Water has a prominent place in the Bible. Over 700 scriptures mention water!
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:1
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3
“They are like trees planted by streams of water…” Psalm 1:3
“God will provide water to the poor and needy...” Isaiah 4:17
“Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” Isaiah 35:6
“It is done. I am the Alpha and Omega. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.” Revelation 21:6
Unfortunately, water isn’t abundant for all of God’s children. Over 650 million people do not have access to clean drinking water. Marion Medical Mission is working to share God’s love with these people by helping them gain access to safe, sustainable sources of drinking water. We have built over 45,000 wells and helped an estimated 5 million people gain this basic need, in the name of Jesus Christ.
No problem can be solved without awareness. Teaching the next generation about the world’s water crisis is a big step toward getting everyone clean drinking water! Adapt these lessons as appropriate, and PLEASE, take pictures and share with us! We’re happy to support you with brochures, newsletters, and videos.
Water relay game: Divide into two teams. Fill a clean, open-topped, non-breakable container with water for each team; be sure the containers are the exact same size and filled to the brim with water. Set a start and finish point. At a signal, the first runner heads for the finish line, walks over the line, turns around and heads back to his or her team, and passes the container to the next person in line. At the end of the race, the team with the most water still in the container is the winner.
Dry Mouth Challenge: 663 million people in the world have never tasted a glass of clean water, even though they live where it’s very hot and dry. Let students have an opportunity to REALLY feel a dry mouth! Ask students “Can you eat 3 crackers in 30 seconds or less without the aid of water?” It sounds easy, but it may be a little harder than students think. Give students plain saltine crackers and let them try it with a timer. Before getting water at the end of the activity, discuss how it would feel if they had to walk four miles to get water? What if the water they got was filthy?
Balancing act: Collecting water is usually a task which falls to the women of a village. Often, these women walk 3-4 miles, each way, to get water for their families. To understand how difficult it is to carry water, many groups do a relay race with a bucket on their heads (using cheap sand buckets). For older children, add a bean bag or two to the bucket so the balancing act is a little more difficult.
It’s instructive to experience what 40 LBS feels like – the typical weight of a filled bucket or water can. Borrow a weightlifting bar loaded with 40 LBS, and then pick it up. Imagine what it would be like to carry that weight on their heads.
Ask two volunteers to have a drinking contest to see who can drink the bottle of water fastest. Bring them both to the front, make a big deal about the competition, who will be the champion, etc. Once they're ready, hand them each a bottle -- one is beautifully clean water, one is disgustingly dirty water from a creek. Quickly, blow the whistle and yell "GO!" and watch everyone's reaction to the person with the nasty water! (Superglue the lids on the bottles so there's no possibility someone would try to drink it before you could stop them!). It really gets them involved and ready to talk about the need for safe drinking water.
Share Genesis 1:6-10. Discuss: If God gave us the gift of water and said it was good, how would he want us to take care of that gift? Brainstorm ways to save water (like shutting off the water when you brush your teeth, only running the washing machine or dishwasher when they are really full, washing your car on top of the grass, watering plants with used dishwater, fixing leaks, or taking a short shower instead of a bath).
Help children understand that some areas have abundance of natural resources, while others have scarcity. Fill two bowls with candy or stickers—something treasured. On one bowl, attach a sign that reads “Free Candy—Take All You Want.” Fill the second bowl with broken, mashed candy, ripped stickers, empty wrappers, trash, and very few decent candy pieces/stickers. Attach a sign, “While standing on one foot, lean over to the ground, close your eyes and pick one piece of candy.” Bring two volunteers to the front of the room and randomly assign them to one bowl or the other. One represents the abundance of living in the U.S. and the other represents the scarcity of clean water and the many difficulties to get it. Compare the two bowls and discuss which country they’d rather live in. How could they help those who live in the scarcity? Show pictures of water abundance (washing cars, playing in the pool, drinking cold drinks and pictures of our villages in Africa drinking dirty water, or dried-up mud puddles).
A typical 16.9 oz bottle of water will hold $100 worth of dimes. Distribute water bottles and ask children to collect the family’s dimes over an extended period of time (e.g., over the Summer). Four and a half bottles will purchase a well! We can send you a template to print labels with our logo.
Construct a mock well: If collecting a variety of coins, use children’s sand buckets or construct a mock well and fill it with coins throughout the week. We can send a copy of our logo to affix to the buckets or well.
Challenge families to consider skipping specialty coffee and purchased drinks for a specific period of time —nothing but water for the length of the challenge. Donate the money saved to help end the water crisis.
We have several videos which can help the students understand the water crisis and see some of the people impacted. The video menu is located at the top of our home page under "VIDEOS".
Many enjoy learning some of the words and phrases our volunteers and villagers speak! This is from the Chitumbuka language of Northern Malawi & Zambia.
Uchindami Kwa Chiuta: Glory Be to God (on every MMM cement well cap)
Monire mose: Hello to a group
Mone: Hello to an individual
Muli uli: How are you?
Nili makola, kwali imwe: I’m fine, how about you?
Tawonga chomeni: We thank you.
Ye wo: Very nice, excuse me, pardon me, yes, etc.
Papani chomeni: Very sorry
READING/ STORYTELLING OPTIONS
The Water Princess by Susan Verde; (ISBN-10: 0399172580) is available as a hardback or kindle version. It is based on a true story of a woman who grew up to be a super model, but was raised in Burkina Faso and had to fetch water every day with her mother. MMM doesn't actually work in Burkina Faso, but the book is a great way to introduce the water crisis in a sensitive way to children. Citing statistics (such as 1 in 5 children dying before their 5th birthday) can be frightening, but children can easily understand that dirty water will make them sick, and that walking a long way in the hot sun of Africa with a jar on their head would be painful!
Video of a dad reading the book aloud -- https://youtu.be/TEEOhDWoWtw
Some questions to share with students:
Why do we need water?
What would happen if you drank dirty water?
Why do you think these children need to travel so far for water? What happens if the children and their families can’t get water?
How do you think Gie Gie feels about traveling so far each day for water? Compare your day with Gie Gie’s day. How is your day different?
Does Gie Gie have time to play? Why or why not?
Do you think Gie Gie gets to attend school on daily basis? If not, please explain why.
How do you think God feels when He sees Gie Gie & her family struggling so much to get water?
How could we minister to people like Gie Gie who live a long way from us?
Marion Medical Mission is a grassroots organization on every front. In Africa, wells are allocated by locally elected zones, in partnership with community-based MMM Field Officers. Likewise, when it comes to fundraising, our strength is in churches, small groups, Sunday school classes, community-based service groups, families and individuals…like you! We are blessed to include thousands of ordinary people on both sides of the Atlantic in the miracle of clean water. We are blessed that these community members are such faithful and committed supporters. Raising funds is vital to supporting God’s work in Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania.
We’re looking for more individuals and communities to get involved in this fundraising movement. Do you have creative ideas? Organizational skills? Connections? We’d love your help! Feel free to CONTACT US or use some of the ideas below to get your community excited about saving lives through clean water.
Host a Car Wash
Plan a Chili Cookoff or BBQ Contest
Take a “noisy offering” by collecting change in small tin buckets.
Have a t-shirt design contest and sell the winners.
Sell water bottles
Give up soda and donate the amount saved
Create a makeshift well and fill the buckets with money for wells…
For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore
I command you, “You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.”
~ Deuteronomy 15:11