Earlier this year, a short-term mission team from Indiana — including TJ Mattick, LCEF district vice-president, and Rev. Daniel Lepley, senior pastor of Our Shepherd Lutheran Church and School, Avon — partnered with Fountains of Hope to install two water purification systems at Point of Grace Academy, a Lutheran school in Ogal Beach, Kisumu, Kenya. There they met Jim and Cheryl Brockman of Emanuel, New Haven, to provide clean water for more than 700 students, staff and the Ogal Beach community. The investment of clean water at Point of Grace, a ministry organized and run by workers of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK) has already improved the lives of thousands who now have access to chlorinated
drinking water, as safe as water coming from a tap here at home.
From left, TJ Mattick, Jim and Cheryl Brockman, Rev. Daniel Lepley, Deaconess Lorna and Rev. Dennis Meeker, and Bill Farrar, Fountains of Hope founder
Fountains of Hope leads and participates with mission teams all over the world installing reliable water purification systems. Clean drinking water is something we tend to take for granted. We live our lives never worrying about the water we drink because we have clean water flowing from every tap of our homes, churches and schools. Clean water is sold at nearly every gas station and store. It is so readily available that when a city lacks clean water for mere hours, a state of emergency is declared. When something’s found wrong with a municipal water supply (think Flint, Michigan), it’s national news for weeks. Because we are so blessed with abundant fresh water, it’s hard for us to fathom the peace and relief God’s promises bring to those who don’t know the blessing of clean drinking water: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” — Isaiah 55:1
The water purifiers installed on this trip provided a tangible earthly demonstration of the cleansing and life-giving power of God’s love for His children. “Observing and walking with the children in Kisumu was a life-altering experience, providing me with an opportunity to see how the Holy Spirit is working nearly halfway around the world,” Mattick said. “Living, eating, installing a water system and, most importantly, worshiping with the children and people in Kisumu was a foretaste of the feast to come for all believers.”
“Our Lutheran forebearers, who came to the Americas in the early to mid-19th century began communities by building Lutheran churches and schools,” Pastor Lepley said. “I see the work of 4Kenya’sKids as carrying on the very same mission in Africa. There, you are required to teach religion in school, so we teach from the Catechism and LSB hymnal. Providing clean water shows our kids the love of Christ by preventing diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery and skin infections, which cause many kids to miss classes.”
4KenyasKids is a nonprofit organization based in Indiana that exists to provide care for orphans and other children in Kenya. For more information, visit 4kenyaskids.org.
Everyone who drinks clean water from the tap and Point of Grace has been taught of the life-giving properties of clean water. They’ve also received this gift as a living reminder of God’s love. Those who provide for their family by filling buckets with clean water at Grace Academy — and carrying them home — do so from a hose that has references to John 4:7-15, Mark 9:41 and John 7:37-38 printed on it. “Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” — John 7:37b-38
Pastor Lepley with the kids in Kisumu, Kenya.
Taken from the September 2019 Lutheran Witness.