Charles Lewis, 2011 Volunteer

Charles Lewis, 2011 Volunteer

I look forward each year to Tom Logan’s inspiring challenge to us at our training in Embangweni, Malawi, on our first day there when he reminds us that Marion Medical Mission’s chief purpose for existing is to “share the love of Christ.”  Looking around giving each of us he compassionate eye contact, he coninues, “We do this by working in a horizontal relationship with our African partners providing the extreme poor with a sustainable source of safe drinking water.  Safe drinking water means no more deaths due to cholera and dysentery; it means no more water born disease, which means healthier people who work longer in their fields producing more food resulting in less starvation.”  He concludes with a phrase we would repeat to ourselves often during the next three weeks as we drive the rugged trails and climbed down and up the steep hillsides, “Safe drinking water means life.”

Charles pumping at a well

Charles pumping at a well

During my first five trips, I have been present at almost 400 well dedications. Each is unique to itself and a very satisfying experience for all present. A prayer is offered by a villager, usually the headman or chairperson of the well construction committee. This year a strong lady Elder in the local congregation offered the prayer at one dedication. I only understood two words, Christo and Amen. Yet, I was so moved by the emotional reflection in her voice and by her facial expressions that I could feel the Holy Spirit in that place as she laid her hands on the mechanical device and, I think, thanked God for the well, their new source for safe water.