"Our well was made with material which did not give good water,” said Nonguierma O’Herve, a farmer in the village of Komsilga. “When we came to pump water in the morning, the water was black.”
Mike Mantel became the president and CEO of Living Water International in July 2010, but he has worked to bring water to the world’s thirsty for more than a decade. His first glimpse of the impact water could have on a community was in an African village: One small well literally gave life to an entire community. Before the well, most of the children got sick and many of them died because of bacteria and parasites in their drinking water.
Poverty: zero. That’s the radical vision of a brand-new initiative called 58:, a global alliance of ten leading Christian anti-poverty organizations working together with Christians, churches, and other faith-based poverty-fighting organizations working together to end extreme poverty by 2035. To achieve this ambitious goal, 58: aspires to become the largest, most unified effort ever by the global Church to help the 1.4 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day – an active response to the revolutionary call of Isaiah 58: “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Many communities where Living Water International drills wells have never known the taste of clean water. They’ve always gotten their water from the river, or the swamp, or a hand dug well, or a spring. Others have had a sealed well with a shiny hand pump that once gushed with crystal-clear water...and that pump has, for one reason or another, broken—leaving the community with the taste of clean water on their tongues, but none to fill their buckets and their jerry cans.
EL SALVADOR – San Lucas, Sonsonate Region GPS: 13 36.506 N, 89 38.810 W
After the massive earthquake that ripped across Haiti in January 2010, Living Water International’s work there went into overdrive—and that’s an understatement. The need for clean drinking water was more desperate than ever, with cholera running rampant through overcrowded tent cities and water trucks unable to keep up with demand. After the earthquake, Living Water’s output for rehabilitated wells more than doubled (from around 175 to around 450), plus the addition of a new drilling program in Port au Prince and another drill rig headed to Cap Haitian for a new drilling program there.
While it’s true that Living Water works around the world to drill and repair water wells, our work is more than that. Each well is a stone in the water, causing endless ripples throughout the communities where we work. Often, we don’t know the extent of this ripple effect; but one Sunday in Burkina Faso, Living Water’s Burkina Faso Country Director Geoffrey Richter got to witness it first-hand as the well he helped repair last summer opened the door to save someone’s life. Yes, we know clean water saves people’s lives...but this time was a little different.
Sometimes, our work isn't about water at all. Sometimes, it's about the living water that our staff & partners get to share with those they serve. 10 years ago, the Dagara people of Burkina Faso were an unreached people group, but this past Easter, 878 people were baptized in the river at the village of Nakar.