DCC has partnered with Living Water International for over a decade now. In that time our partnership has reached more than 20 communities across 4 continents. We recently interacted with Julie Hill from LWI as part of our 2020 Advent Conspiracy. Here she explains the work of LWI and how Dungeness Community Church has contributed to their work over the years.
"It is not by man but God alone that we can continue to find water, Living Water, HIS water, His life, country by country, well by well and gift by gift."
- Julie Hill
It All Begins With Water
It all begins with water.
Even the Creation story proclaims this in Genesis, in the second verse of all scripture: “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” - Genesis 2:20
All of life needs water to live. From the smallest of organisms to the whales of the sea and with us in between, water is life. There is no life and there is no thriving without water, and for people, there is no life and no thriving without clean drinking water. It remains our first and most basic physical need.
And the beautiful thing about water too, is that it is spiritual. The Lord so often uses it to signal new and eternal life. There is a reason John the Baptist used water to baptize and not dirt or oils. And to the woman at the well Christ himself said,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” - John 4:14
And truly, it is these truths of human need for water as physical and spiritual that run central to our work at Living Water International every single day.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s go back to the beginning.
Responding to the call
Living Water International was founded in 1990 by a group from Sugar Creek Baptist Church, Houston, Texas. But this group never intended to establish what our organization would become, a global WASH (acronym for Water Access Sanitation and Hygiene) organization that would go on to operate in over 25 countries, completing 23,000 water projects.
They were simply a group of people who had volunteered to go on a mission trip to the Rift Valley in Kenya, where they would assist with the construction of a health clinic and a school.
While in country, the group was struck by the long lines of women and children walking for water all day long. Walking and carrying dirty water back to their homes, day after day, every day.
By the second day of their trip, the group realized that the women were never going to be able to come to the clinic they were working on, for healthcare they so desperately needed, because these women had to walk all day for water. The children were never going to make it to the school because they were walking for water too.
Lack of access to safe water has long been a global justice issue, both then and now. Currently, 844 million people lack access to a safe drinking water source.
And so the wheels of ideas began to turn, hearts were prompted and plans took shape; all things which happen when the Lord shows you something that you cannot and should not unsee.
You’ll remember that the group was from the oil fields of Houston and instinctively knew about drilling for livelihood. What if the search for oil became the search for water?
And so the team returned to Texas, called to respond to what they had seen. They raised the funds, filed the paperwork, found the drill. They also found endless red tape, customs complications and dry, dusty holes. Countless setbacks. Years of frustration. And faithfulness to their call, to finish that well, with and for the women and children they had seen and known and loved.
Four years after that first trip, the well was completed and friends, that first well continues to provide clean water for that community in Kenya to this very day, 30 years later. A living symbol of life and God’s faithfulness, for indeed only He can bring water from the rock.
Living Water today
Over three decades, we have journeyed and partnered and served, we have reached the ends of the earth, we have brought up local leaders so that Zambia can be led by Zambians, India by Indians, Peru by Peruvians. We have survived wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, genocide, Ebola and COVID 19, persecution, recession, drought, doubt and more.
It is not by man but God alone that we can continue to find water, Living Water, HIS water, His life, country by country, well by well and gift by gift.
Dungeness Community Church, you indeed have been on this journey with us and you know this journey well. You have lived more simply and sacrificed at Advent, hopped planes to Nicaragua, you have run races, you have joined us for Gala. You have prayed and given and for 12 years now, you have shared clean water AS the love and life of The Living Water, Christ himself, to over 20 communities covering four continents. From Nicaragua to Peru, to Zambia and Uganda, to Rwanda, to India and home again. You have loved and served and changed the lives of thousands of families, our brothers and sisters everywhere.
You have brought life. Through water and with water, in water and in the Word.
Our love and gratitude go to you, all of you, in friendship and in humility too. This year, you have funded wells for Nicaragua and Guatemala, in Uganda and Zambia too. Four countries, two continents, new life.
To close, I’ll share the story of Mercy, a young woman from Kenya. Some may have seen her story, for others it will be new, but she so beautifully shows us where life goes without water and what is possible WITH water, with Living Water.
Director for Philanthropy, West