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A Grateful Community

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by Jim Coleman | Team Leader | La Bolsa, Nicaragua

Today we met the people who live in La Bolsa, a community of about 45-50 people. They are all so appreciative of what we are doing for the community. We were also able to see the water source that is currently being used — hand dug wells that are not constructed properly and have bacteria-laden water. We began drilling and were able to get to a depth of 75 feet and were told that wells in this area typically need to be around 100 feet deep to ensure we have a water supply that is not contaminated.

The hygiene team engaged the women and children of the village to emphasize the importance of hand washing. The children are always so open, and seem to quickly erase all barriers. Kim Treas was blowing bubbles, and they were having a blast chasing and popping bubbles. When the barriers with the kids come down, the adults also seem to really open up as well.

There are lots of aches and pains tonight, but we are reminded that when we are weak, He is strong and mighty!

Nicaragua La Bolsa Family

An Answer to Their Prayers

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by Jim Coleman | Team Leader | Granada, Nicaragua

Our Kingsland team landed safely in Managua, Nicaragua and traveled south to the town of Granada, where we will stay for the week. A team from Riverpointe Church in Richmond, Texas was on our flight from Houston. They will be serving in the Leon region this week. Tomorrow we will begin to serve people in the Rivas region, in a village called La Bolsa. This village has been praying for safe drinking water for over a year. We will serve them this week as God will use us in His plan to provide an answer to their prayers.

Nicaragua Bulletin Board

A Cup of Water in Jesus’ Name

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by Jason Hall, Team Leader | Aguacayo, El Salvador

We ended our wonderful week in El Salvador by formally dedicating the water well to the school in Aguacayo on Friday, March 1, 2013! There was a sense of excitement when we arrived, among the schoolchildren and among the members of our team. We were all very eager to see the finished well, and were exceedingly grateful to the dedicated staff of LWI El Salvador, who had worked late into Thursday night to make the dedication ceremony possible.

Kids Playing
As we got out of the van, we were treated to the same endearing smiles and laughter that had greeted us each morning throughout the week, and we had a very nice time playing with the children in the school’s main courtyard for a while before the ceremony got started. Eventually, everyone gathered in the school’s “auditorium” and there the children played a variety of party games to earn candy prizes, as well as some of the donated toys and supplies that we had brought with us to El Salvador. Some of the kids seemed a little hesitant at first, but once they saw the prizes, things got very competitive, and a whole lot of fun!

After the games were complete, the multi-talented staff of LWI El Salvador put on a puppet show to entertain the kids, while at the same time reiterating some of the key concepts that had been taught throughout the week by the hygiene team. They were very careful to cover the meaning of differently-colored beads of the “salvation bracelets” that the kids would keep as a tangible reminder of God’s plan for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ.

Near the end of the program, our team starred in a Oscar-worthy portrayal of the story of the Good Samaritan. The Scriptures were read aloud in English and then translated into Spanish. Each member of the team participated, and I must say that our costumes really helped us get into character!

Mary and Kids
This was followed by heart-felt speeches of appreciation from the school’s principal, and from a couple of other parents, each of whom thanked us for coming and for caring about their village. By that point, I was too choked up to speak, so I was very grateful that team member Mary Crenshaw stepped forward to eloquently say the words that I couldn’t — essentially that WE were the ones who had been blessed that week by the people of Aguacayo, and that we had been compelled to serve out of our common love of Jesus Christ.

School Kids
We concluded our time in the village by assembling at the new well on the hill overlooking the school. As everyone gathered around the well for prayer and dedication, the air was filled with joy and laughter as everyone watched the clean, clear water pour out of the spout!

Pump Plaque
On the front of the pump there is a small, simple plaque that reads, “This hand pump is dedicated to the people of this community by Living Water International to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ. A cup of water in Jesus’ name. John 4:10-14.” Our sincere hope is that each and every member of this community will one day experience the “living water” offered by Jesus.

