2018 was an exciting year as churches from all over came together to fight the water crisis alongside Water4 partners in 15 different countries. Some churches joined the fight for the first time, while others have been with us since the beginning. No matter when they joined the fight, every congregation who partnered with Water4 made a big splash in 2018.
For Victory Family Church (VFC) in Norman, Oklahoma, it all started near the end of 2017 when Pastor Adam Starling walked into Executive Pastor Shaina Smith’s office with a big challenge. We wanted the congregation to take on a project that went beyond themselves and challenged them to reject the consumer mindset so many Christians in the US struggle with… and he wanted it to be big.
After the church decided to focus on water, they found Water4 through a connection with one of their members. Smith says they were immediately drawn to the sustainable way Water4 empowers local people to solve local problems with local resources, “A huge problem, is that we, as Americans, come in, and we try to do everything but that’s not sustainable long term. It creates dependency. But Water4 was different.”
Within a few months, something big was happening. Kids were giving up birthday and Christmas presents – asking for donations to Water4 instead. Families were having garage sales to raise funds. A couple getting married decided to ask for donations instead of wedding gifts. People who hadn’t been involved before were suddenly coming up with creative ways to contribute to the project.
Soon, church members had contributed $65,000 to support Water4 partner enterprises in Malawi and Liberia. To date, the church has been part of helping provide water to over 1,800 people… and they’re just getting started. In 2018, Pastor Starling challenged the church to walk alongside Water4 and our partners in Malawi until every last person in that country has access to safe water!
As lives all over Malawi are saved through access to safe water, entire generations now have a new shot at life all because a group of people at Victory Family Church decided to get uncomfortable and ask God to use them in a big way to make the water crisis history.