A few years ago, the plight of the Zambian villages isolated between Zambezi River and the Angola border came to our attention. They were so remote that they lacked most of the necessities for life, but the most concerning was their lack of access to water.
They walked - sometimes for miles- each day to carry heavy buckets of water from the Zambezi back to their villages. Some were mauled by crocodiles while getting it.
The Zambezi is also where many locals bathe, so the water is not safe for consumption.
But it's all many of them have.
Bathing in the Zambezi River.
Through the generosity of ITMI supporters, we were able to dig boreholes, or wells, for three villages in 2012.
ITMI Financial Officer, Mark Burritt in Lukulu, Zambia.
The team was faithful to direct the villagers' gratitude to God. "God saw your need and moved His people to provide for you," they told them. The gift of the wells opened the hearts and minds of these villagers to hear about the God who provided for their needs.
ITMI Director, Steve Evers inaugurating the well.
Steve preaching the Good News to the villagers at the wells' dedication.
Villagers praying after Steve's message.
The villagers were so happy and thankful.
The villagers were so happy and thankful.
They were happy to have water nearby, but they were touched that someone cared for them. To have a physical reminder right in their village that they may be isolated, but they aren't forgotten.
The Team Returns One Year Later
The following year, a team returned to Lukulu to drill more wells in a couple more villages. This time, Steve and Tim were accompanied by ITMI Board Member Erik Thompson and ITMI partner, Richard Nungesser.
ITMI's Richard Nungesser in Lukulu, Zambia.
ITMI's Timothy Keller has been traveling to the most remote locations in Africa for over a decade.
Unfortunately, the drillers had mechanical issues and couldn't meet their commitments, which put the water portion of this project in the holding pattern Steve addressed in his most recent "Dear Team" letter.
"No well driller really wanted to go that far from Lusaka, away from the safety net of spare parts and mostly paved roads, to the west side of the river – where the need for clean water is most needed. We tried to be the best stewards possible. To keep our costs down. But that didn’t exactly ensure we were working with drillers who would do what they promised. The main thing we needed was a trusted, experienced partner who could be onsite, run things from there and hold everyone accountable for their commitments and work."
The 2013 team rolled with the punches and at the last minute pulled together some creative ways to water the seeds they'd planted the year before.
The team taught the people how to plant and care for a garden, along with providing seeds. They preached and discipled the whole time they were there, watering the gospel seeds previously planted.
Steve makes the villagers balloon creations.
The team distributed seeds and taught the people what to do with them.
ITMI team delivered "bales" of clothing, another necessity these villages have extremely limited access to.
The following year, another team returned to the same village, this time, they brought ITMI partner, Gerhard le Roux, whose family of 8 depends on a large garden to feed them in their remote location in Onseepkans, South Africa. He knows a thing or two about gardening.
Gerhard's seminar on gardening was well attended. People came from miles around to learn.
Gerhard's seminar on gardening was well attended.
So, What's New With This Project in 2016?
We've found that partner we needed! The missing piece of this project was put in place when one of our newest partners, Johan and Lesley Leach joined the ITMI family.
Johan and Lesley live on the Zambezi River in Zambia. Johan trains and equips people to cross the river and share Jesus in the villages trapped between the river and the Angola border. He is in the perfect location to oversee borehole drilling.
But the best part is, the well-digging is going to mean doors are open that much wider to the Good News Johan and his teams are heralding.
Drilling in 5 New Villages!
Drilling has commenced in five new villages: Mukongola, Cheteta, Karumba, Ngonga and Samwila. These are all places Johan and his teams have shared Jesus, and will continue to visit regularly.
"The chief and villagers are very excited and happy that they will not need to walk so far anymore to get water.
Besides this I do believe that we will have more of a ‘hearing’ ear and favour to share the Gospel to the folk further abroad on the plains as the news travels of what the Lord is doing in the hearts of many."
ITMI partner, Johan Leach.
Johan's team teaches the children of one of the villages.
We're honored to participate in this divine work, and to now offer you that same opportunity.
Are you feeling called to revolutionize a village west of the Zambezi with Living Water accompanied by a clean, safe water well?