Hand Pump
We are grateful, humbled, and honored to have been the team to drill the well that was funded by Kingsland’s kids. Please continue to pray for the people of Aguacayo, even as they pray for us.

We love you guys!
Jason

Praising God for Our Imperfect Day

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by Jason Hall, Team Leader | Aguacayo, El Salvador

Sometimes the sweetest victories in life occur after the toughest struggles. Today we arrived in Aguacayo ready to complete the well in the morning, and then dedicate it to the school in the early afternoon. Ultimately, things didn’t quite work out that way, but we still praise the Lord for a great day.

The morning started normally at the Living Water International (LWI) house, with a time of praise and worship (singing the same songs we sing in the U.S., but with a decidedly Central American twist!), as well as a powerful devotional, followed by a delicious breakfast. Then we loaded up the work truck with the rest of the equipment we’d need to complete the well (the pump mechanism, additional segments of PVC pipe, and metal rods) and headed for the village.

We made rapid progress in lowering the smaller PVC segments inside the well-bore, but as it turned out, the style of pump that we were installing for Aguacayo is an Afridev pump, and was almost as new to the El Salvador LWI staff as it was to us (it’s only the second one they’ve installed…they previously installed a type of pump called the India Mark II). As is often the case with new designs, there were a few “growing pains” as we tried to get everything working right.

Most of our difficulties had to do with lowering the down-hole pump to the required depth, as well as getting the all-important check valve located at the bottom of the well to seal properly such that water could be pumped to the surface. We worked on it for as long as we could, but ultimately, after a lot of blood, sweat (and maybe some tears), had to postpone the dedication ceremony that we had planned to do in the afternoon.

A little disappointed at not being able to hand the well over this afternoon, our team headed back to the Living Water International house, but the dedicated staff of LWI El Salvador remained at the well site, and with help and cooperation from the some men from the village, kept working until long after sundown in an attempt to finish the well early enough for us to participate in the ceremony before heading to the airport tomorrow.

Ultimately, their persistence paid off, and they finished the well! They called about 8:30 p.m. to tell us that they were pumping water, and that we would be dedicating the well tomorrow morning about 9:30 a.m.! That was great news to our team, on so many levels!  Mainly, because we know that the lives of hundreds of people will be forever changed by the gift of clean water. Secondly, it was a good reminder of how God answers our prayers, because soon after we had gotten back to the LWI house this evening, we walked out to the beach and offered God praise for our imperfect day, and we prayed that our friends at LWI who were still out there working on the well would be successful in their efforts. We committed everything to God, and He provided!

After all the struggles we encountered today, we are looking very forward to a sweet dedication ceremony tomorrow morning. We are very grateful to the LWI staff (and the people of the village) for hanging in there tonight and not giving up. Please continue to pray for our team.

We love you guys!
Jason

Students to the Rescue

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by Jason Hall, Team Leader | Aguacayo, El Salvador

Once again, we are thankful for a great day in the village of Aguacayo. After being greeted by the endearing laughter and joy of the precious little schoolchildren, we walked up the hill to put a few finishing touches on the well. We added a little more gravel down the well-bore until we had attained the desired level, and then we flushed the well for about an hour and a half to clear out any debris that might have accumulated downhole overnight. Then we removed all the pipe out of the hole and moved the large air compressor and drilling rig away from the well in preparation for pouring the concrete slab for the well-pad later in the day.

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John Lummus and Clay Lewis. Who’s the guy in the middle?

We broke for a delicious lunch of pupusas, lovingly prepared by the cook at the school, and afterwards we set up a DVD player and projector in a large classroom so that the students at the school could watch the Jesus film and hear the powerful testimony of Angel, one of the staff members of Living Water International El Salvador. Both the film and Angel’s testimony were well-received, and many of the children seemed to be engrossed throughout. Although the school’s tight class schedule precluded a detailed follow-up, our sincere hope is that seeds were planted in fertile soil, and that all of these children will ultimately come to accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

As the students were watching the film, a few of the men from the village helped the drilling team by mixing the concrete for the well-pad slab. There was a brief moment of apprehension when we seemed to be running short on materials with only half of the concrete poured, but the village of Aguacayo really came to the rescue!

