How many people does it take to change 70,000 lives, and counting? Bible study members from the Triumphant Love Lutheran Church (TLLC) in Austin, TX have arrived at an impressive answer: just 40. All it took was hearing about the poverty, hunger and water crisis in rural Ethiopia, and the rest took off from there.
When the TLLC Bible Study class learned that 50% of Ethiopians are suffering from water-born disease, they were shocked, saddened and determined to do something about it. However, it was inspiring when A Glimmer of Hope told them it costs $14 per person to fund a hand dug well that provides clean water to more than 250 people - a small price to pay for the gift of life.
It didn’t take long for their dedication to pay off. In less than 4 months, TLLC raised enough to build 12 water wells, and today the number of wells has risen to 22. When TLLC member, Dick Moeller, saw what a difference one church could make, he created Water 2 Thrive (W2T), a non-profit organization dedicated to building wells in rural Africa.
Today, W2T has the support of more than 250 churches in eight states, along with several other schools, clubs, organizations and individuals. Altogether, W2T has funded more than 135 water projects across Ethiopia. W2T chose to partner with A Glimmer of Hope because it implements water and sanitation projects in Ethiopia at no cost to their donors. Glimmer’s office in Ethiopia oversees operations and provides timely progress updates. Glimmer’s on-site involvement has helped their ability to do more work faster.
As word got around, many other Texas churches have followed TLLC's lead in supporting W2T and have made an active commitment to fight the world water crisis. For example, St. Paul Lutheran Church Day School in Brenham collected 400 lbs of coins totaling $3,000. St. Philips Lutheran Church in Houston gave enough money to build two wells despite facing the impact of Hurricane Ike. First English Lutheran Church in Victoria promoted the causes with multiple prayer services along with building three water wells. One of W2T’s most ambitious undertakings is complete in the Ethiopian community of Gadamba, where those living there for the first time will have access to clean water from a deep bore hole well that is more than 500 feet deep. With strong faith, a small group of people with a big purpose was able to transform 70,000 lives. Dirty drinking water is a widespread problem in rural Ethiopia, and no person should be without such a simple yet essential necessity.