For this month's CONNECTION:
Sharing stories of God’s faithfulness and hearing testimonies of his love at work within our world can often move others to look more closely at their own stories. How has God been challenging you to deepen your faith and care for our thirsty world?
At Living Water, stories mean a lot to us and are shared often. Our President and CEO, Mike Mantel, recently published a book, Thirsting for Living Water, about the power of sharing our stories. It’s in the telling of his story and the others in the book, that the testimony of answered prayers and redeemed experiences propels each of us forward with encouragement and hope. These testimonies of God’s redeeming work in our shared experiences encourage others, inspire growth and faith, and ultimately, transform lives with the living water that only Christ can offer!
Dive into a few stories with us. Be inspired and take time to discover your own story through the reflections and prayers that follow each story.
The Story of Paper for Water
“[Our] Grandpa George wasn’t quite so successful with church plants, but he planted something just as important, apple orchards. The orchards helped the Korean people survive the brutal years after the Korean War. My grandfather was intimately concerned about feeding the needy and providing them with the Word, and I’m sure that his life work of horticulture and evangelism instilled in my dad the importance of feeding and watering His sheep.
Isabelle and I had never been to Korea before, so we had no idea what to expect. After shopping for paper and visiting some friends, we left Seoul and traveled down the peninsula towards Japan to visit some of the churches my Great-Grandpa James had planted. And oh my gosh! We were treated like royalty! It was as if we had started the churches ourselves.
My mom made a comment that struck a chord with me, “Your grandparents did so much that you are now receiving the blessings of that work. How can you live your life so that your grandchildren will receive that kind of welcome? How can you make the kind of impact that reaches generations?” – Katherine Adams, Founder of Paper for Water, partner organization of Living Water International
Reflect: Consider the questions that Katherine and Isabelle’s mother asked of them: “How can you live your life so that your grandchildren will receive that kind of welcome? How can you make the kind of impact that reaches generations?”
Journal: Write down your answers.
Pray: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16, NIV
The Story of Edson
“The first time I found God at work in my life, I was six years old. My mom and dad were good people, but they struggled with alcoholism. Their drinking led to fights, which led to more drinking, which led to a divorce. My father had always been active in his church. He had a powerful encounter with Christ at that retreat. He quit drinking. He became a more loving father. Though he worked two jobs, he still found time to play with me and my brother and take us to his new church each Sunday. I saw God powerfully at work in my father’s life, so I decided to live with him. My dad became a pastor. He was my hero. He planted churches [in Guatemala] in Quetzaltenango, Nueva Concepcion, and Villanueva before he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Six weeks later he needed full-time care. I fed him, changed him, took him to appointments, and 8 weeks later he died in my arms.
Today I help churches develop an integral vision by getting people together, telling Bible stories, and starting conversations. I believe that God has brought us together to perform a miracle through our unity. Every well we drill together is a symbol of God’s faithfulness. The Bible says that we are all one body in Christ. The thirst of our people here in Guatemala is your thirst too.” – Edson, Church & Community Mobilizer, Living Water International Guatemala
Reflect: Consider which decisions that your loved ones have made that have led you to where you are today.
Journal: Write down the connections along the way and note the impact—positive and negative. How can those things help you to grow stronger in your spiritual journey?
Pray: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11, NIV
The Story of Tromeso, Ghana
An unreliable well which frequently broke down and a small stream that dried up during the harsh, dry seasons were once the gathering places for the women of the Tromeso community to share their stories. Stories of their pain as they struggled to walk the 3 miles it took to collect dirty water, stories of their fear as their children once again became sick with typhoid and dysentery, and stories of their anxiety for the coming dry season when water would become even more scarce – causing people to gather water from gutters and ditches near surrounding roads. These were all stories of the Tromeso water crisis.
Now that clean, safe drinking water has returned to Tromeso, different kinds of stories are shared today. “…the community spirit was that of gloom, but since the [well] rehabilitation, the normal community spirit of happiness and hope has been restored and felt by all…”, shares Cynthia, a resident of Tromeso.
Cynthia and the 1,500 people of Tromeso, Ghana are now witnesses to the transformation that occurs through a simple, yet life-giving resource like water. Overcoming unimaginable circumstances, their stories have a profound purpose for those around the world to unite and ensure others like Cynthia can begin to change their stories from ones of fear to ones of hope.
Reflect: Consider a time in your life when you experienced pain, fear, and anxiety for the future.
Journal: Write down the ways that God was working within your life through those challenging circumstances. What next phase of life was he preparing for you?
Pray: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” – Isaiah 41:10, NIV
CONTINUE YOUR DISCOVERY
Receive exclusive access to the introduction to Mike Mantel’s first book, Thirsting for Living Water: Finding Adventure and Purpose in God’s Redemption Story.