Students to the rescue.

Students to the rescue.

One of the teachers at the school put out a call for help, and seemingly out of nowhere a small army some of the older students, mostly in their early-to-mid teens, appeared and immediately went to work. Some of the guys were dispatched down the hill to fetch additional water from the well that had been drilled the previous week, while others were sent to retrieve some of the leftover sand. They were very diligent and very efficient. I honestly don’t know that I’ve ever seen shovels and wheelbarrows move so quickly!  Seeing these kids so eager to help their own village was very impactful to the team, and demonstrated to us just how important this well is to them.

Jason Hall setting the dedication plaque into the concrete slab.

Jason Hall setting the dedication plaque into the concrete slab.

By the end of the day, the slab was complete. The concrete will set overnight, and we’ll install the pumping mechanism tomorrow morning. We’re looking forward to the dedication ceremony where we will formally hand the well over to the village.

Finally, another word from Clay to Omar: Slow is good, but rapido es mejor! 😉

Please continue to pray for us. Love you guys!
Jason

May Crenshaw with school kids.

Mary Crenshaw with school kids.

Chris Kincaid with a new friend in Aguacayo.

Chris Kincaid with a new friend in Aguacayo.

Another Great Day in Aguacayo

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by Jason Hall, Team Leader | Aguacayo, El Salvador

We praise God for another great day today in the village of Aguacayo!

The schoolchildren were very excited to see our team again. They immediately surrounded us upon arrival — excitedly asking us to play ball, take pictures, and a million other things that we couldn’t quite make out because they were all asking so fast, and at the same time!

The children learned some very important lessons today about health and hygiene, and simple things that they can do to help prevent sicknesses from spreading. They also played all kinds of games, like jump rope and limbo. And they learned to use soccer balls as volleyballs … a new concept, but one to which they took very quickly! Later, they sang songs like “Jesus Loves Me” aloud and also using sign language.

Mechele Howard with kids at hygiene training session.

Mechele Howard with kids at hygiene training session.

On the drilling side, we were very thankful today to reach water at about the 180-foot level, and we ultimately drilled to a total depth of 210 feet. We then installed the PVC casing and gravel-packed the well-bore. We have some additional work to do tomorrow, but we’re on track to dedicate this well to the school in Aguacayo on Thursday.

Nicole Crenshaw at the drilling controls.

Nicole Crenshaw at the drilling controls.

All in all, a very good day of sharing Water and the Word! Please continue to pray for us!

Love you guys!
Jason

Nicole Crenshaw, Chris Kincaid, and Clay Lewis take a break.

Nicole Crenshaw, Chris Kincaid, and Clay Lewis. Happy with the drilling progress.

The Drilling Begins

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by Jason Hall, Team Leader | Aguacayo, El Salvador

Our team started drilling today at the school in the little town of Aquacayo. The students were excited to welcome the team with some inspiring (and humbling) words and songs of greeting, including a beautiful rendition of El Salvador’s national anthem! They were especially excited when I told them through the translator that the well was funded by Kingsland’s kids!

We reached the 130-foot depth today. Clay Lewis wanted me to remind everyone that we’ve never drilled that fast when Omar was here! 😉 But, no water yet as we are drilling high upon a hill and need to drill about 90-feet just to get back to the baseline elevation of a well that was drilled nearby last week. All in all, we expect this water well to be about 200-feet deep.

Please continue to pray for us, despite Clay’s comment!

Love you guys! 🙂

The Aguacayo school kids welcomed our team.

The Aguacayo school kids welcomed our team.

Agua Viva staff members Enrique and Jeremiah setting at the drill site.

Agua Viva staff members Enrique and Jeremiah setting up the drill site.

