We speak regularly about changing the world one village at a time. Set Free is proud that we are able to accomplish this with indigenous partnerships. We reference the job and education opportunities that open up when time is not consumed by the need to collect water. And we proudly share about the lives that are changed through faith in Jesus, the churches that are planted, and the hearts that believe that they are deeply loved by the one true God. But what about changes that aren’t immediately seen? What about the ones that take a little longer to develop?
The Power of Partnerships
The saying goes – Give a man a fish; you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish; you feed him for life. This theory has formed the foundation of how Set Free operates. We form partnerships within the countries we work in. This both increases the local economy and teaches job skills to those in need of an opportunity. It’s also the reason behind why we don’t regularly plan mission trips – we don’t want to be seen as the Americans who’ve come to save the day.
But we also recognize that in order to teach a man to fish, a man has to have the right equipment. People don’t have the tools needed in villages where we work. They are hungry and struggle with disease. They are simply trying to make it to the next day. So we do need provide some immediate help. We drill water wells to solve their most immediate physical need. We give them a reason to hope by sharing the love of Christ. Sometimes that’s the end of the story. Previously Hindu villages in India become Christ villages. Children are able to go to school. Men are able to work and provide for their families. Women are able to care for the home. Life gets better – and that village is forever changed.
Summer Funding Struggles
But sometimes the story continues – and August 2016 is one these examples. Nonprofits around the country struggle during the summer with a decrease in donations. Families are out of school, on vacation, and giving goes down. Set Free is not immune from this phenomenon, and we were projecting to feel the cash flow pinch in August. We were unsure we would be able to drill our standard 12 Indian wells this month. But then we were surprised by a large donation that allowed us to afford 8 wells, and then God went to work. Here’s what happened:
• Our contracted teams had been running a surplus and had enough saved funds to drill 1 well.
• Our contracted driller himself decided to donate a well in honor of Roland’s birthday.
• The Sylom Pastors Association with Pastor Praveen, our Indian evangelical partners, donated the funds to cover the cost for a well.
• AND a group of girls rescued from slavery in combination with the Sylom Pastors Association and our sister organization, Set Free Alliance, now have good jobs have started donating some of their wages to continue to help others. There were enough donations to drill an additional well.
By the grace of God, Set Free will continue to drill 12 wells a month in India in 2016. And September might be the most rewarding month yet. We are proud of ability to supply a person’s immediate needs through the gift of clean water and the love of Christ. But we are especially proud that we are also teaching people to fish – and those new fishermen are starting to help others. Hallelujah!