The One True Champion
With the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams just a few days away, I’ve been reflecting on where I was 10 years ago when I got the opportunity to cheer on my team, the Arizona Cardinals at Super Bowl XLIII.
As a season ticket holder since 2002, I dreamed of the day that I would watch a playoff game at home. That dream came true not once, but twice in January 2009 when the Cardinals hosted the Atlanta Falcons in Glendale, beat them, then went on to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship, also on our home turf. At the end of that game, I remember thinking, “What just happened?”
Arizona fans were all in shock, but we celebrated like there was no tomorrow! Knowing this could be a “once in a lifetime” opportunity (ouch! saying that out loud kinda hurts), my father and I decided to make the trip to Tampa Bay to watch the Cardinals take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
February 1, 2009 was everything I thought it would be. The Super Bowl pregame parties were awesome, but the atmosphere in the stadium was hard to describe. Thrilling and uneasy. Electric and restless. The game went back and forth, and with a little more than 2 minutes left, the Cardinals miraculously took the lead! My section was filled with long time Cardinals fans and we went crazy. What a moment, and I was getting to experience all of this with my father at my side. At the same time, I had a sick feeling in my stomach that there was too much time left on the clock. Unfortunately, that turned out to be true.
It was painful leaving the stadium that night, and it didn’t help seeing all of the Steeler fans celebrate around us. No one thought the Cardinals would make it to the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl. I was so disappointed to be let down again. I wanted so badly to witness history in person. To tell you the truth, it stung to be so close and walk away a loser.
A New Perspective
Now 10 years later, because of what Jesus has done in my life, I can look back on those experiences, shake my head and smile. The way I view the world has dramatically changed, including football. Am I still a loyal fan? Absolutely. Does the game affect me the same way? Absolutely not. Christ has shown me that He is the One True Champion and that He will never let me down. He’s already won the big game and I share in that victory!
Jesus also opened my heart to the countless people around the world who don’t know about Him. After praying and asking God how I can help, He led me to start Living Water for the Thirsty, an organization that meets both the physical and spiritual needs of unreached people. Living Water for the Thirsty drills clean water wells in needy communities, then during well dedications, we share the Good News with the people there. In just three and half years, more than 22,000 people in Nepal and India now have access to clean water and more than 1,300 people have come to know Christ.
As I reflect on what truly matters, I’m so excited for the future of Living Water for the Thirsty and how it can make a difference in people’s lives. Not to say that football is bad. I love football and am inspired by the many players that use their platform to glorify God. But football games, even the biggest game of all, the Super Bowl, won’t matter 10 years from now let alone 10,000 years from now. What will matter is what we’ve done to help others meet Jesus, the One True Champion. In order to allow more people to hear about the Victory for them that can be secured through faith, we need more people to join us in our quest to make Jesus famous. Would you join us in living out the Great Commission for our King?
For this update, we want to pass along a note of praise, and also a request for prayer. As we approach the 3rd anniversary of the founding of Living Water for the Thirsty, we have an exciting milestone to celebrate. This month the 200th water well project in the country of Nepal was completed! In those 200 projects, over 18,500 people now have access to water. Additionally, over 8,200 people have heard the gospel (many for the first time) at well dedications.
This is all something to celebrate, but we are not done yet! There are many more villages and families that still lack access to clean water in Nepal. And there are many more who still have never heard the good news of the Gospel.
We are seeing tremendous growth in our first wells in the country of India, and so excited for what God has instore. We have completed over 15 projects in just five months in India, but there is much left to do. In the two Northern Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, there are over 300 million people! Most of these people live in extreme poverty, and both of these countries are less than 0.2% Christian according to the Joshua Project. They need clean water through the good news of the Living Water.
As the gospel is spreading in these areas, persecution is on the rise. This month, a law went into effect in Nepal that makes it illegal to convert someone to a different faith. If found guilty, a person could be set to prison for five years and face fines. With the law in force and persecution increasing, believers in Nepal have to be wise in how they live out their faith. We would appreciate your prayers that they may continue in wisdom and boldness.
We have seen growth and testimonies that cannot be explained apart from the work and hand of God. For those of you who have been supporting our work or praying for us, THANK YOU! You have been part of the Gospel spreading in equipping local pastors to be the hands and feet of Jesus. For those of you who have been thinking about getting involved, there is no better time than the present. Join us as we continue this mission to bring clean water and the Gospel to the unreached people of Nepal and India!