The Crenshaw girls at the drill site.

Team members waiting to start at the drill site.

Water for Kids

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Just for Kids Water IssueEarly yesterday morning, a team of Kingsland volunteers boarded a flight to El Salvador where they will drill our eighth water well in cooperation with our good friends at Living Water International. I am grateful to Jason Hall for serving as point man for this trip.

The exciting thing about this particular water well is that it was funded by some kids at Kingsland. After reading our Go Beyond Just for Kids issue on the global water crisis, some moms and kids got together and came up with a plan to raise $5,000.00 to sponsor a water well in El Salvador. By making small sacrifices and changes in spending and eating-out habits, these kids and moms collectively saved the money to fund the drilling of a water well.

Last night, Jason sent me a text message informing me that the team had arrived safely in El Salvador. He also said that the team will drill a water well in the little town of Aguacayo or “water blister”— named after a woman who was always asking people to bring her water. Jason added, “The well funded by Kingsland kids will be drilled at a school!” This water well will serve 253 students between the ages of 4 and 17 years old and their 4 teachers. How cool is that! Kids helping kids.

I am so proud of our Kingsland kids and for the many ways they have made a difference among the nations. Even though they are young, our kids have demonstrated their concern for the kids who live in the places where we serve around the world. Over the past several years they have found creative ways to raise funds to help kids in Mongolia, India, Cambodia and now, El Salvador. Kingsland kids continue to demonstrate that you don’t have to be a grown-up to make a difference. You just have to be willing to go beyond — to do more than you have ever done for God and His purposes.

Thanks, Kingsland kids. And thanks Jason and team for serving the people of El Salvador.

Free Flowing Gratitude

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Tonalá, El Salvador

A few days ago, our team arrived in El Salvador to work with our friends at Agua Viva El Salvador to drill a water well for the people of Tonalá, a small village located in the verdant hills just a few miles from the Pacific Coast. El Salvador is just one of the many countries where Living Water International works to drill water wells for those who have little or no access to clean water. Over the past few days we have worked in the heat, in the mud, and in the rain — motivated by the smiles of those anxiously awaiting a reliable source of clean water. I am happy to report that a little after noon today, we finished the well. It was fun to see the people of the community gather for the dedication ceremony as we tightened the final bolt and then pumped the first few gallons of cool water.

As much as I enjoy the drilling process and getting really dirty, my favorite part of the experience is when we dedicate the well and present it to the community. Today was no exception. We had a formal dedication service in which we presented the well to the people and the people, in turn, expressed their gratitude. And today, the gratitude flowed as freely as the water. Both the village leader and the principal of the local school gave speeches while the village folk listened and applauded. The school principal made it a point to say that he was both inspired and encouraged when he saw us working in the rain yesterday. Seeing us work in spite of the weather gave him the assurance that we were determined to finish the well. Both leaders emphasized what this well will mean to their little community.

The only way for those of us who have access to unlimited water on demand to truly understand the depth of gratitude felt by the people of Tonalá would be for us to spend just one day without convenient access to water. Twenty-four hours without convenient access to water would be like an eternity for most of us. Although people who live in places like Tonalá are accustomed to the inconvenience of having to fetch water daily, the new water well in their community will make life much easier as well as lessen the likelihood of people getting sick because of water-related diseases. We have made many new friends in Tonalá. At least for the immediate future, they are likely to remember us when they go to their new water well to fetch their water. But that will fade with time, and that’s ok. We are just happy to know that we have helped to make a difference in the lives of a few hundred people because we gave them the gift of water and the Word.

Preparing a meal is just one of the challenges of having limited access to clean water.

Tightening the bolts on the pump head.

We signed our names on the inside of the pump head cover.

Marie, the only girl on our team, pumped the first gallon of water.

Girls praying at dedication ceremony.

The Tonalá school principal expressed gratitude on behalf of the community.

Kingsland team with the Agua Viva El Salvador staff.

