Millions of people in the Dominican Republic struggle in extreme poverty. Additionally, it is estimated that 2 million or more Haitian immigrants have moved to the DR and live in deplorable conditions. Due to their undocumented status, they are known as the invisible poor. Therefore the Haitian villages (or Bateys ) were selected as our primary area of focus. Most of these people have access to water due to the vast number of irrigation wells dug in support of sugar cane production. The problem is that they are very contaminated with micro-biological organisms including bacteria, viruses, giardia, cryptosporidian, farm applied chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, etc., and salts from ocean water (brackish water). In addition, due to the intense focus on personal survival, many of the DR's impoverished people do not reach out to their local church for help. Because of this, there is a great opportunity to bring the life-saving gospel of Jesus Christ to people who are not normally exposed to His message. Water@Work (W@W) partners with local churches and Christ-based organizations to install and manage water filtration systems and aid them in their evangelism efforts. Through this program, people can go to church every day to get clean water. There, W@W supports the local church in sponsoring evangelism activities and events centered around clean water as a symbol of the living water of Jesus Christ. At the local church, residents interact with people who are proclaiming the Word or doing the good works of discipleship. Their health and that of their family members continues to improve. They begin to become familiar with the people of the church and relationships begin to form. We are convinced that once we bring clean water through our in-country partners, God will work through the local churches to bring the message of the good news. Those who were once the sick and weak with hardened hearts become the healthy and energized able to receive the Gospel in fertile new soil. W@W is implementing a model that is replicable to other areas within the DR and in other countries throughout the developing world. Water@Work was birthed through a short term mission trip hosted by The Evangelical Church of the Dominican Republic (I.E.D). The I.E.D is the last remaining united Church in the Caribbean in which the Methodist Church participates. W@W founders were exposed to the poverty, waterborne illnesses and great need for evangelism within the Haitian Bateys. This continuing focus of the IED and that of Bishop Cancu greatly supports our efforts. W@W has gained 501c3 status we will soon have NPO status in the DR. We will operate there as Foundacion Water Work, I.E.D. Pastor Juan Caraballo Castillo, the current President of Pastors for the I.E.D. will be the manager. W@W supports 8 legacy systems, has installed 10 new systems and will complete 4 for more by year's end.
Goals & Objectives
The short term goal of Water@Work is to complete the final four scheduled water purification systems for 2013 bringing our total to 22. We fully expect to increase this number for a target of 36 for calendar year 2014. Our five year goal is to reach 500,000 people or approximately 400 systems. Our evangelism goals are three fold. Bishop Cacau has asked us to facilitate a pastors conference for the I.E.D. in February 2014. We not only hope to have the Bishop in attendance, but all pastors who have received a system or is projected to receive a system. We will be exploring how to maximize our evangelism efforts in a relative method to the population. Secondly Water@Work will develop a combination Dedication Ceremony/Evangelism Service/ Celebration event to be held for each new system installation. Thirdly building on this foundation we will explore the possibility of facilitating a Multi-church, Multi-community Revival Event to be held on a bi-yearly basis. In addition we will continue our efforts on developing techniques and materials appropriate to reaching a largely illiterate population. Our current plans in this area includes the use of local community involved drama, highly illustrated materials, and animation in order to communicate the Gospel.
The physical aspect of Water@Work has been greatly realized at this point and a great learning curve has been climbed. The custom engineering, system installation, supply chain, and water testing are in place. DR based Operations and construction managers as well as user training have also been greatly improved. Because of these accomplishments efforts in promoting of the projects with internet, social media, print media, and live presentations will be accelerated in 2014. Water@Work will now turn it's major focus to evangelism. We will finalize the structure of our evangelism team. Currently we have members in both the U.S. and the D.R. It currently includes pastors, missionaries, animators, artists, authors, and other servants lending their expertise to the effort. We have approached and been given advisory support in our efforts by Dr. Winston Worrell, Director of the UMC World Evangelism Institute. We will strive to gain financial support for animation creation, illustrated materials development and the equipment required to facilitate live drama in the D.R. As we move forward we will explore how other forms of technology may be used in our efforts.