By Ralph Kurtenbach, Special to ASSIST News Service
YALARE, ECUADOR (ANS – May 12, 2017) — The graphic on the screen at church featured a Bible with a faucet — or tap — attached to it, spewing out dollar bills. The pastor’s message on a section from the New Testament book of Titus emphasized the need for sound biblical doctrine. Then to contrast, he showed the faucet-Bible and commented on a spurious teaching that is circulating.
That faucet stuck out to me. I had just visited Yalare, a remote community in Ecuador’s coastal province of Esmeraldas. The folks there had helped Reach Beyond’s César Cortez and Edison Caiza put the final touches on a project followed by the inauguration.
What did people in Yalare want from their faucets? Clean water. That’s a lot different than praying that God would make you rich or buy you a Mercedes Benz.
As we visited, people expressed appreciation and we took photos. This was a significant advance in Yalare — clean water from a faucet at each resident’s house (those who elected to join the project.) They had done it by themselves with motivation from their leaders and a system design by Cortez.
People — in Ecuador and everywhere — need clean water projects. In developing countries, half of the hospital beds are occupied by people suffering from maladies caused by water-transmitted diseases, according to WaterAid. Worldwide, diarrhea kills more children each year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. Statistics reveal that annually about 700,000 children — nearly 2,000 a day — die because of unsafe water and poor sanitation.
Just over half of the world’s population has water piped to their homes. Yalare joined that group in March. In Ecuador’s highlands meanwhile, Loma de Pacay joined the “haves” of clean water to their homes in February.
Even amid these jarring realities, Cortez views water as a means not an end in itself. It is a way to introduce people to Jesus and disciple those who’ve already met the one who declared, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37, TLB).
As people of the Latin America Region mature in their biblical understanding, their grounding in the Bible is deepening. Their grasp of Latin American believers’ growing role in worldwide missions is also greater than ever before.
And sometimes the beginning to this broader view — this mission vision — begins with clean water from a faucet.
Photo captions: 1) Reach Beyond’s César Cortez (right) with a local resident in Yalare check out one of the community’s new faucets. 2) A young boy in Yalare draws water from a new tap. 3) Working on the project. 4) Ralph Kurtenbach at the microphone.
About the writer: Ralph Kurtenbach and his wife, Kathy, have lived in Ecuador since 1992, where they minister with Reach Beyond. Ralph blogs at www.calloftheandes.wordpress.com, and helps to mentor Latinos who want to join in taking the gospel to other parts of the world. His e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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