Have you ever lived in a city that has given a boil-water notice? Have you ever noticed that the taste of your tap water has changed? You might think it's odd to notice the taste of water or that there would be a boil-water notice in the United States. But during July of 2020, the city of Laredo, TX had to advise citizens living along highway 359 to boil their water due to low chlorine levels.
Thankfully, the notice only lasted a couple of months, and water quality in the U.S is generally safe. However, 80% of rural communities in Ethiopia lack access to clean water. They have hand-dug wells exposed to contaminants, or, most often, they get their water from the river. If they have access to clean water, it is usually through a state-installed water pump, sometimes miles from their home.
The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering (TBHO) supports Restore Hope Ethiopia, whose goal “is a clean water project, that includes months of community preparation, to help set up leaders in the community who will talk to the state and advocate for clean water.” Restore Hope Ethiopia drills the well and then does 4-6 months of building relationships by checking in on the well's function and how the community is doing.
An elder in the community said, “We were like the walking dead, and you have brought the light. Our children were always sick. How can you get better when you’re drinking dirty water?”
Early on in the pandemic, Restore Hope decided that Americans would not be going to the Ethiopian rural areas to prevent potentially introducing the coronavirus to the region. Instead, local Restore Hope Ethiopia staff has been doing research in villages with extreme water needs where the people are also receptive to the Gospel.
The Restore Hope Ethiopia team has spent time with young people in larger villages. These villages are the only place youths can receive 11th and 12th-grade education or go to trade school. The staff spends the time they would be using at the project site to disciple young people who carry the Gospel back to their rural communities.
Please join us in prayer for the work God is doing through Restore Hope Ethiopia staff. Director Megan Key asks, “Pray over our communities that God would lead us to his chosen places, for the development work itself, that these would be communities, ripe for the harvest.”
To learn more about the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, visit hungeroffering.org.