The dedication plaque on Kingsland’s seventh water well in El Salvador.

And the Rain Came Down

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Tonalá, El Salvador

Rain has a way of complicating things, especially when working outside. Today, the rain came down in frog-strangling proportions, making our work site a soggy and muddy mess. Even Gene Kelly might have thought twice before singing and dancing in this downpour. Fortunately, we moved the drilling rig to a new location before it started to rain and we were able to prepare the site for the concrete pad that will hold the pump apparatus. When the rain started, the Agua Viva El Salvador staff and our team elected to keep working in spite of the rain. That’s when things got really exciting. These are a few of the best things that happened as we worked in the rain.

Resourcefulness | Our team had to think creatively in order to mix and pour concrete in the rain. Because we mixed the concrete and sand on the ground, we had factor in exactly how much water to add to what the rain was contributing. And then we had to find plastic to cover the area where we needed to pour the mix. It all worked out!

Neighborliness | When the men in the village saw us working in the rain, they stepped up to help. One man contributed the plastic we needed, another provided the twine to make our makeshift tent, others helped shovel and move the sand to where we needed it and then helped us to move the concrete to the pad site.

Joyfulness | The rain did not dampen our spirits. Instead, there was lots of laughter and good humor as we worked cooperatively to get the job done. Many willing hands helped us to finish the task faster in the rain than if we had done the same task in the sunshine.

Because we continued to work in the rain, we are still on track to complete the water well by tomorrow and to present it to the people of Tonalá. We can already feel the excitement in the air. The location of this well will make it accessible to all of the people of the village. The well will also save lots of folks lots of time because they will not have to walk as far to fetch water. It’s possible that it may rain again tomorrow but it really doesn’t matter. Come rain or shine, we are determined to get the job done for the people of Tonalá and to present them with their new well in the name of Jesus, the One who quenches deeper thirsts.

And the rain came down, making our work site a muddy mess.

Herschel Rothchild mixing concrete.

Jim Coleman mixing concrete.

David Hopkins working on the pump pad.

Jim Dry putting finishing touch on the pump pad.

Setting the water well dedication plaque in place.

Our team of guys after a hard day of work.

The Excess Jar

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Tonalá, El Salvador

We had a successful second day of drilling today. Early this morning we hit water at a depth of a little more than ninety-feet. It’s always exciting when we reach water and then begin preparing the well, a process that starts with casing the hole and then blowing out all of the silt and gunk until the water runs clear. Although the steady spray of water shooting out of the hole creates a muddy mess, it really is a beautiful sight. We are on schedule to present the completed well to the people of Tonalá in a couple of days. This well will provide clean water to the people of this community for years to come. It’s hard for those of us who have access to water on demand to fully appreciate what a water well means to people who live in places like Tonalá.

This morning as our team gathered for our morning devotional, I received an email from my friend Kara Potts. She wrote to tell me how much she appreciated our recent issue of Go Beyond Just for Kids magazine entitled “All About Water.” Kara meets with four other women for a weekly Bible study. She wrote, “When we talked about our excess we talked about not just feeling guilty about it, but doing something about it! Then along came the magazine.” The magazine arrived at just the right time. As a result of reading about our water initiatives, Kara and her friends decided they could lead their families to engage with being a part of the solution. “Each family now has a jar in their kitchen where every time we make a decision to live with less or buy less than we want, we put the excess in the jar.” That’s something that even kids can understand and participate in.

Kara outlined several ways in which she and her family are cutting back on expenses and then putting their savings in their excess jar. But, here is the really exiting news. Kara continued, “We are doing this to take our excess and purchase a well for a community without water. We know that our five families have enough excess in our lives that we can turn it into a real, concrete, tangible blessing for the ‘least of these.’ Our goal is to have $5,000 by Christmas and give the well as a Christmas gift from our families.” Kara’s email could not have arrived at a better time to encourage our team. Being on the drilling end of this equation is made possible only because of the kind and generous gifts of people at home — folks like Kara and her friends.

