Ghana West African Missions Continues to Provide the Water of Life
by: Stafford North | March 8, 2017
In John 4:14, Jesus spoke to the woman at the well telling her that He could give her water that would allow her never to thirst again. In Matthew 25, where Jesus tells the story of the final judgment, He says that those who will go to heaven have given food to the hungry and water to the thirsty. So, Jesus teaches about giving people water to quench their physical thirst and about the water of life that can teach us to follow Him.
Ghana West African Missions has been working in Ghana West Africa for the last twenty-nine years, partnering with the brethren in Ghana to drill water wells, help with medical care, teach nutrition and sanitation, AND to preach the gospel. Water of both kinds! They raise funds among Christians in the United States and send it to Ghana to support their work there.
This work began in 1987 when the church of Christ in Traverse City, Michigan, saw the need for people to have clean water and believed helping to provide the water would open the door for them to hear the gospel. Since then, almost 1,000 wells have been drilled and more that 2,500 wells have been refurbished, cleaned, and rebuilt. As a result, almost 25 million people have been given clean water to drink which has given them better health, a better life, and has opened the door for the gospel. Ghana West Africa Missions now operates as a privately held 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and partners with UNICEF, UNHCR, and USAID along with some other organizations. Such relationships allow their funds to go further.
Through this work and related efforts, over these years, more than 50,000 people have been baptized into Christ, becoming part of some 800 congregations that have been established in northern Ghana. In addition, congregations have been established in more than 50 villages that were previously Muslim.
One of the main ways GWAM raises funds for its work is through “A Walk in Her Shoes.” For these events they find someone to coordinate an event who can reach out to local congregations to participate. They then set a fund-raising goal from the members of that church, often an amount of $7,500 which is the cost to complete one well for a village. On the day of the walk, they fill up two or three buckets with water and the walkers take turns carrying the bucket as they go for about two or three miles. In this process, they are replicating what a ten year old girl has to do when there is no water well and she has to walk the two or three miles to get water and then bring it home.
In 2013, GWAM also started a junior/senior high school program. They now are offering grades 7, 8 and 9 and have a total of 103 students in the program. They seek to find people who will donate $35 a month to sponsor a child. They hope to grow the school at one grade per year.
There are also other excellent works in Ghana. The Village of Hope has a pre-K through 9th grade school and a high school called Hope College. This work is associated with an orphanage, a church and a major medical clinic which is in the process of expanding into a significant hospital. The school, orphanage and hospital all enjoy the reputation of being well respected in the entire region.
Additionally, Heritage Christian College is a university associated with churches of Christ that previously offered only Bible degrees but now has expanded to a university offering about ten different degrees. Their students evangelize in villages during their time outside of classes. These villages are very poor and lack health care, so at times they have brought health-care providers to the villages to help in ways they are able.
So much good news from Ghana and a good example of how the work of different groups can complement each other in the spread of the gospel.