Lundazi, Zambia Rev. Peter Chipeta is a key partner with MMM shallow well program. Rev. Chipeta is the pastor of the CCAP (Church Central Africa Presbyterian) congregation in Lundazi and also the Secretary of the Education Dept. of the Synod, which operates 14 schools.
I understood Rev. Chipeta to be quoting a pastor in rural areas who reported what people in the villages said to him: “we hear your sermons about salvation; you tell us about how Christ cares for his believers; But, we are thirsty, we need clean water to be healthy. We are hungry. Help us with clean water so we can listen and understand the Gospel.”
Rev. Chipeta says the shallow well program is a very effective means of evangelism; this program and education are their two strongest means of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Volunteers are asked to write in their journals each day and answer the question: “Where did I see the face of Christ today?”
Here are some of the answers in my journal:
- Mr. Chrispin Mhango, Coordinator of the Shallow Well Program for Zambia and also serving as a Field Officer. Mr. Mhango would rise early in the morning and have our truck loaded with pipe, pump, tools, and supplies so we could leave at 5 or 5.30am. When we arrive in the villages to install the wells, Mr. Mhango reaches out to the children with a loving hand, while he leads the installation and dedication ceremony. Mr. Mhango is a tireless worker for the Kingdom.
- Rev. Chipeta, in addition to the entry above on Rev. Chipeta, one evening we returned from installing wells (Mr. Mhango, Court Reece, and I) and it was very dark when we pulled into the CCAP depot near the Church. When we pulled in, our headlights shown on a group in the parking lot; it was Rev. Chipeta with the choir practicing in the dirt parking lot and making Joyful Noises. The face of Christ shines in each of their faces and through their beautiful voices.
- Children in the villages: the twinkling eyes and broad smiles are what we wanted to see, but it was often malnutrition (reddish hair, swollen bellies), flies covering the eyelids of the children, and disabilities. Christ is in the face of every one of these children and for many of these children, this day is the first time they have ever heard of Jesus Christ! Hallelujah!
- On Sunday afternoon, after a restful day without any power, I was out in the church yard reading and a young lady came up and invited us to come hear them sing; as it turned out, she was one of the members of the youth choir of the Presbyterian church and they were preparing for a recording of their music. Court and I walked with several of the members to the Catholic Church, where a rented room was used as a studio. Although there was only battery power, they sang so beautifully and asked us to help them keep time so the recordings could be accurately ‘mixed’. Eight young men and five young ladies, along with their conductor, reflected the face of Christ in their voices and expressions of joy.
- On Saturday, October 25th, we cut short our well installation day in order to drive to Embangweni and attend the celebration at the deaf school (School for the Hard of Hearing), which was started in 1994 with the financial support of MMM. After an afternoon of performances by the chimes choir (deaf children learned to read the charts and it was fabulous), native dances by the children, and acknowledgements, we had a tour of the school and vocational training center.
- I see the face of Christ in these children, who are so filled with joy and hope as their lives are so much different than they might have been; we participated in their morning worship the first day of training and it was beautiful. The celebration culminated with a feast and storytelling. I sat next to Mr. Hara, the elder.
- Mr. Hara grew up in this area and his career in teaching developed into teaching deaf children, then teaching the teachers of the deaf children, near the capital farther south in Malawi. Mr. Hara and his wife raised 9 children of their own. When Mr. Hara ‘retired’ from a teaching career, he moved back to northern Malawi and settled near Embangweni. At an age of over 60 years old, in 1993, he approached the local CCAP congregation and Rev. Tembo (another story of the face of Christ), the head of the mission station about starting a deaf school in northern Malawi. To make a long story short, the vision was realized through prayer and faith of Mr. Hara, Rev. Tembo, and Jocelyn Logan (dragging Tom along) and the deaf school opened. Mr. Hara was head teacher (headmaster) of the deaf school, and since ‘retiring’ continues to teach as a volunteer. Mr. Hara is where I see the face of Christ today. His faithfulness and sacrifice are a tremendous inspiration. How can we use our ‘retirement’ years to serve others?
Here is a quote from a relatively new field officer, Mr. Alick Ng’uni, who joined MMM in 2007 in Zambia.
“Glory to God inscribed on each well is such a powerful statement. The well is a free gift, not partisan (like other programs awarded based on votes provided) or limited to those professing the faith of the church affiliated with the program. The shallow well program is recognized as substantially improving health by reducing and eliminating water-borne diseases like cholera and dysentery”.
At the end of each well installation and dedication, the village headman normally stands and has a short speech of appreciation; two main themes: no longer drink with the animals and this is a wonderful God to provide us clean water…please continue for our neighbors.
- “Clean water was only a dream for us, many others have told us they would provide clean water, but Marion (Medical Mission) is the first to deliver on the promise.”
- “We are so grateful for having clean, safe water. People in this village have been drinking with the frogs, cattle, goats, and other animals. Now we have clean water to drink. Please continue this program as there are so many villages in the area where the people are still drinking dirty water.”
- “The people in this village have been drinking dirty water which causes cholera, dysentery, and other waterborne diseases. Now they will be well, the children able to go to school, and the men & women will have more time to work (in the field=improves food security). The women have been getting up very early each morning and walking long distances for water (sometimes 2x day). Now they walk shorter distances and can be more productive.”
- “This water is a blessing from God….thanking God for the water”
- “We have been drinking deadly and contaminated water……
- “God has blessed them with clean, safe drinking water.”
- “Because of the blessing of the Lord, we now have clean, safe drinking water. Please continue to help others with the shallow well program.”
- “These village people learned they can participate in improving their village through shallow well program.” An impassioned speech by a village headman emphasizing how this act changed the way the people in this village view their future (The shallow well program only provides what the village people can not provide themselves: pump, pipe, cement, & skilled labor; the village people do the hard labor: dig the well by hand, make the bricks, haul the sand, break up the rock into gravel…)
- “We are so grateful to MMM and the work through the zone management team… These villages have been drinking from open wells with pigs and other animals…”
- “We never dreamed we would have protected water in this village…we are grateful to Christians in America for this (gift)”
- “Have you seen the potholes we have been drinking from? (drinking) with the goats, pigs, cows, and other animals. We are so grateful; please continue this program as there are many villages in Africa needing clean water”