If anyone had any questions about why our mission call was switched to the Congo, instead of going to Nauvoo or Greece… we have been told that we were “prayed” here. We were told this by the former mission president and the existing mission president. However, we have discovered that others were also praying fervently, for a couple with specific training.
The humanitarian couple for the church that is serving in central Africa has been looking for places that the church’s humanitarian funds can be put to the best use. There are literally millions that die from contaminated water every year, in central Africa.
Many people here get their water from filthy ditches and swamps. The water in the quartiers (neighborhoods where probably 90% of the people live) comes from unreliable taps from shallow wells and springs. Often, the taps are dry with no water. Often, they are badly contaminated.
The people take their containers and wait in lines, until a little rain comes, seeps into the ground, and then comes out of the taps for a few minutes or hours. Only those at the front of the line get water, so the women are often sent to the taps at three o'clock in the morning to be the first in the lines. (There is another serious problem with these girls and women being raped as they walk for the water or wait.)
The church is trying to help get clean water available to people and has allocated money in a few areas to drill wells and build water stations where neighborhoods can get clean fresh water. Pointe Noire just happens to be one of the areas that was approved. The exciting new water system, which would provide water to thousands and thousands of people, was coordinated with the city water department. The city is in charge of the project, and the church will fund it.
The senior couple before us, did the preliminary work, and trained over 900 families in sanitary conditions, preparing them for the clean water. The well sight was selected and plans moved forward. The contract was signed with the drilling company. Then, the work by the drilling company and the city came to a stop.
The church decided they needed a member representative in the proximity of this city that knew something about water and well construction to make sure that the project was monitored and the money was being used efficiently. WOW!
That is when the humanitarian couple, the Moody’s, started to pray fervently, that the project could move forward, before the end of the year, when the funding time period would close.
After we arrived in Pointe Noire, the Moody’s flew over to meet us to see if there was any chance that we were who they needed. (At that point, we knew nothing about any of this.) The Moody’s found out that Ed has had extensive construction experience. When we told them that Ed and I were the coordinators of developing, drilling, and building the deepest privately-owned well in the State of Utah as part of the new water system at Clear Creek Ranch, they knew their prayers had been answered.
We explained that for the ranch water system, someone needed to be trained to become a Utah Certified Water Operator to oversee the quality, testing, and reporting of our water system. I was nominated to go to St. George, dreading every minute of it, to take a week-long crash course, culminating with a HARD test about everything you would ever want to know about water systems. I passed the test and received my certificate and pin.
The Moodys were excited about our experience and asked us to write up our "Water and Well" resumes, so they could submit them to Church Headquarters to see if we would qualify as what the church required in experience and knowledge. Within 10 days, the project was approved and Ed took over as the Church's main representative on the Pointe Noire project and the well coordinator.
Some may call it a coincidence that we managed to get here to Pointe Noire. We know that God plucked us out of our plans for a Greek Mission to come here to the Congo. Although we believe we were needed in Greece, we know there was a greater need for us to come to Pointe Noire. We are grateful, and humbled, for the experiences that we have had in our lives, and that we qualify to be here and help these people get clean water.
It won’t be an easy task… and we are already learning that it will require great patience to work with a project like this in Africa, but we are excited to move forward with the project!