Often I discover how tightly connected the Kingdom of God is, and especially how small it gets within Presbyterian Missions. I see the entwining connections as one way God shows His involvement our lives, or rather how he includes us in His life.
In February of 2018, I was in Haiti with Quaker Memorial Presbyterian (QMPC) when I noticed that Terre Noire, the Haiti Outreach Ministries (HOM) site where we spent the night and ate meals, had a Living Waters for the World (LWW) drinking water system installed with First Presbyterian Church of Pascagoula Mississippi in 2011. Despite a five-year partnership with HOM, my church was not familiar with LWW. But, I was.
As a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) in Little Rock, Arkansas doing Eco-ministry projects, I trained with Solar Under the Sun (2014) and Living Waters for the World (2015). Both ministries train mission teams to teach international partners how to install and operate a solar power system or drinking water system (or both) in places that need these things.
Alex (far right) strikes the LWW “instructor pose” at Clean Water U in 2015
After YAV I got a solar panel installer job in Lynchburg, Virginia and joined my current church, Quaker Memorial Presbyterian (QMPC). QMPC has a partnership with Haiti Outreach Ministries (HOM) in Port Au Prince, and after attending a few mission team meetings to learn more, I ended up going to Haiti to help with an electrical project and plan for a 2019 solar installation at a girl’s home called House of Hope.
Alex (middle) working on the electrical project at House of Hope with other members of
Quaker Memorial Presbyterian Church
As I was trying to find solar equipment for next year’s trip, QMPC Bible School asked for help with a clean water fundraising project. The theme was “Shipwrecked” and “Jesus Rescues” so they wanted to support clean water …because that’s one thing you’ll need if you become shipwrecked somewhere and it connects with the church’s recurring Haiti mission.
So, we collected money in an empty 5 gallon jug to fund LWW’s Haiti network and support their translators and in-country partners. We slanted some of the VBS curriculum and activities to bring clean water into the kid’s lessons including building a water filter and testing it with the whirly pack. To encourage more donations, we coordinated several prizes for kids who gave more than $5, prizes such as a stuffed animal like Moe the sloth or a LWW T-shirt.
Children raised $477.02 for Living Waters for the World during their “shipwreck” themed VBS
To make the discussion more personal for the kids, we researched names of people and specifics about communities LWW supports with our donations. The more we learned the more surprises God showed us.
Quaker Memorial Presbyterian Church 2018 VBS group
Our HOM partner Pastor Luc explained how the LWW water system decreased cases of yellow fever and diarrhea in the community, and he introduced us to Joseph from the LWW installation team in 2011. Joseph, now on HOM board, has plans to install a water system at a nearby girl’s home called House of Hope - precisely the place we are planning to install a solar array next year! This new connection to Joseph opened the door to a much better planned solar mission project and future work in that community.
Additionally, LWW’s Haiti network coordinating team connected me with Lucson, the Haiti In-Country Technician assigned to the Terre Noire system. Lucson is the same Lucson we found through Solar Under the Sun who is helping us with the solar project for next year. AND - this is the crazy part-- Lucson was performing his two-month water inspection at Terre Noire the Monday before VBS started and he made a video of our site’s water system to show the kids at VBS! How timely and fortunate!
God is connecting his people, so we can support each other’s work toward actual and spiritual clean water for all God’s children. Thanks to the 40 VBS kids who raised $477 and thanks to the LWW Haiti Network! Bondye ap Travay!! God is Working!! Especially the 51 weeks of the year we are away from our friends in Haiti.