by Kathy Marson
Spokane, Wash., April 1, 2014 -
Water For Life began their 2014 season in Guatemala with 23 volunteers and so far have dug 17 new wells. The team began arriving in December 2013 to service engines and replace tires and vehicle batteries and to ready the apartments for the work ahead.
In Las Lajas, a well was drilled for the N. Guatemala Mission of Seventh-day Adventists. In March the mission held their first convocation with more than 800 people in attendance. At another location, the Santa Elena school now has a well with 60 gallons per minute of water. The municipality there will move ahead with a reservoir and piping. Three and a half hours away, the Ruxraha well was dug. Two men had died trying to dig a well there. The WFL team member, Dee Rutledge, had heard of this need through a physician who had been in Ruxruha through Hands of Hope. Another well brought 42 orphans clean water, creating synergy and camaraderie among the WFL team and the local neighborhood. These are just a few of the well drilling stories.
Each year as WFL heads to Guatemala to drill wells, they take volunteers with them. This year there were two Bible workers in the area doing pre-meeting Bible work. Then Brenna Rittenour, one of the WFL team members presented health presentations with the meetings that were held by Adrianne Morrill. Thirteen precious souls took their stand in baptism and others will follow when they complete more Bible studies.
The last week of February WFL dental team members provided tooth extractions in neighboring villages. Many villagers have broken or abscessed teeth and they’re happy to have them pulled. On the last day of dental work, the dentist was able to help a little three-year-year old boy who was tongue-tied. The dentist was able to clip the tissue holding his tongue, which enabled him to speak clearly. The boy stuck out his tongue for the first time that day. The Lord doubled the dental work by providing Dr. Steve Barickman and a second dentist, Ken Trefs, who happened to be visiting Los Piños where he and his wife were doing various painting projects.
The ministry leader, Gary Bartholomew, says, “With the many wells drilled this year, we now have a critical need for more Bible workers, evangelistic efforts and more church buildings? Several years ago the Water For Life team drilled a well in Tanhoc and now there is a large Catholic church being built on the hill. The same situation is in Santa Crux.” Bartholomew says, “We’ve done no evangelistic work in either of those villages.” According to Bartholomew, when a well is drilled a relationship is established with the villagers that is never lost.
Perhaps there is someone out there who can turn this around. With 17 new wells, there is a need for Bible instruction in these 17 areas. This happens only with workers. Jesus has some words of advice for situations like this in Matthew 9:36-38. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
Water for Life began through the Bartholomew family from Spokane Countryside Church. Gary and Angie had been volunteering on small projects at the ICC orphanage and went on a mission trip to Guatemala. Seeing the critical need for safe water, the ministry "Water for Life" began through the well-drilling expertise of the Bartholomew brothers.