Staying Connected with Water Team
Gathering with your water team on a regular basis keeps everyone plugged in and up to date. It’s just as important to continue meeting right now, even though we aren’t able to travel. It just looks different these days.
Some teams are meeting via conference call to keep everyone connected and current. Others are holding water team meetings via video conference. Seeing everyone’s face (even via video) is good for community building (and morale!). Many video conferencing platforms have free accounts available (with certain limitations) or perhaps your church has an account you can use.
In addition to your usual agenda items, here are some things you might consider to make your video meetings engaging and informative:
Consider adding an icebreaker of some sort. Ask everyone to share a favorite photo and take a minute to tell the story behind it. Or go around the “table” and have everyone share a joy or concern from the past month. Ask everyone to share a favorite memory from their last partner visit or something they learned that they want to remember. You don’t have to call it an icebreaker - you can call it a time to share. When you take a little bit of time to share, it’s a way to build trust which helps the discussion go deeper and wider. A wise person once said, “With people, fast is slow and slow is fast.”
When you give reports from partners, share your screen and show photos or videos your partners have sent. Read snippets of communications from your partners, highlight prayer concerns they have, and share those with your church family.
Send out a link to an article or a video and ask team members to read/view it before your meeting. Lead a short discussion about their take-aways. It could be an article on the country where you partner and how the virus is impacting the area or on how to be better mission partners.*
Hold a virtual book (or video or podcast) club that meets to discuss resources related to water mission.*
How is your team meeting now? Share your ideas so we can include them in future Water Drops.
*We can point you toward some resources for this. Check the LWW bibliography for suggestions.
Water and COVID-19 - Meditation and Prayer
We have a prayer, a meditation, and a song to share with you all. Please share your prayers with us as well.
First, a prayer from the Reverend Todd Jenkins, one of our Clean Water U volunteer instructors:
H2O and COVID-19
Here we are, O God,
hung out to dry —
hung out to drip —
somewhere in the abyss
between operating partners
and initiating partners,
somehow in the gap
for face-to-face visits,
and mandatory shut-downs
and travel restrictions.
Strengthen, we pray,
the ties that bind:
for safe water,
lungs breathing fresh hope
of our continued relationships,
toward a divine design
for all God’s children.
So let it be breathed
so let it be lived.
© 2020 Todd Jenkins
Here is a meditation from Kathy Bricel, a member of the Yakima water team: Word of the Day: Shelter
And a song from a group of singers in Nashville.
Health Education: Hand Washing Technique
Research shows that most of us don't wash our hands long enough (six seconds as opposed to the 20 second minimum recommendation.) We also don’t typically use enough friction to get at the places on our hands where germs like to hide. Now is the perfect time for all of us to brush up on our hand washing skills.
We love these hand washing resources. Check them all out then think about ways you can share them in your circles, whether that’s at church, with your water partners, with your neighbors (especially parents with school-aged kids at home now), with teachers, and with family.
Though we aren’t gathering physically right now, we can stay connected and share important information on hand washing via email or e-newsletter, text, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom, or social media (Facebook posts, messenger, Instagram, etc.)
Our health education curriculum has lots of lessons that talk about germs and hand washing. You are welcome to share those as well. Here are links to the 2020 English 102 manual. The hand washing and glitter lessons will be updated by next week but we wanted to go ahead and share the links to lessons related to hand washing:
We are collecting hand washing resources here in this folder.
As we come across more resources, we’ll add them to the folder. You will find things here you can use here at home as well as with your water partners. Let us know what resources you’ve come across that you’ve found helpful and we’ll add them to the folder.
Many churches are meeting online now. Consider reaching out to your pastor and suggest a virtual minute for mission that focuses on showing proper hand washing and when to wash hands as a way of loving our neighbors. Or do a children’s sermon in which you teach the kids how to effectively wash their hands while they sing, “Jesus Loves Me.” If your Youth group, Bible study group, or Sunday School classes are meeting virtually or have an electronic way of communicating via an app, Facebook group, or email, share some of these links that way.
Reach out and let us know your plans for teaching proper hand washing. It’s a perfect time to learn from one another.
Health Education: Spanish Coloring Books
The coloring book came about from a need to engage young kids about washing hands and drinking pure water. Karen and Eric Reidenbach, El Salvador Network co-moderators, along with Denis Evangelista, El Salvador In-Country Coordinator, came up with the idea of a book targeted to kids. The main characters are based on actual kids they met during an installation. They used material from the 102 materials and incorporated it within a narrative about health. The book contains activities that kids can have fun with while learning about hand washing and drinking pure water. It was also designed so that school teachers could use the book to engage the kids in pedagogic activities during school hours.
On the cover is a place where the children can put their names and actually own their book. There are now two books that they use, the second is a sequel where the two main characters introduce the concepts of clean hands and clean water to a new kid who has moved to their community. The feedback regarding the books has been great, especially from the education committees and school teachers who use it regularly. The Reidenbachs and Denis will probably follow up with a third book.
