Houston, TX (ANS) – This year, Living Water International will celebrate Three Decades of reaching people with Water and the Word. LWI’s annual gala on October 8, 2020 will be an online virtual event that can be experienced from anywhere on the planet. Individuals, churches, other groups and organizations may participate, free-of-charge, by logging on at www.water.cc/gala.
Serving the Poorest of the Poor
In 1990, a mission team from Houston set out to help the church in North America be the hands and feet and voice of Jesus by serving the poorest of the poor. More than a billion people in the world live on less than a dollar a day. At that time, at least 1.2 billion people lacked access to clean, safe drinking water. Thanks to the work of Living Water, the Millennium Water Alliance and other water organizations, that number has now been reduced to an estimated 785 million. It is estimated that approximately twice that number are without access to basic sanitation services. For all practical purposes, these statistics refer to the same people; around the world, communities are trapped in debilitating poverty because they constantly suffer from water-related diseases and parasites, and/or because they spend long stretches of their time carrying water over long distances. In response to this need, Living Water has implemented participatory, community-based water solutions in many countries in the Global South. Since then more than 21,000 water projects have been completed, and millions of lives have been impacted.
Training, Consulting and Equipping
It all began with a short-term mission trip to East Africa where the team saw the desperate need for clean drinking water. They returned to Houston and founded Living Water International. The fledgling organization began training, consulting, and equipping local people to implement integrated water solutions in their own communities throughout many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Impact of Mission Trips
Remembering the life-changing nature of that first trip has resulted in hundreds of volunteers going on mission trips each year, working with local communities, under the leadership of nationals, to implement water projects. It is hard to know which lives are changed more—those “serving” or those “being served.” LWI’s training programs in well drilling, pump repair, and hygiene education, as well as Bible storying and orality training have equipped thousands of volunteers and professionals in the basics of integrated water solutions. Millions have now been impacted with physical water and the Living Water of Jesus, which alone satisfies the deepest thirst.
Alleviating Poverty, Physically and Spiritually
Around the world, communities are trapped in debilitating poverty because they constantly suffer from water-related diseases and parasites, and/or because they spend long stretches of their time carrying water over long distances. The people around the world without access to clean water and sanitation services are also those who have had the least access to the gospel and other educational opportunities. The people groups in those countries are also among oral cultures and oral learners. According to the International Orality Network, more than 80% of the world’s population would be considered oral learners, by necessity or by preference. In the regions where Living Water works, the percentage would be even higher. That is why LWI uses all means available in reaching, disciple making and mobilizing churches for expanding the kingdom. Bible distribution, the use of literature, the Jesus film, recording devises, Bible storying/orality training and other appropriate oral art forms are all part of the methods and strategies, partnering with local churches toward completing the Great Commission.