Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
August 7, 2011
Trying to help a fellow who may have lost his mind
The deadline nears. A small group of friends and I are trying to raise thirty thousand dollars to help a young man spend a year in Africa. You may wonder if the poor fellow has lost his mind.
He has quit a good job with a television station in Montgomery. Why? He says God has given him a vision. To fulfill that vision he must use his skill as a videographer to link 50 churches to 50 villages in Zambia that have no source of clean water. Each church would have its own village and assume responsibility for drilling a well in their village. Each well costs about $7,500.
Ambitious? Yes, and truthfully quite overwhelming. So far he has two pastors and two churches committed to help. He needs only 48 more churches to reach his goal.
Had the young man saved up enough money to pay his way to Africa? No, he is like most of us; he has very little money in savings. But our little group of his friends decided to help him anyway. A month or so ago we set out to raise thirty thousand dollars to fund the cost of cameras, video equipment, airline tickets and living expenses.
How are we doing? So far we have raised about $19,000, so we need only $11,000 more. We don’t have much time left. The young man has secured airline reservations to fly out of Atlanta on September 21.
So how do you raise $11,000 in a month? You trust God and pray hard. And you ask your friends to consider helping. That is what I am doing by writing this piece. Fortunately our church has agreed to accept donations to fund this ministry. The address of Saint James UMC is 9045 Vaughn Road, Montgomery, AL 36117.
I see it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to partner with a young man who has a remarkable vision. I will understand if by now you decide to stop reading. You may be thinking, “The last thing I need is one more bleeding-heart appeal for charitable giving!” If so, move on and have a great day.
If you are still interested, you could check out the young man’s website. It is firstname.lastname@example.org. His name is Jacob Eubanks. Jacob describes his mission very simply:
Water282 is tackling the world's leading health problem one well at a time, by connecting a local church to an African village in extreme poverty to supply clean drinking water and overflowing joy from the living water of the Gospel.
Jacob gets the “282” from the Bible – 2 Corinthians 8:2 – “Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”
Jacob has been to Zambia once, journeying their last fall with his pastor and others. This is how he describes what happened:
“In November 2010 a small team from our church (Saint James United Methodist in Montgomery) went to Zambia to do some scouting to see what our church could do to help the church there. Little did we know that what we saw would change our lives forever.
“We knew that there was a need for clean, safe water wells, but we had no clue what the scope of the need was. We saw people getting water from the most unimaginable sources, from the filthiest, opaque water from hand dug wells, to crocodile-infested rivers or holes beside a Black Mamba den where every bucket is a gamble, to water sources miles away from people’s huts that they retrieved 5 gallons at a time. And we knew that this was just the start of the problem, as the water they spent so much time getting and often risked their lives to get, was full of bacteria, parasites, and diseases. You can hear about it all day, but when you see it first-hand, it messes with your world.
“On the plane ride back from Zambia, I heard God’s call more clearly than I ever have and probably ever will, telling me that He had placed everything I needed to do something about this problem in my hands already, and all I would have to do to make it happen is sell everything I own and pack up and move to Zambia. Well, since you put it like that….. I’ll go.”
Well, there you have it. Has the young man lost his mind? I don’t think so. Every time I turn on the water in my home I think about the children in Zambia who are dying from waterborn diseases. That’s why I am doing what I can to help a young man with a vision provide clean water for thousands of poor people in those African villages. Thank you for listening to an old man’s appeal. + + +