Blessed Be the Ties that Bind: Partner Communication
From Facebook Messenger to WhatsApp to regular old email, we have more options for keeping in touch with our partners than we did even a few years ago. Here are a few suggestions we've heard from water teams:
Questions to ask:
Ask your partners what is available for them. Do they use Facebook regularly? Do they have access to WhatsApp and do they use it regularly in their area? Do they have an email address they check regularly? What about usage costs for them? Keep in mind that having several ways to connect with partners is preferable in case one option becomes unavailable.
WhatsApp: To use this mode of communication, IP and OP team members will need to have the app and connect with each other. WhatsApp is used in more and more countries, making it a great way to connect. Doug Depies, a quadrant In-Country Coordinator for LWW's Yucatan Network, helps Initiating Partners and Operating Partners form a WhatsApp group for each partnership to help them stay in touch. The app is free but your partners may incur costs to connect.
Facebook Messenger: If you and your partners use Facebook, you could connect with them via messenger. Again, the app is free but connection costs may be involved. Phone calls, messaging, and even video calls using Facebook Messenger might be an option for you.
Skype: Another free app that allows you to connect is Skype. While not as widely used perhaps as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, we've heard from many teams you use Skype for texting, calls, and video calls.
Email: Having several email addresses for different members of your OP team can prove quite useful to receive monthly system and health education reports and to touch base on a regular basis.
Having more than one way to connect allows for continuity of communication. What if you somehow completely lose touch with your OP? Reach out to your Network if possible for assistance to see if they can call or contact your IP for you.
Sending regular communications builds rapport - our partners know what we are working on and we know what they are focusing on as well. We can share challenges, solutions, encouragement, and goals with each other. Knowing that we are praying for each other and making plans for visits - these are the ties that bind us to one another!
Health Education Outreach Calendar
The goal of continuing to teach everyone in the community the importance of hand washing and how to use the pure water can seem daunting. Where to begin? The key is to break it down into doable steps. A calendar for health education outreach can be a handy tool. We created the calendar below with a free online template (we designed it so that we could print 26 weeks on each side and that way we had all of 2020 on one sheet - you can design yours to suit your needs: http://www.pdfcalendar.com/12-weeks/). You can print it on colored card stock and include this with your health education mini-manuals or give it to your health educators when you are making a sustainability visit. They can use this to plan their outreach activities for the year.
What’s realistic? They don’t have to do an activity every single day or week - maybe starting out doing one outreach activity a month is doable. Ask them to think about their favorite activity from their manual. Who would be a good first audience for that lesson? They can pick a day - any day in January - and simply write the activity and the audience. For example, they might write in the Jan. 6 box, “Operators: A34,” meaning that on Jan. 6, they plan to do activity 34 (Germ Invasion) with the system operators. On Feb. 2, they might write, “Sunday School: S2,” meaning they plan to do the creation story with their Sunday School class. On March 2, they might plan to do agar plates with the nurses at the local clinic as a way to introduce them to the curriculum, and on April 5, they might do the priority ladder with the mothers in the church.
They can do a single activity or a whole health module with several activities grouped together, according to what their time block allows.
They can fill the calendar out for the whole year or just plan one quarter at a time. They may want to use a pencil in case they need to adjust the plan.
Ask your partner Health Educators to reach out to you each month (via email, WhatsApp, or Facebook messenger) and let you know how the activity went.
By the end of 2020, they'll have accomplished quite a bit of health education! Month by month, bit by bit, our partner health educators can begin working toward the goal of teaching the community how to use the pure water and remind everyone why and how to properly wash their hands.
LWW Team Covenants
We all have heard about and handled IP-OP covenants, but what about Team Covenants? We asked Joanie Lukins, Transylvania Presbytery water team member and CWU 102 instructor, to share her team covenant and why they use them.
“We read this together at our first gathering, and again as we prepare to leave. It sets expectations - people tend to rise to our expectation of them, and the covenant states those clearly. It is really helpful, as it brings to the surface some of the things that can happen BEFORE they happen, so that IF they happen, we can all refer to our covenant, saying things like, "remember, we're not all morning people ..." or "our covenant said we should slow down when we're tired ..." The covenant becomes our behavioral guidance, reducing the burden on the team leader(s) to be the heavy. We read the items one at a time, taking turns reading. The last item "We will have fun!" also lightens us up, and gives us permission to really enjoy the experience and one another.”
Several water teams have created a team covenant as a way to get on the same page - an agreement that clearly states how they will act and how they will treat each other and their partners. Take a look at these two team covenant examples, discuss them with your water team, and use them as a starting point to create your own. One team leader shared, "We are and always should be learning how to be better partners. Team covenants are a part of that."
Click here to view the team covenants.