Sunday, March 6, 2011

Safe Water--Saving Lives Now

"Lord, when did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink?" Matthew 25:37

If you could provide safe water to a family of five or more for the next 10 years; safe water that was free of parasites and stopped cholera and other killers and that cost only $100, procured, shipped, installed, with the family trained, would you? That's $100, $10 a year to provide safe water to a family in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, or Ghana.

Unsafe water and poor sanitation are at crisis levels. A child under five dies every 15 seconds because of them. It is a crisis begging a sustainable solution. Most efforts leave us frustrated and feeling helpless. But there is an elegant solution. I first learned of it in "Rotarian Magazine" a year ago. (See August 2009 page 30, and November 2009 page 61, issues). The solution is the Hydraid Biosand Filter. A simple device with no moving parts, requiring no power, no maintenance, and only minimal training. It costs $34.00, $100.00 installed in Haiti or one of the other countries above. How can that be? Because God made it that way, and he has led people of God to make it happen.

The Hydraid Biosand Filter uses sand, the system that has cleansed water flowing into our aquifers for eons and a biological layer that naturally forms within few days that attacks the bad pathogens which cause devastating illnesses and even death. (See how it works.) It is a wonder!

Educate yourselves with the links above. It is a life-saver. The Safe Water Team ( is a 501 c3 organization dedicated to distributing the technology to those in need. They are doing tremendous work. The government of Honduras just two weeks ago signed a contract for 40,000 of them to be distributed over the next five years. The solution is there, the transportation is there, the receiving system is there (through the US Navy in Haiti to avoid Customs problems), and the distribution systems are in place (an NGO, Pure Water for the world in Haiti, and Good Samaritan Hospital in the Dominican Republic). The Dominican Republic distribution system supports Haitian field hands who are the poorest of the poor in the Western Hemisphere.

Here's what Lay Speakers in the United Methodist Church are doing: At our annual convocation, we drafted a Letter of Intent to raise $50,000 by July 1st. Safe Water Team pledges to match our donations dollar for dollar up to $50,000! Wow! And because we are a connected church of 50 conferences, and average of 8 districts per conference, 80 churches and 80 lay speakers per district (all round numbers), it is no-brainer. It's a $1000 per conference, $1.60 per church or lay speaker. Most importantly, it is a life-saver!

Lay Speakers, brainstorm how you can make missions part of your training. Find a champion, a person with a passion for people, in your conference or in your district. Talk to your churches. The lay speaker in this video was giving a report on his VIM trip to Haiti. Unannounced, he introduced the Hydraid Biosand Filter and spontaneously raised over $4000 from a congregation of 100 in attendance. Last week a church raised $6200 in a spur of the moment auction just for Hydraid filters for Haiti.

Here's the key to getting our matching funds: Donate through ALWAYS make sure that "ACDLSM" or "Lay Speaker" in is the memo section or if through paypal, in the instructions to the seller. Send checks to Safe Water Team, PO Box 287, Lowell, MI 49331, again with "ACDLSM" or "Lay Speaker" on the memo line of your check. If you prefer to donate through a United Methodist organization, we've set up an alternate at Office of Creative Ministries, Missouri Conference (Click Here) or mail checks to Office of Creative Ministries, 3009 David Drive, Columbia, MO 65202. The same memo instructions apply.

Now, consider if one church in each Conference had a fund raiser. How about a church in each district? Or if each lay speaking ministries class this spring took Safe Water on as a mission project? How about if each lay speaker just bought a $34 Hydraid Biosand Filter? What if it was a project for Change the World Sunday? The possibilities for saving lives are endless. What are your ideas?


hnb said...

Though this a wonderful organization to partner with, I'm wondering why a United Methodist organization was not chosen to support. UMCOR has been working with a group to provide clean water to Haiti. Imagine No Malaria is working to eliminate deaths due to malaria. There are so many more I could mention. Should lay leaders of the UMC not support the initiatives of the church?

Rick said...

Please see my post, Haiti and the people of Haiti are on the heart of the United Methodist Church. We are actively working with UMCOR and lay speakers will be in Haiti with them the week following Easter on this very issue.
We are a big church and we can give water to the thirsty, and healing for the sick at the same time. I'm personally working on Nothing But Nets fundraising. I share your vision of no malaria. I also have a vision of children with safe water. Go with me.