Iglesia Eben Ezer, Aldea San Jose, San Carlos Sija, Guatemala
In January of 2012, the Water Team collectively agreed to apply for 501(c)3 non-profit status and our water team was officially named Agua Viva International, Inc. As God continued to bless our efforts, funds were quickly collected to finance two trips in 2012. Providing two installations in one year presented several challenges. As all of the members on our Team were volunteers, a substantial investment of vacation time was committed. Both installations were committed to the summer and there were only two weeks between the two trips. This required a greater degree of planning and organization.
While the Water Team was at Huerto de Getsemani in the summer of 2011, we made our first contact with Iglesia Eben Ezer. Details of the covenant were discussed but the agreement was not ready for signature. The primary difficulty was that the local government was not willing to allow Iglesia Eben Ezer to take ownership of the local water for purification, bottling, and sale. After considerable negotiations with the locals, a separate covenant was signed between the local government and Iglesia Eben Ezer. This cle5ared the way for Agua Viva International to complete our covenant. In February of 2012, Mario Mejia, our friend and translator in Guatemala, contacted Iglesia Eben Ezer and the covenant was immediately signed and Agua Viva International provided the necessary funds for Eben Ezer to begin water room construction.
Upon arrival in June of 2012, the water room was constructed and ready for the installation. Pastor Bonifacio Rodas had eight Adult Educators ready to go and six Operators. The entire team was very pleased when Didier and Franklin showed up to assist with the installation. Progress was swift and the installation was nearing completion after only three days.
One of the many great blessings of the trip was that Raquel Poz Diaz and her friend Wendy came to provide dental education, hygiene, and fluoridations. As tooth decay is an on-going concern among children, this was very well received and loads of fun for the children. Plus, the water team had one of the best groups of translators led by Isaac and Laura. These two components added a wonderful element of warmth.
While in Guatemala providing this installation, the Team took this opportunity to visit our first two installations and we were all very pleased to hear that 100 children from Colegio Mark were planning to join us for the celebration at Iglesia Eben Ezer. An entire bus load of children showed up demonstrating Colegio Mark’s determination to reach out beyond the walls of their school in the name of Jesus Christ and Clean Water. Agua Viva believes that we have played an important part in this change of paradigm by encouraging our partners to assist with other installations in-country and out-of-country.
On the last day in Guatemala, the Team travelled to Casa Angelina. This is an orphanage with several hundred children and they were are prime candidate for a water installation. After several hours of negotiations, a covenant was completed on-the-spot and executed. The Team agreed to return in March of 2013, completing one of our prime objectives: Finding a new site for our next trip.
Another great blessing of our trip was that an 11 year old girl, Kortney Velasquez, prepared beautiful banners for the children to hand-paint during the celebration. Kortney worked many yours on these tapestries and it provides each child an opportunity to be a part of this great work.
The trip was a huge success and the entire team returned with joy in our hearts knowing that we had forged so many new friendships at Iglesia Eben Ezer.
Installation Number Four: Iglesia Promesa Divina, Colta Monjas, Chimborazo, Ecuador
The first bottles of water produced after much effort at Promesa Divina, Ecudaor.
The first bottles of water produced after much effort at Promesa Divina, Ecudaor.
In the summer of 2011, while returning from a business trip, Jim Allen was randomly seated on an airplane next to a young lady from Ecuador. Her name was Maritza Yanez. Out of a short conversation, a new and exciting opportunity arose for Agua Viva International in Ecuador. As it turned out, Ms. Yanez was providing research on water filtration systems at KU and she asked if Agua Viva would be willing to “help the poor people of her country?” Ms. Yanez helped Agua Viva identify a community in Chimborazo and the Water Team arranged a special trip in the fall of 2011.
During the trip, the Water Team executed a complete Covenant with Pastor Pedro Fernandez and the elders of Iglesia Promesa Divina. New challenges were confronted. One big challenge was that water samples indicated excessive levels of iron and the turbidity (cloudiness) of the water was very noticeable. After extensive consultation with LWftW, it was decided that a sand filter would be required to clean up the water. Agua Viva had not, to date, designed or installed a sand filter system.
Another big challenge for this trip was that Agua Viva did not have contacts in Ecuador for translators, bus drivers, translators, and lodging. With the help of Ms. Yanez, the Team was able to round-up the necessary arrangements for the trip and the date was set for July 14. This was just two weeks after our return from Guatemala!
Lastly, the Team was very concerned about the extraordinary altitude. Chimborazo was situated at about 12,500 feet elevation. The entire team noticed the effects of the altitude during our site investigation in September of 2011. Therefore, the Team made an appeal to the Men of Colonial mountain climbers for a team of men experienced at altitude. The MOC graciously responded and two experienced climbers, Dale Bain and Daryl Taylor, joined our Team.
On July 22, 2012, the Team successfully completed our LWftW Water Purification System and Sand Filter. A few serious problems with turbidity were thankfully “cleared up” the night before the celebration after the Team worked until midnight. God is good!
The entire Team was blessed with help from George and Sheree Wuertz, Melanie Swift, and their family. The Wuertz are missionaries in Cuenca, Ecuador, and they are supported, at least in part, by Colonial Presbyterian Church. I am sure the Team would agree that we would not have completed our installation on time without their help.
Two other big successes were encountered. First, the Team was allowed to speak to both universities; ESPOCH and UNACH. As a result, Agua Viva is considering partnering with ESPOCH to produce a curriculum at the University. Plus, Jim Allen was permitted to lecture at UNOCH regarding the importance of Water Purification and Gender Empowerment.
The second big success was that Agua Viva was able to identify two new possible partners for a new installation. One possibility was discovered at Iglesia Evangelica Luminaria de Dios, Gompuene San Vicente, Samblas, Flores, Riobamba. We met primarily with Angel Morocho , the secretary of the church, and several others members of the church. A covenant is being prepared and we hope to return in October of 2013 to this needy community.
The other opportunity was discovered in Iglesia Evangelica Nueva Vida, San Vicente de Jipangoto, Palletonga. This small community is very excited about working with us. We met with the President of the church, Moises Vimos Yosaca, the Mayor of the town, Alberto Vimos Josera, and four other machete-toting members. They explained that Pastor Fernandez was the part-time pastor for this church, too.
Following God’s lead, Agua Viva has been showered with His blessings and opportunities abound as we continue to seek His will.
Our translators were wonderful. Three of them, Ashley Studholme, Orrin Tiberi, and Krista Kinnard were Peace Corp volunteers and we believe that Ashley and Orrin will be able to join us next year for our second installation in Ecuador.
We were also very pleased with our bus driver, Diego Orozco “Beto”. He was a very safe driver and quickly became a part of our team.
During our first trip, the Team stopped alongside a mountainous road to visit with a young girl on a burrow. We couldn’t understand her name but we took two wonderful photos that wound up on our website. During our install trip, we asked Pastor Fernandez if he knew the young lady in the photo. “Of course!”, he explained, “and that is my house in the background of the photograph. Pastor Fernandez then invited the young lady to our celebration. Her name is Ana Llagsha Potojalo. The Team felt it was a great blessing to meet and know this young girl and we gave her a Spanish bible and a “care package”.
Thank you, Jesus, for knowing the desires of our heart.