Monday, March 14, 2011

Qs and As About Safe Water for Haiti

Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God…you would have asked of Him and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Q: Why aren’t we supporting UMC Missions?
A: Haiti and the people of Haiti are on the hearts of the United Methodist Church. We’ve been in Haiti. UMCOR has been in Haiti for years. You may recall that the director of UMCOR, Rev. Sam Dixon, lost his life in the earthquake a year ago because he was there. Meeting the needs of the Haitian people is a UMC priority. You might check out to see 33 pages of UMCOR activities. And we would recommend giving to UMCOR, Advance #418325 to support these efforts. If your passion is safe water, we can directly impact the problem, short and long term, by supporting the efforts of the Safe Water Team.

Q: What are the administrative costs associated with our donations through the Safe Water Team?
A: Since we are designating our funds, 100 percent go to product and delivery. In addition the Letter of Intention we have signed with the Safe Water Team agrees to match every donation that we make by July 1, 2011. Therefore the effectiveness of our donations is 200 percent!

Q: What is UMCOR doing in the area of Water and Sanitation and why aren’t we supporting them?
A: The reason UMCOR is so effective and has such immediate impact is that they direct funds to high impact agencies already on the ground like the Red Cross (secular) or Church World Service (religious). See for ongoing projects funded through other organizations. UMCOR is now looking for long-term, sustainable solutions to the problems of unsafe water and poor sanitation. It will take a variety of solutions to meet those needs. We believe that Hydraid Bio Sand Water Filters are one of those. While we are raising funds to put them in place, we (Safe Water Team and the Missouri Conference UMC) are working with UMCOR to be part of their long-term solution.

Q: What is the Water and Sanitation Crisis all about?
A: A billion people lack access to safe water; 2.2 million die every year, mostly children. In other words, a child dies every 15 second from water borne disease. See to check out the facts. Unfortunately, even when water is available, it is more than likely contaminated with human or animal feces, or parasites that have devastating health impacts or even death, especially among children. People live their lives with parasites and disease and often do not even realize they are sick. It is difficult for an individual or even a society to be productive under such conditions. What is the water crisis all about? People need water to live, but unsafe water kills every 15 seconds.

Q: What is the efficacy of the BioSand Water Filter?
A: : A comparison of various purification means and results can be found here: line, bio sand filters are found to be effective, convenient and sustainable in eliminating or reducing disease causing bacteria, parasites, viruses, and solids from water. While highly effective by itself, it becomes extremely effective if the filtered water is treated with one drop of chlorine per liter. Amway as part of the Safe Water Team is supplying chorine. The Hydraid BioSand Water Filters are not effective against dissolved pesticides or other dissolved chemicals or in purifying seawater.

Q: Why is the Safe Water Team best equipped to address the problem NOW?
A: While this huge problem requires a variety of long-term solutions including permanent wells and effective latrines, The Hydraid BioSand Water Filter is available, effective, and distribution centers are in place in critical areas including the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Shipment to Haiti is being done in cooperation with the US Navy’s Operation Handclasp so that filters sent to Haiti do not need to go through the docks and customs. The NGO, Pure Water for the World, who has been in Haiti many years distributes the filters and trains the recipients. So, the Safe Water Team with its sponsors, see , are producing the Hydraid BioSand Water Filters inexpensively and the logistics chain is in place to pack, ship, deliver, train, and sustain the filters NOW.

Q: How do we give and make sure our money gets to the right place and receives matching funds?
A: We’ve set up two ways to donate. You can donate directly to a 501c3 organization online at or by mailing to Safe Water Team, PO Box 287, Lowell, MI 49331, making sure that “ACDLSM Haiti Water,” or “Lay Speaker Haiti Water” in the online instructions or on the memo line of the check. You organization can also consolidate donations and forward a single check.For those who would rather donate to a United Methodist Organization and know that the donations will be properly transmitted, we have set up an account through the Missouri Conference Office of Creative Ministry. You can donate online at Be sure to include “ACDLSM Haiti Water” or “Lay Speaker Haiti Water” in the “instructions to seller.” Checks can be mailed to Office of Creative Ministries, 3009 David Drive Columbia, MO 65202. Again, include “ACDLSM Haiti Water” or “Lay Speaker Haiti Water” on the memo line.

Q: How do I find out more?
A: Go to and read some of the documentation. A great place to start may be the handbook, and Qs and As, And for more background on the program, see

Fundraising Ideas--Safe Water for Haiti

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, he has sent me to proclaim release to the captives… ”

Few things provide release to the captives like the availability of clean, safe water. The leadership of the Association of Conference Directors of Lay Speaking Ministries (ACDLSM) has signed a Letter of Intent that can obtain matching funds for all donations made by July 1, 2011 up to $50,000. The total would provide clean, safe water for up to 10,000 people for the next 10 years. We can all become part of the solution to a crisis in Haiti and beyond. Set a conference goal of $3,000 now. Have every district set a goal of $1,000. Below are some great fundraising ideas. Select three or more that you can start on right away.

