylvania Presbytery offered to help them with a remodeling of the water plant – new equipment, and a reinforcement of the educational curriculum.
Bottles being loaded onto truck for delivery in Pich
Several lessons can be learned from this success story:
Partnerships can continue for many, many years; the faithfulness of the Pich community encouraged the Transylvania team to continue their support;
Because the revenue from the water stays within the community, the community is able to accomplish many things in addition to better health;
A community that learns the value of safe water is motivated to sustain the water system, even in the face of obstacles.
So, in this case, 13 is indeed a lucky number!