Wells Change Lives
When Lou walked into the chief’s hut, he was amazed at the reception he received. The chief quickly rose from lounging on the lion skin and grabbed Lou’s hand to express his gratitude for the well dug in his village. Of the chief’s reaction, Lou shared, “I’ll never forget that it was just really a heartwarming episode in my life. … He reached over and grabbed my hand to kiss it.”
Lou Mancari, Regional Director for Africa at Advancing Native Missions, returned from his trip full of stories of the ANM Gift Catalog’s impact on people and ministries in Africa.
The funds for the well came from Gift Catalog donations. That well powerfully impacted the village. People had been getting water from a pool a couple of miles away. The villagers traced a sickness in the village to that contaminated pool. The well that was dug produced clean, safe water for the village. It saved time as they did not have to travel miles on foot to get water. Having the well in the village brought attention to the church that Pastor Joseph, a young evangelist sent by Johnson Asare, had planted. More adults have attended church since the well was dug, and several have accepted Jesus as their Savior. The church also established a small school for the children. The village mosque no longer dominates the lives of the people.
“The pastor handed me a zebra’s tail and made me an official, an honorary elder of that church … thanking ANM for the well that we built there,” Lou shared in amazement.
Timothy Kinyua, a ministry leader in Kenya, has seen people who were nomadic and hard to reach with the gospel settle in a specific area because of wells being dug. They do not have to travel around to find water. They are available to hear the gospel. One group later established a school and church building. Lou said he observed this kind of development happening in more than ten villages during his recent trip to Africa. A well changes a tribe’s lifestyle for the better and prepares them to hear and receive Jesus. All because the funds were given to the Gift Catalog to dig a well.
“Jesus picked me up.” That’s what one woman experienced when she joined the sewing center training sessions. Her status was elevated from a disrespected housemaid to a businesswoman in training at a sewing center established by an ANM ministry partner in Ethiopia. Another woman from the sewing center commented that working there made her realize she had something to contribute to society. She will be able to earn money to support her family. The sewing center will continue to train people in sewing skills, but it will also employ the trained students to sew items for sale.
Meseret Workelul, ANM’s Assistant Regional Director for Africa, visited the sewing center funded by ANM donors who purchased sewing machines from the Gift Catalog. The ladies at the sewing center spend each morning from nine till noon praying, fasting, reading the Bible, and encouraging each other. They spend the afternoon learning how to sew. The ladies are learning to sew clothes and reusable feminine hygiene products. The ladies will be employed at the center when they graduate in October if they don’t choose to start their own businesses.
Imagine pastors graduating from Bible School and starting a church where they will preach and teach — with no Bible available to use. Trying to teach and preach from scriptures they had memorized would be a challenge. This past summer in Tanzania, Williams Yindi had 50 pastors graduate from his Bible Training Center. Because of Gift Catalog funds given for Bibles, he was able to equip each pastor with a Bible. A pastor owning his own Bible is inspirational. It makes a difference in his own life and in the life of the congregations where he teaches and preaches.
What difference could a goat make in the life of a family? The gift of a goat has helped families have more stable food sources, children have funds to pay school fees to attend school, and families receive income for their daily needs. In Ghana, ANM partner Johnson Asare gave goats funded from the ANM Gift Catalog to each child who attended his ministry’s Christian summer camp. The children, with their families, are attending church now instead of the mosque in their village because of the impact of the goats.
One missionary said, “I used to have to walk. It would take me five hours to get to the village. Now it takes 20 minutes to get there.” In Kenya, motorcycles have made a difference in the size of the territory missionaries can reach with the gospel. With rough terrain and long distances between villages, motorcycles make travel easier and quicker. The people of those villages feel less isolated when the missionaries visit them.
Purchase a roof? Why just the roof of a church, you might wonder? Some people in Africa can make bricks to build a building, but they need more than a thatched roof to make the building safe and usable in the long run. For about $2,000, a metal roof can be put on a church structure. It provides a place where people can get out of the sun and the rain, as the weather often goes from a drought to a flood quickly in that region.
Where Do You Start?
These stories illustrate the effectiveness of the items in the ANM Gift Catalog. You can pick a simple gift like 200 frogs for $10. They will go to a country where the frogs are cooked and eaten. $15 will supply a child with shoes to protect their feet and allow them to attend school. For $30, you can provide a Christ-centered soccer team with a soccer ball. The soccer teams keep children off the streets and out of gangs, plus they hear about Jesus. For $2,000, you can purchase a boat so a missionary can travel from one island to another in the Philippines and reach people with the gospel for the first time. Read how the gift of a boat impacted an isolated village.
This list is just a sample of the items in the 2021 Christmas Gift Catalog. Check out the giving opportunities that will change lives for the better.
Header image: ANM photo.