Texas Ministry Making a Global Difference Using a 'Miracle' Tool for Clean Water
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According to the World Health Organization, 771 million people worldwide cannot get safe drinking water. That has led to a variety of diseases especially in undeveloped countries. The Bucket Ministry near Houston, TX is working to change those numbers. The ministry's mission of sharing the love of God through providing the gift of safe, clean drinking water is well underway in places like North America, South America, Central America, Asia, and Africa.
"We have distributed filters in almost 30 countries now," The Bucket Ministry founder Chris Beth told CBN News. "We actively work in about 12 countries."
While accompanying his daughter on a missions' trip to the Brazilian Amazon in 2012, Beth, a successful businessman, saw what it meant to not have access to clean water after a local host asked if he was thirsty.
"I expected her to go into a refrigerator and get a bottle of water," said Beth. "But what she did in turn was she went out onto this little plank on this house, bent down with two cups, they were irregular, they were mix matched and cracked and she filled these two cups up with river water."
Beth said he was shocked by what he saw and says what happened next was something he never imagined.
"I'd never been in the business of hearing God's voice," he explained. "In fact, I thought when people said 'God told me,' I thought, 'Oh boy.' And so, I heard something, and I heard two words and He clearly said, 'Help them.'"
Beth began searching for a way to help as soon as he returned home.
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He found the answer at a Dallas camping supply store where he saw a filter that uses the same technology as kidney dialysis that could be used to remove harmful bacteria from dirty water.
"It attaches to any bucket or receptacle," Beth explained during a demonstration using dirty lake water. "The filter is capturing all the dirt, the debris, the parasites, everything that's making people sick from drinking unclean surface water."
Equipped with filters, The Bucket Ministry was born as Beth returned to Brazil, supplying communities with clean, safe drinking water.
"In the last 10 years we've probably distributed in excess of 250,000. So, we've helped 250,000 families. Just last year alone we distributed about 35,000," said Beth.
One of its main outreaches is in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya which is home to some 400,000 people.
Most human waste ends up in the river that runs through the slum which contaminates the water leading to disease and death.
"There was this filter - our filter that you could take - the same one that backpackers and hikers use on the trail - but we devised a way to hook it up to a bucket which is very common all around the world, and that's kind of how The Bucket Ministry started," said Darrel Larson, international director for Sawyer Products, the company which makes the filter the ministry uses.
Larson says when his company, which gives 90 percent of its annual profits to clean water projects around the world, learned that Beth wanted to give clean water to the entire Kibera slum it jumped at the opportunity to get involved.
"He had this incredible map of the slum - 3 square miles, 400,000 people, and it ended up being 95,000 homes," said Larson. "Sawyer actually donated all 95,000 of the filters."
The difference has been lifesaving as the number of people sick and dying from water-born illness has dropped dramatically.
"We are hearing reports that the numbers of patients coming through clinics are so few compared to what it was that clinics are having to close and consolidate operations," commented Beth.
Providing clean water has also led to many opportunities to share the gospel.
"We use the water as a tool and it's a tool to get to that point of sharing the gospel. So for us it's all about the Great Commission and going and making disciples," said Beth.
"The filter itself for many of these people provides a miracle," Beth added. "And the miracle is they get to see the dirty water change to clear water. And the obvious connection of this is comparing the dirty water to the sin in our lives and the clean water is what we look like in relationship with Jesus."
Meanwhile, each filter distributed is stamped with a unique bar code - something that allows Beth and his team to track the success of the filter as well as the physical and spiritual health of families and communities they serve.
"I've been blessed for over 10 years to see mothers that didn't name their children because they knew the children were going to die; I get to see them have this clean water for the first time through his simple tool," he said.
It is a simple tool that has even made a significant difference in Beth's life too.
"Prior to the last 10 years, I was not involved in the church," Beth said. "I wasn't even a very good follower of Jesus. And now I get to see Him work every single day. And what it's done for me is it's given me a faith that I don't think I would have ever had without seeing Him work like this."
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