Disease Prevention and Clean Water Access Go Hand in Hand

30th November 2021

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Samaritan’s Purse is encouraging healthier lifestyles in Bolivia by providing clean water access.

Clean water is essential to good health, as it significantly reduces waterborne illnesses and contributes to the overall health of families. Yet, for many communities throughout the world, clean water has never been easily accessible.

Through our Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) project, Samaritan’s Purse is providing sustainable access to clean water for communities, homes, and schools in countries such as Bolivia. Through these efforts, we also share the Good News of Jesus Christ, the only source of Living Water.

Sharing the Hope of Jesus Christ

In northern Bolivia, in the town of San Ignacio de Moxos, we’ve trained medical personnel in 15 area health centers on COVID-19 precautions and how to educate their patients about preventative measures.

Staff at the school teach students about healthy hygiene practices.

Staff at the school teach students about healthy hygiene practices.

For one of the clinics, the need went beyond COVID-19, as the clinic didn’t have access to water or electricity. Now, the center has a consistent supply of both after Samaritan’s Purse developed a water system and rebuilt the electrical structure.

In the same town, a school lacked a water system to be able to provide sinks or bathrooms. As we constructed a sustainable water system for sinks and bathrooms, as well as showers, we also talked with the school director about the eternal hope of Jesus Christ.

She was so inspired she began sharing the Gospel with her students and staff. “Without God, we cannot do anything,” she said. “I want to give my teachers and students true hope through Jesus. It is a joy to have access to water, but also to get to share the Living Water through the Word of God.”

The school director started offering daily morning Bible studies using Bibles provided by Samaritan’s Purse.

“We are so thankful for the ways that God is transforming our school,” she said.

Opening Doors to the Gospel

Samaritan’s Purse has worked with more than 300 families in the Palca region of western Bolivia to provide hygiene infrastructure such as sinks and latrines. Before Samaritan’s Purse began this WASH project, over half of the people in the area lacked water in their homes and had never been taught about the hygienic importance of washing their hands.

Elisa and Edson are grateful for the help they received from Samaritan’s Purse.

Elisa and Edson are grateful for the help they received from Samaritan’s Purse.

In addition to improving their physical circumstances, the follow-up home visits by our ministry team have helped bring spiritual transformation to families as well.

Graciela and her daughter Justina struggled economically and emotionally after Justina’s father left.

“Being able to build the [WASH] infrastructure opens the door to make a relationship, create trust and friendship, then share about God and pray with the family,” said Lenicia, a WASH team member in Bolivia.

Trusting God to heal past hurts, Justina now reads the Bible each day to her mom—who has limited vision—and they pray together.

“I cry out to my God so often, and I know that He cares for us,” Graciela said.

Elisa, another Palca resident, also has struggled without a father figure in her children’s lives, and this affected her son Edson’s understanding of God as a loving Father.

As they provided an outdoor sink for the family, Samaritan’s Purse staff member Ruben began sharing with the family about how they can talk with God through prayer.

“When you pray, God listens.”

“When you pray, God listens,” Ruben told them. “He wants to hear the cares of your heart. He is the greatest, truest, most perfect Father anyone could have.”

Learning how to pray, Edson also reads the Bible with his mom, memorising various psalms for encouragement.

Helping a Church Get Its Start

Our WASH programming is helping a new church outside the capital of La Paz to increase ministry efforts. In addition to providing discipleship training and materials, we also built a water system and installed sinks at the church building.

This has allowed the congregation to host services and meals each Saturday and Sunday for over 80 children. The children are inviting their parents, and many families attend the church together.

“If we are going to change the community, it starts with the children,” said program coordinator Susy. “They will grow to be parents, leaders, and examples.”

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