Clean, healthy water is not readily available to many villages throughout Zambia.
They journey miles a day only to retrieve a limited supply of filthy water that makes them sick, and prevents the flourishing life that could easily be theirs.
They simply need wells.
Christ Church is now positioned to provide life-giving water for approximately 15,000 people.
Join us on Sunday, August 18 as we launch Water is Life – Zambia.
In the meantime, hear from CUMC’s Bob Whitsitt on how we have come to this crucial moment of opportunity:
Have you ever had a last-minute change in what you thought were sure plans? The apostle Paul did. We read in Acts 16:6-8 that the apostle had every intention of working in Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow him to enter that country.
I had a similar experience in October 2012. The Serving & Outreach team had been trying to enter a new region of western Zambia with a new approach to our work, one more akin to the “When Helping Hurts” model. This model challenges the Western World to better employ relief, rehabilitation, or development while placing a high emphasis on relationships and long-term sustainability.
With a year of work with our partner on the ground under our belt, nothing was helping us advance into western Zambia. I resolved to put my feet on the ground there to examine the situation firsthand.
However, I received a phone call exactly one week prior to departure that completely changed my urgent plans! We were not going west, after all. We would be going east—as far east as you can go in Zambia. It was the crucial time for decision, much like Paul faced: stick to the original plan, or see what God has in store!
Before I continue with the story, let me provide some backstory of how we arrived at this crucial juncture:
CUMC’s connection to Zambia began fourteen plus years ago with the desire to help African pastors receive seminary-level training. It was at that time we connected with Alfred Kalembo, who today is Superintendent (Bishop) of the Pilgrim Wesleyan Church of Zambia (PWCZ) and the new president of the Council of Churches in Zambia.
While we were there in June of this year, Alfred expressed to us his interest in more sustainable outcomes for more geographically specific areas—the exact thing, as it turns out, that God had in store from our trip in October of 2012.
So, from the hindsight afforded me as I write this in July 2013, I can see that it was the Spirit of Jesus redirecting our plans and taking us to a place that everything we hoped for was ready and waiting.
Our partner on the ground had already established relationships with all the right people, and had drawn out strategic plans to meet real needs identified by the people. They even had acquired the blessing of the area chiefs and government officials. All that was needed was someone like Christ Church to partner with them.
We were able to meet with regional officials during our time in eastern Zambia, and as a result, we now have a defined strategy that begins with boreholes/wells for clean water and village hygiene, agriculture as an economic engine providing jobs and income, trade schools, medical clinics, and even land granted by the tribal chiefs for planting churches.
Alex Mbewe, the District Superintendent for PWCZ, is a vital partner of ours in this initiative. He told me recently,
“All this energy and good will has been triggered by your partnering with us so that together, we can make our kingdom building efforts a holistic reality in those communities. You have consequently transformed both the outlook and status of our ministry here as we are now considered an integral partner in community transformation.”
Alex added that the District Commissioner there requested that we extend our ministry and services to other similar communities in the district—“a very rare request,” according to Alex.
“The need is so great for just about everything: water, churches, healthcare, schools, etc. Once people have water, they have hope and health, which drives them to think about how to create sustainable sources of income. Our hope is that water, along with new faith communities, will bring new life to these villages; a life that gives dignity and worth both physically and spiritually. As I heard in Zambia many times … Water is life!”
In August and September, Christ Church will join Pilgrim Wesleyan Church of Zambia to place as many boreholes as we can to assist the people of Eastern Province as they take a giant step toward long-term sustainability. Each village is also required to make a financial investment itself in order to hold ownership in the well, establish a water committee, and undergo training in pump maintenance to handle repairs and practices for proper hygiene.
Beginning with our Water is Life – Zambia Spotlight on August 18, our members will have the chance to contribute even more to these efforts. We are excited to see the joy brought to the faces of those communities that will finally have clean water, and new life.
Donate to Christ Church c/o Missions, memo: Water is Life.
Visit cumcmemphis.org/water for more information, for videos, and for updates on our progress.