As lay speakers we are called to equip United Methodist for all facets of lay ministry. For this time, the leadership of your Association (ACDLSM) is called to equip the lay speakers and the church to a ministry of Safe Water for Haiti and Haitians. During the past six months, the cholera epidemic as infected over 120,000 and hospitalized 70,000. Fortunately deaths have been under 1,500. But within a short time, the impact of waterborne diseases will exceed the human suffering of the earthquake itself. And as long as people use dirty water, cholera and other debilitating waterborne diseases will not go away. These are Christ’s people. These are the poorest of the poor in the western hemisphere. A million of them remain in tents. The Spirit of the Lord is upon us. We are called.

And we are calling and equipping you to respond. At the ACDLSM Convocation this year, three of our learning sessions focused on lay speakers and lay speaker training sessions to be in mission. We also invited a representative of Safe Water Team who introduced us to an elegant, affordable, available solution. (Click here for details, use it to prepare yourselves). It is the Hydraid Bio Sand Water Filter. It has no moving parts, requires no power, is transportable and costs less than $100.00 shipped and installed. It is highly effective and sustainable for 10 years or more.

A Letter of Intent (LOI) has been signed that has as a goal ACDLSM raising $50,000 and the Safe Water Team providing matching funds by July 1, 2011. That’s $100,000. That’s huge, but easily doable. It’s called the power of connection. If 40 of the 58 contiguous conferences participate, that is $1200 per conference, assuming 8 districts, 800 churches and 800 lay speakers a conference (all round numbers), that’s $150 a district or $1.50 a church or $1.50 a lay speaker. That is the power of connection! (We can only fail by leaving it to the other girl or guy.)

Here are some ideas and easy goals for raising funds in your conference or district or church or lay speaking classes. Remember we are equipping our lay speakers to call the churches to ministry. The goals listed are easily achievable. Our experience is that people want to give. The first presentation was to a congregation of 100 that gave a spontaneous (they did not even know donations were going to be requested) of over $4000. A congregation of 28 donated $1400. A hastily prepared church auction netted $6200. Lay Speakers simply need to be equipped with information and some good fundraising ideas.

1. Have a special offering at the Annual Conference. $15,000. Talk to your Lay Leader about making Hydraid BioSand Water Filters a part of the laity presentation coordinate a special offering with your director of connectional ministries. At your booth at the Annual Conference make water a part of it so members are educated before the offering. Act now, Annual Conference planning is underway.
2. Teach the LS Lead Missions Course to 15 students (email if you do not have the course DVD). Our experience is that lay speakers will not be able to wait to talk to their congregations and will receive substantial spontaneous donations. $15,000
3. Find a Conference Champion. Ministry does not happen nor persist without a champion. Anyone who has been to Haiti or on a VIM trip will be an advocate. Buy them a Hydraid BioSand Water Filter Demonstrator ( or 616-254-4114) and turn them loose. $10,000
4. Find District Champions. $10,000. (Note, a powerpoint presentation you can build on is available.
5. Speak at Rotary Clubs. Many of Lay Speakers are Rotarians. Rotary International is passionate about water and many of these safe water programs were founded and supported by Rotary organizations. A five minute talk at a Rotary Club in December raised $4000. And an Interact Club in California (High Schoolers) raised $50,000 in 2010. Make it known that there are matching funds and it’s a no-brainer. Two Rotary Club presentations should easily net $5000.
6. Make the ministry of Safe Water part of every Lay Speaking Ministries class in your conference this spring. As an extra task, ask each participant to make a presentation (tell the story, that’s what we do best) to their congregations or a small group within their church to raise awareness of the safe water crisis. Solicit fund raising ideas from each group. Act. Assuming 15 students per class, you do the math; it could be great.
7. Each lay speaker (say 300 from a conference) buy one-tenth of a $34 Hydraid Bio Sand Filter. $1,000.
8. Have lay speakers at each church (say 100 churches in your conference) ask for a second offering for Haiti Safe Water. $1,000.
9. Encourage the UMW in each of 100 congregations to do an area study on Haiti, and to raise congregational awareness. $1000 or more.
10. Have Lay Speakers talk to the public school teachers in their congregations about speaking about the problems of Children in Haiti. Invest in a Hydraid Demonstrator ($58 shipped) and use it as a piggy bank for two weeks in a school. Each school will raise $250.
11. Lay Speakers talk to Scouting Organizations sponsored by your churches about doing a fund raiser in the community malls to raise awareness and collect donations. $500.

We recommend that every conference should set a goal of $3,000 to assure levels of giving will capture every dollar of matching funds. Be intentional. Remember, the deadline is July 1, 2011. Let the oppressed go free!

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?