Our last post on South Sudan is difficult to even put into words. Our focus with this entry is to show you all the work being done in South Sudan regarding fresh water well digging. Water Harvest International is a branch of East African Ministries that provides both spiritual and physical strengthening to villages in Kajo Keji, Juba, North Uganda, and beyond. WHI’s mission is simple and clear: offer people the joy of drinking up both clean water and the goodness of God in the Gospel.
The pictures below will show you a myriad of things that happened during our last few days in South Sudan. The WHI compound (think clean huts, a shower, a toilet, a place to cook and eat, and some time to connect with the team) took us in for a few days before we headed out to shoot in “the field” (think tents, no toilet, bathing out of water basins, and eating whatever the locals happen cook up). Those few days were such a blessing to us as we had been exhausted from shooting the week before! We got to wash our clothes and line-dry them in the African sun. We were taken to the local church on Sunday and heard an amazing sermon by Pastor David (translated in both English and the local language) The team cooked up some yummy local chicken and chapati bread, brewed up some amazing African coffee, offered us cold water bottles (a true treat in Africa!), and even taught us how to play Settlers of Catan (with which we’ve become overwhelmingly obsessed)! It was a sweet little respite in the insanity of our trip.
Keep scrolling to find what we captured the the final days, and grab a tissue just to prepare. We were able to document staff photos of each member of the drill crew–from the managers all the way to the well-diggers. And we actually got to watch a drill session do what it does best: find water underground! The local villagers gathered ’round in anticipation, and after hours of digging, the well spouted up with fresh, clean, cold water. I’ve truly never seen a celebration like I saw that day. Hands were in the air, water was spewing everywhere, tribal songs were being chanted and sung, people were thanking and worshipping God, and kids were playing in the water. It laid me very low. Why don’t I thank the Lord for the necessities of life I can just turn on with a faucet? Why do I act entitled to everything when these people show more of a grateful heart in one hour than I probably have in a decade?
Afterward each well is dug, the team educates the community on sanitation practices and how to take care of their well. Everyone knows what learning can do for a local community, and how simply knowing how to deal with water can change a society. But when you see a woman read through it all for the first time and look up at you with tears in her eyes, it’s a completely different experience. It changes her. It changes the future of her children. It changes you.
Ladies and gents, welcome to what true joy looks like. Sit in the images a while. Let them wash over you. And let them create a heart in you and I that is thankful for the blessings we don’t deserve.
“Like cold water is to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25
So the people went to the place called Be-er, called “Well.” This is the well of which the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together, so that I may give them water.” Numbers 21:16
“The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” Isaiah 58:11
*We truly can’t thank the team enough for their support and hospitality. We miss you guys! Stephen, Esther, Elizabeth, Grant, & Brian.*