Monday, September 14, 2009

Immediate Need for Water in a Kenyan Village

A friend of a friend shares a great story and an immediate need. Perhaps you or your church might be able to help some children in Kenya who are in desperate need of help. This is a long, but moving story.

Here's an e-mail I received late this afternoon from a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary in KY. For more information or to assist in this please contact Bill Goold @

Hello Scott Parrish,
This is Bill Goold at ATS in Wilmore. Moments ago I returned to my office and saw the red light blinking on the phone. I returned a call from my wife, Thelma, who had spoken with our dear friend, Kris Key. It certainly appears to me today is one of those days when God's voice is being heard by a number of His servants and we are all keyed in on the same need. Kris asked me to e-mail you with some information related to the on-going well project in Northern Kenya. I'm going to give you a pretty long story here, perhaps more than you asked for, but it may help you in your role in responding to the Spirit's leading as you sense it. Here goes!

As an ATS professor, I have many contacts with various international students. About three years ago I met and somehow truly bonded with a very mature, very Godly (not just superficially "spiritual", but truly Godly) man here who is a member of the Samburu (Sahm-boo-roo) tribe from Northern Kenya. His name is Michael Lolwerikoi (Loool wear ree koh eee).

Michael is about 43 years old, married to a wonderful wife named Christina. They are the parents of four children and have also adopted twins whose parents died. Christina and the children are in Kenya. Michael is currently in Kenya. I'm to pick him up at the Lexington airport on October 1. He has been home doing research on his Ph. D. (ATS) and will return to finish up his writing and expects to graduate in May.

Through Michael I became acquainted with his tribe, the Samburu people of Northern Kenya. Last fall I was given a sabbatical leave to go and live with these people and help produce the first Christian hymnal in their entire history. That hymnal is about to be published. But...what I did not know what that the hymnal project was God's way of opening the door to another great and critical need there, pure water!

Samburu people are pastoral people. Their entire lives depend upon cows and goats. They constantly move with where the grass currently is. There are about 250,000 Samburu. Theirs is one of 42 different tribes in Kenya. Each tribe has and speaks its own language. These folks are gentle, kind, hospitable folks who took me in, cared for me and captured my heart.

God just plopped me down right smack in the midst of the campus of a private school that is now in its sixth year. Because Samburu kids rarely have opportunity for formal, quality education, a very dedicated Christian couple, ANDREW AND PRISCILLA LANYASUNYA, felt a great burden from the Lord to begin a school for Samburu kids. That is where I stayed. They gave me a tiny room and I lived in the town of Maralal (Marr rah lal) for twelve weeks. Little did I know that God was beginning to do a miracle and I had no clue that it would begin through me.

While I was there, I found out that in five years, the school enrollment had grown to 850 kids, grades one through twelve. But I ALSO LEARNED THEY HAD NO WATER AT THE SCHOOL. ZIP! NONE! THERE WAS NO WELL. The local town "water works" was so feeble and broken down that AT BEST, WHEN IT EVEN WORKED, it could supple only 20% of the water needs of the entire town of 50,000.

I discovered that the kids at MARALAL CHRISTIAN ACADEMY did not have adequate water to drink (and when they did, it is not pure water), received one pail per week with which to do laundry, could not do a small sponge bath a couple of times a week and...80% OF THEM HAD NEVER, EVER ONCE, TAKEN A SHOWER. Many, many of the adults are able to bathe but once every two months or so. I would not believe this if I read it. The truth is, this is what I have seen.

Here is the real kicker for me. That was last fall! In the ten months since then, things have gone from bad to worse, to desperate. Northern Kenya has now missed the last four "rain periods," the windows of opportunity for rain. Their cattle are now dying, the kids are getting sick and very, very soon, death will come to many in this tribe.

Well, when I returned to the US and back my teaching at ATS, I had such a deep and heavy burden over their need for water at this school that I just could hardly bear it. I have never, ever found myself carrying such a burden and I have walked with the Lord for many years. Finally, I just prayed, "Lord...what should I do?" It was as though God said, "Bill, I want you ask Me and believe Me for the well that I want to drill at that school. If you will ask me, I will do it!"

Scott, I began to pray. To fast forward here, God ways I could not imagine, provided $24,000 for the well. In July (09), I returned to the school in Maralal. Through Living Water International (a truly great, Christian organization), we were able to drill a well on that campus and we now have water there. That is the good news. But the project is not completed. The well is drilled (280 feet deep). The water has been tested by the Kenyan government. The well will pump 4,000 liters per hour (about 1,000 gallons per hour). Unbelievably...the water is also 100% pure and can be drunk right out of the well...unheard of there. That is all good news.

Here is the problem. We need additional funds to now get a pump (submersible) down in the well, electricity to the pump, and storage tanks for the water after it is pumped up, out of the well.

Last Wednesday I spoke with Michael (the Samburu ATS student, still in Kenya). He has gotten three estimates for the amount it will take to complete the project and actually get the pure water out of the well and into the lives of the students at the school. Michael told me that as best as he can estimate it, the needed amount is around $12,000 US dollars. I said, "Michael, I don't have the money, but I'm praying daily that God will supply it. WHEN HE DOES, HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO INSTALL THE ELECTRICAL LINE, INSTALL THE PUMP AND GET THE WATER OUT OF THE WELL AND TO THE STUDENTS?" Michael said, "Bill, I believe we could do it within three days. All we need are the funds!"

Scott, here is the nitty gritty:
1) I have been working through a wonderful organization, based right here in Wilmore, called New Hope International Ministries "N-HIM." They are a not-for-profit organization, founded by a retired Asbury College professor.
2) Their address is: Box 49, Macklem Drive, Wilmore, KY 40390.
3) We have established a way in which NHIM can electronically transfer funds from their bank (here in Wilmore) to Kenya, then to a particular branch located in Maralal town, and then to a particular account in that bank which we have titled "Shalom Water Ministries of Kenya."
4) Michael Lolwerikoi can then access that account, write checks from it to any persons or companies doing work on the well. I have found Michael to be totally, completely trustworthy and fully accountable. He documents every transaction. Of all the Africans I have known and do know, He is the one most able to accomplish projects with total competency and integrity. I trust Michael fully.

If God does lead you folks to get involved, it will be for His glory. Water is life in Samburu land. It is not a luxury. It is life or death.

I give thanks to God for your interest and for anything you may be able to do for these good, needy, Samburu people, to His glory.

God bless you all and may He bless your work and ministry there at Trinity on the Hill.

In Him,

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