The excess jar is a great way for any family to help provide clean water for people who live in places like Tonalá. Every dollar counts and can make a huge difference in the lives of those in need of access to clean water. Why not give jars to family and friends this Christmas and encourage them to join you in blessing people with the gift of clean water and the Living Water. All it takes is filling the jar with your excess.

Notice the boy (right) drawing water from a shallow hand-dug well next to site of new well.

Our friend Clay Lewis and his granddaughter, Marie. Marie was first driller today.

Poster on wall at Agua Viva El Salvador headquarters.

Get Dirty for God

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Tonalá, El Salvador

Pig-Pen is one of the most well-known characters in Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip. This overall-clad kid was always depicted as a disheveled dust magnet. Once when Pig-Pen was caught in a rainstorm, he lamented that “in one minute the rain has washed away what took me all day to accomplish.” Charlie Brown, the only character to unconditionally befriend Pig-Pen, had a more philosophical view about the filth that covered his friend. In one strip, Charlie Brown said, “Don’t think of it as dust. Just think of it as the dirt and dust of far-off lands blowing over here and settling on “Pig-Pen!” It staggers the imagination! He may be carrying the soil that was trod upon by Solomon or Nebuchadnezzar or Genghis Khan!” I love that. We all need a friend like Charlie Brown.

Pig-Pen was much in my thoughts today as our team started drilling a water well in the village of Tonalá. We are drilling with compressed air, a process that stirs up unbelievable clouds of dust that hover and then cover everything in sight. It did not take long for us to feel Pig-Penesque. However, when we drilled through the first aquifer, clouds of dust became showers of mud. For the person operating the controls on the drilling rig, there is no escape. You will get dirty — very dirty. Once the dust and the mud  have covered your clothing, they will find their way inside your clothing. When I finished my turn at the controls, the face shield on my hard hat was so covered with mud that I could no longer see. But, that’s ok. This is one of the parts of drilling that I like because it’s a sign of making progress.

Drilling a water well is just plain messy. There is no way to drill and to stay clean. Sooner or later, everyone involved in the process gets covered in dirt, grime, and mud. Today, one by one, our team members got dirty for God. It was not a matter of if but when it would happen. And when it did, no one complained. We understand that some things will not happen unless we are willing to get dirty. In a few more days we will present the people of Tonalá with a clean and reliable source of water — a gift that will mean better health and less time walking long distances to fetch water. Just thinking about the joy of that day makes getting dirty for God worth it all. We really don’t mind the mess or the mud. At the end of the day we had drilled to a depth of 90-feet. Tomorrow we will get dirty all over again as we drill a little deeper.

Waiting for lunch before we start drilling.

Fidelia, a village woman, preparing our lunch of chili rellenos and rice.

Team member Jim Dry takes his turn as driller.

There is no way to stay clean when drilling a water well.

At the Edge of the World

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Playa Salinitas, El Salvador

Coastlines fascinate me. My earliest memory of standing on a coastline was when my parents took my sister and me on vacation to the beach at Corpus Christi, Texas. I remember being a bit frightened by the waves and the vast expanse of water beyond the safety of the sandy shore. As I stared at the distant horizon, it felt as though I was standing at the edge of the world. And in a way, I was. I have had that same feeling every time I have visited one of the coastlines of the world — from white sand beaches in Florida to black sand beaches in Nicaragua to the murky waters lapping the coastline at Cox’s Bazar in the Bay of Bengal to many other coastlines around the world.

El Salvador’s Pacific Coast

As our flight approached El Salvador earlier today, I looked out my window to see the long stretch of coastline that defines this country’s unique shape. Later, I stood with friends looking out over the Pacific Ocean, having those same feelings I had when I was a kid filling my pail with sand on Corpus Christi beach. I am once again at the edge of the world. Before our evening meal and briefing, I stood for a moment and looked toward the distant horizon to the West, mesmerized by the rhythm of the waves. The map on my iPhone verified that I was indeed standing, once again, at the edge of the world.

