This year, we invite you to go deeper—to explore the transformative power of water, for life, in Jesus’ name. We believe that going deeper as one diverse body of Christ empowers us all to thrive, unite, and accelerate Kingdom transformation.
In fiscal year 2023 (FY23), we embarked on a strategic plan called Overflow 25, which will guide us from fiscal year 2023 to fiscal year 2025. This plan aligns with our goal of deepening engagement between supporters and communities by connecting through relational experiences. We invite you to join us in this journey of mutual transformation through education, stories, and experiences.
We also invite you to explore the impact of your generosity. From empowering communities to thrive to equipping healthcare facilities with sanitation and hygiene skills and deepening partnerships around the world, your support has made a tangible difference. You will also discover stories of unity and collaboration as we build connections across borders. Together, we are co-laboring with the Church, furthering the Kingdom of God.
And finally, you will witness the power of supporters like you who strive to ensure safe water for all. From marathons that span continents to biking challenges and community galas, your dedication knows no bounds. Your support accelerates our mission and propels us toward a future where safe water is a reality for everyone.
As you read through these stories of hope and transformation, we encourage you to keep engaging, connecting, and inviting others into the grand narrative of God’s redemptive story for creation. Your expressions of love and commitment have changed lives, communities, and regions around the world. Together, we will continue to make a lasting impact as we go deeper in our journey to bring water, for life, in Jesus’ name with our neighbors in need.
Thank you for your unwavering support and partnership!
Benta, a 45-year-old resident of Bur Kamach, Kenya, is overjoyed at the transformation safe water and living water brought to her community. Women and girls in Benta’s community used to wake up at 3 a.m. to collect water from a dam five kilometers away. During the dry season, they walked six additional kilometers to gather water from a distant river.
Benta said, “The long walks were not safe for us, the constant back pains were unbearable, and the pain of seeing your children miss school was the worst. Women lived in bitterness, especially me.”
Now, water is associated with renewal and rest. Children are back in school full-time. Women have more time to manage their households or earn an income. They even sit on the steps of the new hand pump and talk with their neighbors. Benta said, “If this is not God [at work], then I don’t know what it is. You just don’t know the relief this new well has given us. We have no more back pain, no more long walks in the dark, no more diarrhea, no more bitterness. We are just happy!”
Efraín is an inmate and the pastor of the church inside of Choluteca Correctional Center in Honduras. He said, “A septic tank was built very close to our water source, which made the water contaminated and unsuitable for use and drinking. It has been difficult to get support for the correctional center because many people have stopped seeing us as human beings. They don’t understand that we are people who have made mistakes. They think we have no right to God’s forgiveness and that is why they excluded us. What many ignore is that God can change and edify people. He gives His help to all those who have faith in Him.”
Pastor Efraín reached out to other churches nearby for help, and one of those churches connected him with Living Water. “God opened the door and gave us the opportunity to have safe water. Thanks to Living Water Honduras, we were also able to receive many important messages from the workshops they provided us. They not only provided a well but edified our church and shared the Gospel.
“The entire prison is grateful to Living Water. We hope you all can continue going to the isolated and excluded communities as you are the channel of God’s blessing to reach people in need. Thank you for not just seeing a jail, but people in need and giving us that helping hand.”
As the headmaster of a local school in South Asia, Andrew felt helpless as he watched his students suffer through the water crisis. He said, “Their sufferings made me question the existence of God. If there is a God, why are we suffering like this without water for so many years? I did not have an answer.”
Everything changed for Andrew when Living Water brought safe water to the school. He said, “Everyone, including myself, thought that we would not get water here. Many landowners have drilled boreholes near our compound, one was drilled at 700 feet with no sign of water. The Living Water team prayed to find water. I wondered how this Christian prayer would make a difference, but we were all shocked when they found water at 60 feet!”
Safe water opened a door for Andrew and the rest of the community to accept the living water of Christ. “That short Christian prayer stirred something in my heart. That day we learned that God always loved us even when we thought He did not. They told the children stories from the Bible. I started believing in the true living God!”
Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church (MDPC) has partnered with Living Water International for over 15 years. The church’s Global Outreach Director, Kelsi McCormack said, “We have many church members that are invested and passionate about the work Living Water does.”
MDPC has taken multiple Living Water Trips and participated in Team Living Water. Every year, the church collects special offerings and donations for Living Water during their Palm Sunday service, Christian Mission Market, and VBS Summer Celebration.
Kelsi said, “One of my goals is to get our church members excited about what God is doing around the world and about the opportunity we have to participate in His call to make disciples of all nations. In my opinion, nothing gets people more excited or impacts their hearts quite like going to the ends of the earth and witnessing and participating in the work God is doing.”
In many parts of the world, specific groups of people needlessly suffer because of their race, tribe, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, physical or mental ability, language, or immigration status. Many times, these groups are unintentionally—or, in some cases, purposefully—excluded from valuable resources like information, social services, and even safe water.
In the Bible, Jesus consistently showed compassion and concern for marginalized groups. He emphasized that true righteousness requires that we care for the vulnerable and extend love and acceptance to those who were considered unworthy by society. As Christians, we are called to share the love of Jesus with everyone, especially those who are marginalized. We believe that our mission of pursuing the physical, spiritual, and social flourishing of all people cannot be accomplished without specifically seeking and listening to these often-silenced voices.
Reaching overlooked and excluded groups looks different in each of the 17 countries in which we work. Therefore, it’s imperative that our staff listens to the concerns of local people and considers community contexts when planning new projects. Take, for example, our work in Peru and Burkina Faso.
In Peru, approximately 59 percent of the country is covered in lush rainforests. This makes it difficult for infrastructure to reach remote communities like Puerto Caimito.
Tilco Huaquinero is a 43-year-old fisherman in the Puerto Caimito community. He and his neighbors felt abandoned by their local authorities. He said,
“After my cousin died from parasites he consumed from the river, I said to myself, ‘Why doesn’t our government support us? Why do they forget about us?’ The new well is a change and blessing for us. Our state and our local authorities have always been marginalized and forgotten. I thank God for the support of our Christian brothers who brought us safe water. We will be better, healthier people.”
By engaging with the indigenous population in Puerto Caimito, we’re able to tailor our approach to best serve their needs. For these residents, gaining access to safe water in the middle of their community means they’ll be healthier and won’t have to take long and dangerous boat trips to reach faraway health clinics.
In Burkina Faso, our programmatic work supports internally displaced people fleeing civil war, many of whom left their homes with only the clothes on their backs. One woman shared her tragic story: “They came and killed my husband and children. I fled to save my life. Some of my children were left behind, and I don’t know where they are now.”
The Balinga community members then walked hundreds of miles on foot until reaching the relative safety of a United Nations refugee camp. Living Water recognized the overwhelming need for additional safe water sources at the refugee camp. Now, the most vulnerable group of the Balinga people, the children, will have some sense of normalcy while attending the camp’s school. Although life will never be the same for the refugees, they can now begin to envision a future that isn’t marred by violence, need, or thirst.
By prioritizing inclusivity, we can create a world where no one is left behind, and where every individual can enjoy access to safe water and dignified sanitation facilities. Reaching the overlooked and excluded is not only paramount to having efficient water systems, but is also what Jesus has called us to do.
Our goal for Living Water Trips is to allow participants a chance to see the water crisis firsthand. As you come alongside our in-country staff and support them in the ongoing work they are doing, you will learn about the global water crisis and better understand your role in ending it, while caring for the physical and spiritual well-being of our global neighbors. We hope that by participating in a Trip, you come home as a life-long champion for Living Water.
In 2022, we began the process of enhancing Trips to facilitate a more mutually transformative, cross-cultural experience. We asked Jordan Griebner, Living Water’s Director of Trips and Affinity Groups, to provide insight on upcoming changes for the Trips experience.
How are Living Water Trips evolving?
