Why I Serve: Transformational Changes from Clean Water
Doug Depies is the social media coordinator for Living Waters for the World (LWW), an in-country coordinator in the Yucatan Network, and a Clean Water U instructor in the water system installation course (103 reverse osmosis).
Doug at Clean Water U at Camp Hopewell in Oxford, MS
Q: How did you first get involved with Living Waters for the World (LWW)?
A: I first got involved with LWW in September of 2011, my home church, Crossroads Presbyterian Church in Mequon, Wisconsin offered to send me to Clean Water U (CWU) to begin a water project in Cancun, Mexico.
Q: Why have you stayed involved?
A: I have seen firsthand the transformational changes that clean water can provide to a community. Living in the Yucatan Peninsula I understand the need for clean water - bottled water is the only drinkable water here, but the fact that sustainable water systems exist in communities goes much further than providing a drinkable product. The ministry of clean water in communities all over the world allow children to stay healthy and stay in school, allow churches to serve their communities and show the love of Christ, provide legitimate sources of income for families working in the ministry, and many, many other benefits to each and every community. I've worked with dozens of non-profits in my life, I’ve seen the difference of projects that are for a group of people and projects that are done with a group of people. LWW is definitely the latter, LWW partners with local people to help provide clean water. This difference is key in my desire to continue working with LWW, this isn’t a project to make us feel good about what we are doing, this is a ministry that works with people where they are and meets their current needs in their life.
Doug with the Cuba Network team at the Seminario Evangelico de Teologia in Matanzas, Cuba, for the Partners' Conference in December 2019
Q: Before you joined the LWW staff this year, in what roles did you volunteer, and why did you choose to take on those responsibilities?
A: Before joining staff officially in January of 2022, I’ve held and still hold many different hats inside the organization. I started as an in-country translator working with initiating partner teams as they traveled in country. From there I became an in-country coordinator in the Yucatan Network. In 2018, I became a ROS (reverse osmosis) Clean Water U instructor, and in 2019 I took over the role of social media coordinator. Q: How has your involvement with LWW impacted your life?
A: It has completely changed my life, from traveling to new countries with staff and water partners to my day-to-day tasks in-country working with our partners all over the region. On a normal day I interact with LWW staff on a variety of projects, make contact with our operating partners here in the Yucatan, and interact with our in-country staff in other LWW networks. Overall, every day in my life has LWW in some parts of it constantly striving to help create more clean water. The relationships created through these interactions are completely life-changing. Through travel and virtual communication, I have relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ from over 11 countries and countless communities throughout the world.
Q: When you’re not doing LWW work, where are we likely to find you and what would we find you doing?
A: Most likely you’d find me sitting at my desk working at my other job for Eclat Engineering, or outside training for triathlons/ultra-marathons with my wife. After completing an Ironman 70.3 last year, I’ve signed up for a 55km trail ultra-marathon this year which has turned out to be pretty time-consuming.
Q: Anything else you want to share with us?
A: The sustainable work that LWW participates in, can not go understated. Throughout my travels with LWW in Mexico, Belize, Cuba, El Salvador, and Peru I have seen water systems that have been operating for over 15 years. 15 years of clean water can have an incredible impact on a community. I wanted to end by sharing a video with you all - education training and installation being done in Cantamayec, Yucatan, Mexico.