An outreach team sent from Port YWAM in March was able to use its short stay in Haiti to make a long-term impact in one village they visited. The team — part of January’s Justice Discipleship Training School in Kona — was able to build a much-needed water tank for the village of Tipelig and its 600 residents. Philipson Georges, who co-led the team with his wife, Kelsea, and Ikaika Aipia said the team’s project brought relief to what had been a dire situation in that village.
“The place we built the tank — that place, they didn’t have any source of water. They only had a river and the river is dirty all the time,” said Georges, 29, of Haiti. “We saw one well at the church that is always dirty. It’s very bad.”
Georges said it took less than two weeks of labor and $600 to build the 2,500-gallon tank. Among the beneficiaries of the tank will be children of a nearby elementary school. Georges said Tipelig could use still more tanks.
“Even if we were to build like three more tanks in that locality, it will still be a blessing to the community,” Georges said. “It’s amazing; we went to another location after we built the tank and a week later the pastor called us and told us people already started using the water. They are so happy and a line of people is taking the water now.”
Sophie Soares, of India, said that one of the most enjoyable aspects of the projects was the participation of locals.
“We had a lot of the community to join in the enjoyment,” said Soares, 18. “It is awesome to say that the kids of that school in that beautiful village now have safe drinking water.”
Soares said the work was challenging because the team built the tank entirely from scratch using old tools. She said the project resulted in a lot of backaches and blisters, but both she and Georges said the project was worth the pain.
“That was a blessing to know that you can go to Haiti and, in less than two weeks, do a project that is going to bless people for the next 40 years or 50 years. And not only one person or one church, but an entire school of more than 200 kids and a whole community will get to drink clean water because of two weeks of commitment and 600 U.S. dollars,” Georges said. “It’s a big blessing.”
Georges said the project also will serve as a discipleship tool for the local pastor. He said the pastor was inspired by the team’s commitment when several of its members stayed behind to finish the tank’s lid —which had cracked — even while the rest of the team had to leave for scheduled ministry activities in other villages.
“The pastor asked us, ‘Why are you staying to work on that tank when you can just go and leave it?’ I explained to him that it’s important for us as Christians to reflect God in everything we do,” Georges said. “Everything we start, we need to finish it well because God never starts anything and doesn’t finish it.” Georges said that statement caused a lightbulb to go on in the pastor’s mind.
“He said ‘Then I need to finish the church — I need to finish building the church. I need to finish the school too.’ He started to realize how many things he wanted to finish. He said ‘Help me in prayer. I need to stand up and finish everything that I started,’” Georges explained. “Just the simple things like that — a simple sacrifice. And we were tired. We had a lot of pain but we sacrificed our time to reflect Jesus and we brought so much discipleship in the life of the pastor and the rest of the church. So the pastor is now going to teach the church about how they need to finish everything that they started.”