If you have been following Living Water for the Thirsty for a while, you may know how we have been helping to bring clean water and the Gospel to people in Nepal for nearly three years now. During that time, we have seen God work in amazing ways, with over 150 projects completed to date. As we have grown, to this point we have expanded to different regions within the country of Nepal. If you visit the projects page at lw4t.org, you can see how the projects cover much of the southern part of Nepal from east to west. We continue to feel led to bring the basic need of water while also sharing the good news of God’s love with the people of Nepal. Lord willing, we will reach more areas impacting more lives with this work.
At the same time, we feel the call of God to bring this work to a nearby country that also has significant physical and spiritual poverty – the country of India. India is such a large country, with over 1.3 billion people currently living there. This is over four times the population of the United States! With so many needs among so many people, where do we start?
Our work is now underway in northern India. To give an example, the state of Bihar where we recently completed our first project in India, is in the northeastern part of the country. It is smaller than the size of the state of Virginia, yet is home to over 113 million people. Most of these people live in extreme poverty, with little hope in escaping this reality. The average income is around $1. per day according to the IBEF. Additionally, according to the Joshua Project the population in Bihar is 0.1% Christian. The reality is that not only do people in this region live in difficult physical conditions, many of them have never even heard of Jesus.
This can feel overwhelming, even to the point of paralyzing us into inactivity. But the good news is we do have a chance to make a difference. The gift of water allows us to meet a huge physical need in a way that does not cause dependencies on outside resources. It frees up valuable time for people to work, go to school, and be productive instead of gathering or looking for water.
The gift of water shows the love of Jesus. We have invaluable local pastor partners now in both India and Nepal. These partners are the ones who find the needs, help bring the resource of the new water well, share the gospel with them at a well dedication, and build long term relationships with them. This is how bringing clean water can connect unreached people to the nearest church. When you give to our ministry in Nepal or India, you give not only for clean water but also support discipleship training in the regions of our work. Our goal is to create a movement with the local church that eventually will expand without outside assistance.
So, as we start this work in India and continue Nepal expansion, first we would ask for your prayers. Please pray for the people of India and Nepal, for their physical needs of clean water to be met, and for their hearts to be opened to the good news of the Gospel. We also ask for prayers for our local partners, as they face growing persecution. Please pray for their safety, wisdom, discernment, and also for boldness.
Secondly you can give to support the advancement of this work, and help us launch work in the country of India! God has given us large goals to reach more people with water and the Word, and your partnership helps continue this expansion. We are so thankful for churches and individuals who have donated to allow the work to continue.
If you are looking to get in on the ground floor of our launch in India, or help us expand to new regions in Nepal, our website has the ability for you to give one time or ongoing in any amount. If you wish to connect with us, we can share more details about well sponsorship and other opportunities.
Thank you and God Bless!
Matt MacLean, Executive Director
March 26, 2018
By Lisa Horner
I first felt the calling and desire to go to Nepal with Living Water for the Thirsty when I heard Matt share about his vision and how the ministry works. The idea of installing clean water wells in villages in rural, unreached areas of Nepal and then sharing with them the Gospel message, the Living Water of Jesus Christ is too compelling to pass up. I raised my hand and said, “Yes, I want to see that!”
Preparing for the trip I tried to have few expectations other than to be fully present while in country. Fully present to observe what was going on around me and not interfere too much. I’ve travelled enough on mission trips to know that you have to be a master at flexibility because not very often do things go the way they’re planned. I prepared my heart for being in places with accommodations and comforts less than we’re accustomed to at home. I typically experience home sickness when traveling, so I made a plan to feel connected to home. I tried to see the value and strength of each team member and ask God how he has planned to use each and every one of them.
Turns out that when you raise your hand and say “yes” to going and serving God, he has more plans for you than to just sit back and observe. On the trip I was challenged to share my testimony with beautiful Nepali women who were desperate to connect with women from around the globe. Our whole team felt led to share our stories, share our pain, and share the ways in which God has led us through dark times in life. Just because you believe in Jesus, doesn’t mean all your troubles and pains go away. Instead, we have the ability to choose hope and peace and obedience despite those struggles. Our team was challenged to discern “lesson plans” and how to maximize our time with the women and youth we met because we very quickly learned that we had an opportunity to really speak truth into these women and we only had a limited amount of time to do it.