My current location. | Playa Salinitas along El Salvador’s Pacific Coast

At our briefing this evening, we learned that we will be drilling a water well for the people who live in a village called Tonala. The folks who live in this tiny village of some forty homes are mostly people who work in the adjacent sugar cane fields. These people work hard to earn $8.00 per day. As bad as $8.00 per day sounds, it’s a little bit better pay than many folks in the area will ever see. The children of these workers attend school to the sixth grade and then drop out to help support their families, adding their wages to the meager daily earnings of their parents. As I listened to my friend Carlos, the country director for Agua Viva El Salvador, I was reminded of why God brought our team to the edge of the world along the Pacific Coast of El Salvador. It was so that we could connect with those who are living “on the edge” — barely able to eke out a living and in need of a source of clean water.

I am looking forward to a great week as we begin the process of drilling tomorrow. May our efforts help to improve the lives of those who live on the edge at the edge of the world along the Pacific coast of El Salvador.

Every Fifteen Seconds

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Welcome to the new Go Beyond Water blog — the third in a new series of country-specific blogs by Kingsland’s missions ministry. Our water well drilling teams will post updates, photos, and videos from the field to this site. We will also post information on trip preparation and other matters. If you would like to read more about water initiatives in El Salvador, you can read my posts on our previous trips filed under the El Salvador category on my Go Beyond blog.

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by Omar C. Garcia | Playa Salinitas, El Salvador
Originally posted 11 February 2011

I first became aware of the scope of the human toll exacted by lack of water while in Darfur, Sudan in the winter of 2004. While there, I visited the Abu Shouk and Zamzam camps for internally displaced peoples. The United Nations guys working in the area told our team that one of the greatest needs in this arid and unforgiving region is water. Each water well located near these camps serviced two to four hundred people per day. Simple math revealed that there were not enough wells to provide sufficient water for the tens of thousands of people struggling to survive the extreme heat under scant shade. What shocked me most was learning that diarrhea was the number one cause of death in the camps. People died because they did not have enough water to rehydrate. The second leading cause of death was man-made malaria. Water stored in open containers became a breeding ground for mosquitos.

Those of us who have access to clean water are fortunate and blessed indeed. Today, 844 million people on the planet lack access to clean and safe water. Of these, infants and children are the most vulnerable. Almost two million children die from diarrhea every year. To put this number into perspective, one child dies every fifteen seconds because of a water-related disease. 5000 children under the age of five will die today because they lacked access to safe drinking water, because they lived in places that had inadequate sanitation, and because of poor hygiene — all water-related issues. Access to clean water would change everything for these children and their families.

I have returned to El Salvador with my friend Jim Coleman and a team from Kingsland. We are going to spend the next few days drilling a water well in partnership with our friends at Living Water International. Last year, our missions ministry sponsored the drilling of two water wells in El Salvador. These wells are providing safe water for hundreds of poor El Salvadorans. We are sponsoring two additional wells this year. I appreciate the work of Living Water. They mobilize thousands of volunteers every year to drill water wells in countries around the world. Living Water International states that they exist “to demonstrate the love of God by helping communities acquire desperately needed clean water, and to experience ‘living water’ — the gospel of Jesus Christ — which alone satisfies the deepest thirst.” And, without question, Living Water is living up to that purpose every day in big ways all over the world.

Our missions ministry is committed to partnering with Living Water to be a part of the solution and to work toward the day when children no longer die every fifteen seconds because of water-related issues. And, we are also committed to helping people taste the living water that alone can satisfy our deepest thirst. We believe that demonstrating God’s love in such practical ways will help hasten the day when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). The next time you enjoy a hot shower or a cool and refreshing drink of water, remember those whose lives are at risk because they lack water. You can be a part of the solution by supporting initiatives that make water accessible to those who need it most.

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