WHITEHALL, MI (May 27, 2010) – Tom Beeghly challenged the children attending the Whitehall Covenant Church Vacation Bible School to drink a glass of dirty water. He told them that people in other parts of the world have no choice but to drink such turbid water every day.
Of course, he had no intent of letting them anywhere near the glass. The students understood the message behind the illustration, however, and wound up raising nearly $800. That was in 2007.
That challenge set the church on a course that led to Zimbabwe. The children eventually raised more than $1,800 with the funds used to purchase and install a water well for a village in the African nation in 2009. Youth Pastor Craig Smith and three members of the youth group recently returned from seeing a second well the church funded and the impact it is having.
Rather than walking more than two miles to bring back parasite-infested water, villagers can drink unlimited amounts of clean water without making a long trip. No longer will people die because of thirst.
The church had not determined how to spend the money until Beeghly visited Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp and met Pastor Gary Cross of Northside Community Church, which is located in Harare, Zimbabwe. Cross already had been working with Thornapple Covenant Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Cross told him of Northside’s work to provide housing, food, clothing to families who have been devastated by AIDS and cancer. Clean water, he said, was in desperate need.
Beeghly says funding the wells was a reminder that, “We can’t solve all of the world’s problems, but we can very easily change one village.”