GraceWater quenches spiritual thirst

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

The picturesque landscape of Africa is intertwined with settlements of shacks made of wood, cardboard, tin and other scrap material. It is a squatter camp, scattered with families living together in a shack no larger than a garden shed.

One would say is the poster child of poverty at its core.

But there is something rich among its crumbling shacks and dusty streets. The Word of God overflows with regular Bible studies and fellowship among believers.

That luxury arrived thanks to the GraceWater mission, which began right in Yazoo City.

“That is why we do what we do,” said organizer Nick King. “We are serving a practical function that becomes spiritual.”

GraceWater began with a group of volunteers who were led by their faith to bring hope to those in need. With several of them involved with agricultural technology, the organization decided to focus on bringing water to those who do not have access to it.

Since its conception, Gracewater has traveled to rural Africa to install water wells for whole communities. Its mission continues to grow locally and internationally.

Not only does the mission bring clean water to the needy, but it also brings the Living Water. The Gospel is also poured out into the communities, and the GraceWater team leaves a growing Christian faith.

“We use a physical need to meet a spiritual need,” Nick said.

GraceWater will hold its third fundraising gala on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 6 p.m. in the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church in Yazoo City. The fun, educational, and entertaining evening will include a silent auction, meal, GraceWater update and entertainment by Meredith Andrews, a Christian Nashville recording artist. The entertainment will be an intimate setting of her singing and her husband Jacob Sooter playing piano.

The King family has been amazed at the amount of support GraceWater has been blessed with over the years. Business services and financial donations have been given. Even children at Vacation Bible School raise money to donate to the cause.

“It has been pretty amazing,” Ann King said. “The reach of it has shocked me. It has been such a blessing to see people get behind GraceWater. It’s humbling.”

A hundred percent of proceeds go towards water well projects. Nick said a complete well costs about $8,000 each.

The figures have steadily grown with the number of people GraceWater has assisted with clean water and the Word. One dedication ceremony attracted over 5,000 people. Of that number, 1,500 heard the Gospel, and 150 of them accepted Christ.

Another GraceWater team will head back to Africa this November to install concrete wells and hold a dedication ceremony.

Nicks said GraceWater also assists with community and farming projects. Communities are taught about proper hygiene and education. Ministry is shared. Job training skills are applied.

“It is exciting to see a community go from surviving to thriving,” Nicks said. “The best part of the system is the transitioning with the local pastors there. Our African teams survey a need and connect pastors together. Bringing water is a big part, but a church and a pastor is at the center of the blessings. The Lord provides and meets a need through local people and local faces. It brings a great stability to the ministry.”

Nick said there is even an African school that a pastor negotiated to implement regular Bible classes for its students.

“To see the whole picture, it is a lot of work,” Nick said. “But it is worth it.”

Gala tickets are $60 apiece and can be ordered online at the GraceWater website. Tickets are also available at the FBC office, Webb’s Pharmacy or by calling 571-8861 or 571-5921.