Deep

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.“(John 4:10)

Boy PNGHis name is Boy – the name given to him by his grandfather. He is a water well driller. Born and raised in the highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG), this father of two now spends most of his time in the Port Moresby area drilling deep water wells in order to provide water to the rural villages in this part of the country. He wants people to have water, but more so, he wants them to find out about the Living Water of Jesus Christ.

As I write this, I am flying on Fiji 290 over the South Pacific on our return flight from Papua New Guinea — cutting a high altitude path between deep blue sky and deep blue sea. Jim and I just completed what I have come to call a guerilla mission – a description I give to those short, intense missions when we have a very specific goal and a fixed amount of time to complete it. We were invited by Pastor Magi Goro to come and assist them in making improvements to their water ministry.

Unless you live in the urban Port Moresby area, your options for water are few. The average person needs from 10 to 15 liters of clean water per day for drinking, cleaning and food preparation. In most of Papua New Guinea that means traveling long distances with buckets for fetching water. The drought they have experienced over the past several years has made many surface options dry up. People are getting sick and dying in the villages as they are desperate and drink from sources that are unclean.

PNG 2Deep-water wells are essential to make clean water available in these parts. It is the very heart of Pastor Magi to make a dramatic impact on the health and life of the villages. In the past several years he has drilled 45 wells. And everywhere he has drilled a well he has planted a church.

Jim and I visited quite a few sites. Some were producing water, but many were in need of repair. It is no easy task for Pastor Magi to run a well drilling ministry. He works on a shoestring budget with old equipment. He spends an inordinate amount of time fixing the drill rig and the well parts that rust from the high iron-content water. He has a desire to keep providing water and planting churches, but the maintenance needs have reached critical mass. Furthermore, even though the wells provide water, drinking water is still a concern. They village folks are very suspicious of groundwater from so deep. They will use it for many of their needs, but are unwilling to drink it.

Jim and I have benefitted from doing a number of water projects together around the world. Jim’s experience with providing water alternatives is broad. Having assessed the operation, we were able to make a number of low cost suggestions that will help reduce repairs the amount of maintenance needed over the life of a well. But the drill rig is over ten years old and being kept running by the equivalent of baling wire and duct tape. Pastor Magi has been setting money aside in order to get a new rig (around $10,000 USD).

IMG_4643We focused not only on wells, but also on water quality. The PNG team told us from the start that they were not very knowledgeable about water quality. They knew how to get water out of the ground, but did not know how to instruct the villagers on making it drinkable. We held a training session on Tuesday to help them understand about the major contaminants in water that make people sick and ways to purify well water. By the end of the session, they had gained new confidence and felt they could give the villagers ways to test and treat the water for drinking.

The men and women we spent the past several days with are incredible. The Holy Spirit is at work in them as they pour themselves out for the sake of their people. We were honored and blessed to be able to work alongside such inspiring brothers and sisters. They are doing a great work. It is not only about clean water, but about bringing the good news of Jesus Christ and planting fellowships in villages that need the Living Water of Jesus Christ. It is about deep wells and the planting of deep roots. Please keep our PNG brothers and sisters in your prayers. If you’d like to give to accelerate their timeline for getting a rig, or for purchasing water filters and test kits, you can do so here by designating B4 Missions as the giving type and we will make sure that every dollar goes to them and their efforts.

An Update from our Bright Hope Missionary

Hi pastor Mark and teacher Melinda!

IMG_20160503_173936So far everything has been going great. I’m adjusting to the routine and flow of things here. The girls have loved learning taekwondo and kickboxing. A few of them are super serious and focused and actually have a lot of TKD potential. The others just laugh the whole time and blush when I hold the shield for them to kick. I catch them practicing on each other during the day and have to warn them not to hurt each other, but just like in basketball and all their wild, rough games, the girls just laugh off any pain and don’t get angry with each other.  Amit [an orphan who is Pastor Ajay’s nephew] has been teaching what I’ve shown him to Jonathan [one of the school administrators and leaders] as well, so he is having fun with it too. I’ve also taught them kickball and a bunch of group games. In exchange, they’ve taught me cricket! I was horrible at first but I’m getting better. I think I actually prefer it to baseball :).  And they have taught me a bunch of other fun group games that I will have to teach the b4 square kiddos when I return.

I haven’t had any health issues other than being eaten alive by some mysterious bugs that I never actually see biting me. They aren’t mosquitoes. I think it is something in the sand. From my knees down, I look like I have the chicken pox. But the rest of me is fine. More importantly, my stomach has been fine with the food and water and I think I’m already adjusting to the heat. I actually caught myself saying brrr in the shower this morning.

So far I have taken over the responsibility of leading the morning exercises and devotions for the hostel girls and leading the morning devotions for the whole school on Fridays. I helped cover a few English and math classes for an absent teacher last week. I’m going to officially start teaching an English class next week. (They have exams this week). And Jonathan hinted that they might want me to teach some science since they found out I was a science major. But we haven’t officially discussed that.

IMG_20160503_123426Other than that I just get to play with the girls and help them during study times.
I haven’t watched all of the teachers, but I have watched a couple of classes. I sat in on one class with one of the new teachers who was teaching about the body and health. She did a great job. She was very interactive with the students and had them laughing and smiling. She had them take their pulse and then run outside and take it again to see who’s was fastest. I think this teacher is a great addition to the school.

The biggest need/concern I’ve noticed so far is that quite a few of the girls seem to be having minor skin condition issues, ranging from boils to rashes. I’m not sure if it’s from the quality of the well water or from insect bites or (since it seems to be worst on their hands between the thumb and first finger) if it might be from the soaps they use for washing dishes/clothes. Anyhow… it seems that they might benefit from having some kind of ointments or creams we could apply to boils/rashes. They use dettol to clean wounds, which is an iodine solution. I think having something like Neosporin might also be a good idea [we are asking Christine to send pictures and one of our nurses will take a look to see what she can recommend].

IMG_0012Overall, I’m having a great time. The girls are becoming less shy around me and there are fewer and fewer polite (but horribly awkward) silences between me and the rest of the staff during meal times. They treat me with extra respect and keep trying to serve me, (always serving my plate first and not letting me clear my dishes, stuff like that) which I am not accustomed to. I’m trying to just graciously accept it so far (I definitely do not want to offend them or seem ungrateful) and I’m hoping I can slowly show them that I am here to serve them, not be served. I’m being treated as a guest of honor right now but hopefully over time I will become less a guest and more like part of the staff.

The girls are also teaching me Hindi using the book they use for the nursery children (it has great pictures lol. Cha is for Channa.) So far I’ve learned the first 15 letters of a seemingly endless alphabet. I’m getting pretty good at drawing them but the girls still giggle when I try to pronounce them. It pretty much goes life this… I say “jha” And then they tell me “not jha… jha.” And I say “jha?” and they say “jha! … JHA!!” So I say “JHA!!” And they just giggle some more.

Anyway… that’s about all I have to report for now. Hope all is well back home :). Thanks for the prayers

–Christine

“I am loving it so far.”