I was challenged to sit back and keep my mouth shut when God was clearly working in the hearts and minds of our team. We had powerful conversations about God’s mission in the world, the Living Water, community, climbing the mountains in our life, radical acceptance, running the race marked out for us and fixing our eyes on Jesus. We heard each other’s struggles with grace and believe we experienced “holy ground” as we “denied the Devil our silence”. I saw team members connect on deep levels as we opened ourselves up to what God might have for us. What strikes me as powerful is that none of this had to do with Nepal or Living Water. It’s just what happens when Christ followers gather away from our normal hectic lives, separate ourselves from normal distractions, and allow ourselves the luxury of spending a week with the Lord serving Him.
Overall, my largest takeaway in regard to Living Water for the Thirsty is that they are the real deal. It’s a compelling ministry format. Take a church planter who excels and is passionate about church planting and spreading the Gospel and take a church pastor who excels at digging clean water wells and partner them together to introduce wells to new communities to families who are not believers so that there’s a platform to introduce the Living Water to them, their household, and their community. Living Water then follows up with the local pastors and churches in those areas to do discipleship training and Bible teaching to encourage the believers in remote areas who don’t have access to Christian teaching to help them develop their faith. It was a privilege to see this in action. To meet these servants who previously were just names.
Coming home has been difficult. I struggle with how to take that experience and not lose it when getting back into daily life and the stresses and tasks that await me. It’s easy to “resent” normal life. Why can’t every day be full of deep sharing amongst believers, encouragement in the faith, and witnessing Kingdom advancement. But why can’t it? Lisa Horner
October 14, 2017
It is now the two year anniversary since Living Water for the Thirsty was founded. We have seen God work in amazing ways during this time, and we are believing that He has many exciting things still ahead. I would like to provide you with an update of the work He is doing through LW4T.
Since our founding, God has used us to complete over 110 water well projects in Nepal. These projects have brought clean water to over 9,000 people, with thousands of them hearing the good news of the Gospel at well dedication ceremonies, and hundreds making decisions for Christ while being connected to the local church. Clean water is a blessing and something we celebrate, at the same time reaching people for Christ is why God formed this organization, and is what drives everything we do.
Summer is upon us, and so is the heat for many in the United States. As the busy season of vacations and travel is in full swing, I wanted to provide an update on what has been happening with Living Water for the Thirsty in the last three months.
Urgent physical and spiritual needs are our focus, with clean water as the key initiative. Our work is currently in the country of Nepal, where many people still lack consistent access to a clean water source. As I write this, our first mountain well project is completed and will soon be dedicated. This project has been much more difficult than previous wells, and the community is so excited to finally have a well of their own. We estimate that this project will reach over 650 people with clean water.
Update from Ron Jenkins, Board Member
An airline pilot, a financial planner and a local pastor walk into a village in Nepal…
Sounds like the start of an interesting joke, but it would soon become a part of my reality. My friend and co-traveler, Matt MacLean, had asked me to go with him on a mission trip. We had originally met a few years earlier when a mutual friend invited him to attend a men’s group that I was leading. When I first met Matt, I can honestly say that I never thought that I would be traveling with him so far from my home, but God had some long range plans for the two of us. Little did either of us know that, in just a short time, we would be missionary partners to unreached people groups on the other side of the world.
January 31, 2017
As we enter 2017, I would like to share some exciting updates from Living Water for the Thirsty. God continues to open up avenues and opportunities for us to continue with and expand upon our work.
Since our founding in 2015, we have completed 76 water well projects throughout Nepal. Through those projects, over 5,000 people now have access to clean water. In addition, thousands have heard the gospel through well dedication ceremonies and are now connected with the local church. We are so thankful to everyone who has prayed and given financially so this work could be accomplished.
October 24, 2016
As I write this, it has been one year since our official launch as a non-profit organization. Looking back on all that has been accomplished in our first year, it is amazing to see all that God has been doing through Living Water for the Thirsty. During or first year of operation, we installed and dedicated 40 wells in Nepal, impacting over 2,500 people with access to clean water. This could not of happened without your prayers and financial support, so thank you! We all take access to clean water for granted, a reality that millions in Nepal still lack. We are very thankful for the early successes God has provided, and at the same time we know there is much yet to be done.
In addition to the component of clean water, our work is focused on creating introductions of the local church to unreached villages. Living Water for the Thirsty does not dedicate the wells, it is the nearest local pastor that gives this ceremony and begins to build relationships with people in the community.