Since Living Water Trips began in 2001, the experience has remained mostly the same. Back then, the majority of our work included drilling boreholes and installing handpumps. However, over the past 20 years, we have made significant advances in our programmatic approach by integrating technological solutions to maximize our impact. Our desire is to use the best technology available to serve each community in the way that best meets their unique needs. This means every Trip will include a WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) intervention, but that intervention could involve drilling, expanding an existing water point through a piped system, repairing existing water points, and more. Teams may also participate by leading hygiene activities, meeting local church leaders, facilitating a Bible storying workshop, or working with a new community to establish a water committee.
What are you most excited about for the new direction of Trips?
I love that the new flexibility with Trips allows our field staff to choose the best solution for each community. This requires participants to have an “it’s not about me” mindset and a willingness to serve in whatever capacity might be needed that week. It can be instinctual to be focused on what we do on a Trip, but sometimes, simply our presence and willingness to just be with a community is even more powerful. This new direction takes the emphasis away from completing a project and places it on coming alongside the community in a powerful way.
How does Living Water Trips convey our vision of partnership with the Church?
Living Water Trips provide a discipleship experience for US churches in a tangible expression of faith. We believe Trips offer an opportunity for teams to deepen their understanding of the global body of Christ as they fellowship with believers around the world. Living Water works in and through the local church, so Trip participants will be able to meet local pastors and understand how we are all working together to fulfill the Great Commission.
What is something that Trip participants should keep in mind before embarking on a Trip?
Having the right attitude is the best way to ensure a good Trip experience. When you embark on your Trip with a positive attitude of willingness, you’ll be set up for success. God, in His perfect sovereignty, knows what the community needs and will be faithful to provide. Know that God has been working in the community long before your Trip and will continue to be present after you leave.
What can Trip participants expect to learn on a Living Water Trip?
Our hope is that you learn about God in a new or deeper way. As you engage with others and see His hand at work in their lives, we hope you will be transformed spiritually through this experience.
You will also learn about the impact the water crisis has on our global neighbors’ everyday life. As you work with our staff, you’ll learn how we build thriving communities through sustainable water access, sanitation and hygiene programs to ultimately end the water crisis!
We hope you take what you’ve learned and experienced back home to become a lifelong champion for safe water. Share about your Trip with others, join our monthly giving program, creatively fundraise, or chat with our staff to continue the journey with Living Water beyond the seven days of your Trip.
Pastor Doug Stolhand and his wife Debbie are the owners of Woodland Creek Honey Farms in Olympia, Washington. Since 2010, the couple has dabbled in beekeeping as a fun pastime. They’ve kept and cultivated hive after hive, harvesting the bees’ honey and selling it to their friends and family. Beekeeping was just a hobby for Doug and Debbie until they realized the money from their honey sales could make a difference.
As a long-time pastor, Doug is passionate about reaching the overlooked and excluded through evangelism. While Director of Short-Term Missions with Evangelical Free Church of America, Doug and Debbie spent years traveling internationally, witnessing the devastating effects of the water crisis. When several of their congregation members set out to take a Trip with Living Water, Doug and Debbie felt especially called to donate to their Trip funds.
Doug put it plainly, “I believe the Lord laid it on our hearts to use money from our honey sales to send people to [proclaim the gospel] with Living Water, so we did.”
As the couple’s honey business grew, so did their impact. Doug started teaching workshops, speaking at local events, and eventually earned the Master Beekeeper distinction from the University of Montana, all while raising awareness about the water crisis. Doug and Debbie activated their mission to use their honey business for good by pledging 40 percent of their profits directly to Living Water International.
For the Stolhands, beekeeping and their honey business has become an integral way they share their faith with others. To Doug and Debbie, a partnership with Living Water was a natural fit. Doug shared, “We are passionate about the gospel, and we also have a strong desire to raise awareness of the need for safe water around the world. We also believe in building bridges for the gospel through relationships. That’s why we’re committed to giving to Living Water International.”