Living Water Mission drills two new wells in Kenya

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Living Water Missions involve Kenyans themselves in drilling of new wells. Submitted photo.

Pastor Tom Hawkins and a mission team recently returned from Kenya where NewSong Church and the Tecumseh community have been supporting a Living Water Mission. This was the fourth such trip, and Hawkins said the team assisted in the drilling of new wells.

“We developed two new wells this trip,” said Hawkins. “One was drilled and one was a rope and washer pulley type system.”

Another major goal and task was also accomplished with the construction of living quarters for a caretaker of Living Water Mission Kenya in Twiga, which is north of Kalyet, where the mission installed a water tower at a school last year.

“We’ve found a caretaker who is like our general contractor, and he and his family will occupy the living quarters,” said Hawkins. “The next phase will be building our workshop, and then we have to furnish it with fabrication equipment, drills, saws, metal tools and everything we’ll need.” Since that goal is ambitious, with the facility costing approximately $100,000, and well-drilling equipment an estimated $50,000, Hawkins said that Living Water Mission will now be seeking grants to assist with the projects.

“We’re so grateful for the support we’ve had from Tecumseh and the surrounding communities through our fundraisers, and we’ll continue some of that, but we’re also going to be looking to apply to USAID and such organizations that fund this type of work,” he said. The group has worked hard to gather and sell scrap metal, and sponsors such events as the Kenya Dig It event in the summer. “We’ve got to connect with people who know how to write grant proposals so we can get the kind of money we need to take it to the next level.” While there, the group also established a CBO, or community based organization, a legal entity in Kenya, which is required for obtaining grants.

Hawkins was accompanied by veteran mission travelers Herb McDavid, formerly from Tecumseh, and Tecumseh resident Ron Publiski, as well as Pastor Kathy Meyers from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bridgewater. Doreen Cawley, a veterinarian, and her son, Jake Haist, also from that church, went on the trip.

“We had a great mission with Doreen able to help folks in the rural areas with such projects as how to increase milk production and take better care of their sheep and cattle,” said Hawkins. “Pastor Kathy had a teaching ministry with young ladies and older women in leadership roles. She did a great job, too.”
The team faced some challenges this year on its October 17 to November 1 trip, especially in the area of transportation. They were supposed to have a van, a Jeep and a “pikipiki” (a small motorcycle). The van did not pan out, and when Hawkins was in the bush, the clutch on the Jeep gave out.

“Somehow, I got it into gear and limped it into town,” he said. “It was an adventure and a miraculous thing of God.” The breakdown was a reminder of how things in Kenya work on Kenya time and require great patience. Repair was promised each day, but parts did not come in until the end of the week when it was almost time to go home.

“Have you ever seen three people on a pikipiki? That’s what we had to do,” he said. “I have plans for next year. I’m going to rent a ‘matatu,’ which is a four-wheel drive vehicle.”

Hawkins said he found the Kenyan people to be hospitable as always, and preached two Sundays. Rather than a chicken for payment this time, he was given a lamb. “It was quite a compliment,” he said. The Living Water Mission caretaker is raising it now.

While Hawkins is pleased with the progress made during this year’s mission, he carries a heart that’s still burdened with the unfinished business of bringing his adopted granddaughter, an orphan named Consolata, to Tecumseh on a student visa. Consolata is eight years old now, and attends a private school, her tuition funded by Hawkins and his wife, Vera.

“Consolata stuck to me like glue all the time I was there,” he said. “I got to be grandpa for 10 days and, my goodness, did we have fun. We got to say goodnight every night and have prayer time and tell stories before bed. I asked her if she wanted to pray, and she’s bashful, so I asked her if she wanted to pray in Swahili, and she did.”

Consolata is speaking English and doing well in school, and also is teaching Hawkins more Swahili, which he has also studied on his own. He was better able to understand the Kenyan people this trip. “They so appreciate it when you make an attempt to learn their language,” he said.

Pastor Sammy Kibet, who pastors NewSong Church Kilamani, is in charge of helping to clear up the remaining red tape for Consolata’s visa. Hawkins said he needs to go into Nairobi to the Embassy to make progress, and it’s been quite a waiting game.

“I’m just anxious for a decision to be made on her visa,” he said. “Once that’s done, we’ll get the rest together and I’ll go get her.”

Hawkins said the goal for Living Water Mission is to have the Kenyan operation become self-sufficient and self-governed.

“When we’re done, hopefully there will be employees there working all over western Kenya, Eastern Uganda and Sudan,” he said. “The need is huge. Someday they’ll be running everything, and we can just visit.”




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