“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:40).
Metro Christian Living has run several stories in the past year about Clean Water for Malawi. This ministry, headquartered in Jackson, began through a very grass roots effort when local businessman Victor Smith became burdened for the Malawian people. He had been involved with the ministry Here’s Life Africa. That ministry trains pastors, preaches the gospel, and has seen over three million people confess Christ as savior. Now, 85% of the Malawian people are Christians.
Poverty is extreme, and one of the greatest challenges the Malawian people face is the widespread absence of safe drinking water. Over 30,000 people, many of them children, lose their lives each year to water related illnesses.
Since 2011, Clean Water for Malawi has drilled 58 wells providing safe water to thousands. An entire well costs $3500, but the value to those served by it is beyond measure. It is indeed the difference between life and death.
The students at First Presbyterian Day School had several opportunities in recent months to hear about the ministry and the plight of the Malawian people. Teachers at FPDS had a summer reading project which was to read the book, Kisses from Katie, the story of a young girl who left her home in Tennessee to live in Africa.
Amid much enthusiasm and all-around interest, the student body and the faculty took on the project of raising funds to build their own well. Since August, the endeavor has raised enough money to complete one well, but that was just the beginning. Matching funds by an anonymous donor provided for a second well, and the fundraising will continue through the remainder of the school year.
Although money is collected each week from each grade during chapel offering, several students have gotten quite creative with their individual efforts. Four third-grade boys shared a birthday party at Laurel Park in December and requested that their classmates bring donations for Water for Malawi instead of birthday gifts! That idea netted $300!
And FPDS Girl Scout Troop 7535 raised $500, while another group of students raised money through lemonade stands in their neighborhoods.
Head of School Gary Herring’s hope is that the project inspires other schools. It has been a great life lesson for the students to experience the joy of giving their time and treasure to make a difference in the lives of those who have nothing to give in return.