Church Mission Projects that Change Lives in Uganda
Church mission projects are a powerful way to empower your congregation to be the hands and feet of Jesus around the world. At Lifewater, there are many ways your church can get involved to help provide clean water, health, and hope to a village.
How One Church Brought Safe Water to Thousands
First Baptist Church of Geneva, IL (FBCG) is partnering with Lifewater International to help thousands in northern Uganda get a sustainable source of safe water and sanitation. The effort reaches two communities in remote rural areas that remain difficult to access, and where the high cost of drilling deep wells is prohibitive for the residents.
“FBCG has a long history of church mission projects, and in the past several years our impact has grown because of the sacrificial giving of the people here,” says Bruce McEvoy, Pastor of Family and Serving at FBCG. “We are working to transform individuals and families both here and around the world.”
“Supporting these communities in northern Uganda with deep wells show FBCG’s commitment to reaching the most vulnerable and underserved people in the world,” said Justin Narducci, President/CEO at Lifewater. “It’s even more inspiring that FBCG is committed to serving these people with the sanitation and hygiene education that can keep them healthy and free them from water-borne disease.”
Many Ugandans suffer from preventable, water-borne disease, contributing to high rates of child mortality, malnutrition, missed school days, gender inequality, violent conflict, and stunted economic growth. Along with safe water, practices like using a latrine and handwashing with soap can dramatically reduce the incidents of diseases like diarrhea and typhoid. With water and sanitation, families spend less time fetching water and caring for the sick and more time attending school and working. In many communities in northern Uganda, water and sanitation are the first steps out of extreme poverty.
Northern Uganda: A Difficult Place
Northern Uganda remains a difficult place for development work because of the traumatic history of the area, where thousands were killed and millions were displaced in violent civil war. In many places, safe groundwater can be found within 100 meters of the surface, but in a few places the drilling must go deeper. In places where the water is deeper, accessing the specialized drilling equipment is often too expensive for the community or government to afford. Lifewater works with the community and government to fill the gap so that everyone in the region can access safe water near their home. Lifewater has been working in northern Uganda for over 20 years, and last year helped over 10,000 people access safe water, sanitation, and hygiene education.
McEvoy was introduced to Lifewater through Justin Ahrens, who attends FBCG. They traveled together to Kenya in 2010, along with Justin Narducci. “I wanted to see what had changed him and why he was so passionate about helping people in Africa. We don’t just want to write a check. We’re looking to engage personally and relationally.”
FBCG’s support of the work in Uganda comes from it’s church mission project, the “Serve the World” initiative, which allows the church to build missional partnerships locally and globally beyond the annual budget. “At this point, it’s an unstoppable force,” says McEvoy. “There is a ton of energy for the vision to give generously to serve others. There are hundreds who want to make an impact on their community here and around the world.”
The wells are expected to be completed in 2015.
Lifewater International is a non-profit Christian water development organization dedicated to effectively serving vulnerable children and families by partnering with underserved communities to overcome water poverty. With experience in more than 40 countries since 1977, Lifewater serves people of all faiths, focusing on contextually appropriate water sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) development. For more information, contact Christine Zurbach (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit www.lifewater.org. Lifewater International is based in San Luis Obispo, CA.