Water in a Dry Land

water well
Mtshabezi village in Zimbabwe struggled with the lack of clean water throughout its entire existence. A river serves as their water source, but each time villagers need water, they must carry buckets to the river and back – a total of 2.5 miles. To make matters worse, the water is contaminated.need for clean water

Upstream villages use this same river for bathing and washing clothes. No toilets exist, so human waste potentially washes into this river. Animals stand in and walk through the water. This is the water they drink. Illness from this water is a constant.

The church in Mtshabezi desires to take care of the people in their community and share the gospel with those around them. The church seeks ways to specifically care for AIDS orphans who live in the village. Many are HIV positive and need medication, but traveling to the doctor poses a challenge. Since 1980, the people have wanted to build a school, but they have been unable to make bricks without water close by. Over the years, they’ve managed to erect two walls. The children now meet for class within these two walls.

During their first encounter with Mtshabezi, GAiN provided seeds. The church farmed a garden using these seeds, and its success made some amazing things happen. They grew vegetables that helped feed the orphans in their community. Proceeds from the sale of excess produce helped pay for transportation to get these children to the doctor for medication. Produce also funded scholarships for four students to complete Bible school. These students now travel on motorcycles to surrounding villages to teach Sunday School to children there.

Because of the diligence of the church and the people, GAiN wanted to do more for Mtshabezi. GAiN secured funds towater well drill a water well in the village. On drilling day in October 2015, the anticipation and excitement was high, but after drilling 215 feet through rock, no water appeared. But, these disappointed people didn’t give up. They praised God and prayed that He would provide another way.

In January 2016, a second drilling attempt produced water! People desperate for clean water collected the runoff in jars and buckets. After installation of a hand pump, clean water flowed. At the sight of clear, fresh water, those gathered couldn’t contain their joy! The sounds of singing, laughter, and dancing filled the air.

clean water

Now the people of Mtshabezi can grow even more fruitful gardens, live without illness caused by water contaminates, and make bricks for buildings. And, maybe more students will continue the mobile Sunday School for years to come. God used seeds, water, and the care of compassionate people to display His love for the people of this dry land.

* At GAiN, I tell stories of life change, letting people know how their gifts and donations make a difference in people’s lives. Originally, photos and portions of this post were used in one such report at GAiN.

Pursuing Career or Fulfilling a Calling

I’m behind the times. I only recently read a book called The Hole in Our Gospel by Rich Stearns, CEO of World Vision. He writes about how God pursued him, revealing His plan for Rich’s career. The book challenges Christians to put their faith in action. Reading it now was good timing considering I took a leap of faith only seven months ago to move from career to calling.

IMG_2333I can’t say I had high aspirations regarding my career. I fell into technical writing soon after landing my first job out of college. When I was offered an opportunity to leave technical phone support to work in the documentation department, I gladly took it! Little did I know that God was preparing me for my calling.

During many years of technical writing, I learned to convey information succinctly. I enjoyed writing just the facts. I’m most certainly not a novelist or a fictional story writer. I prefer simpler words, keeping things uncomplicated. My last writing job gave me some experience in marketing communications. Thankfully I was writing about a technical product that had no need for flowery nonsense. But, it was a step toward more creativity.

In the middle of my career, I became a mom. I was ecstatic that my husband’s salary allowed me to stay at home. I wasn’t concerned about the break in my career. As I said, I didn’t have ambitions to climb the ladder.

As any mom can attest, having children (I had two and stayed home for 8 ½ years) teaches one about selflessness. My heart softened because of these beautiful little ones; I learned to be more patient – a lot more patient. This was another way God was working, and continues to work in my life.

God also used short-term missions to prepare me for my calling. Earlier in life, I never imagined having the desire to embark on a mission trip to Africa. But I did – three times. And then, one trip to Haiti. These missions began to break my heart for what breaks the heart of God.

As I reflect on events that shaped me into who I am today, I see how my character required refinement so God could use me for His planned purpose. My past poor choices and my reactions to heartache were a training ground and a process that apparently had to take place. I now have a clearer view of the big picture. I know I can trust God to guide me into what’s next. I’m learning to surrender the future, trusting His vision. As a result, I stepped into His calling for me, working in ministry writing stories about the poor, suffering, and helpless. I bring awareness to their plight, and celebrate the hope they receive when we heed the command of Christ to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” Thank you, God, for showing me the sweet spot where career fades and calling shines brightly.