MARSHALL—Nine students from East Texas Baptist University served in Belize with Hope Springs Water—an Athens-based ministry committed to provide safe water, sanitation and public health education to developing countries.
Lisa Seeley, director of global education and the Great Commission Center at ETBU, and her husband, Scott Seeley, pastor of Nesbit Baptist Church in Marshall, accompanied the student team.
“The purpose of the trip was to fix wells in villages so that people who live there could have clean water,” said Nycole Renfrow, a sophomore from Nederland.
In Cirque Jute, ETBU students deepened a well 10 feet to keep water flowing during the dry season. They also cleaned out out existing wells that produced discolored water.
“I helped to disassemble a well and put in clean pipes,” said Brinsley Chance, a junior from Port Neches. “After the rust was cleaned out, the well began to pump clear water again.”
Students not only sought to improve the quality of available water, but also taught the people about hygiene and sanitation—and introduced them to the Living Water, Jesus Christ.
“The water that was coming out of some of the wells that we were able to repair and clean had bacteria in them, such as E.coli, that was causing the children and families to become very ill,” said Caitlin McAdam, a freshman from Henderson. “We also reached out to some of the schools in the villages we visited to teach them sanitation skills in order for them to be healthy.”
“As we taught about personal hygiene, it was used as an opening to teach about the love of Christ,” Renfrow added.
The recent trip marked the second year in a row ETBU student teams journeyed to Belize to work with Hope Springs Water.
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McAdam acknowledged concerns about her role in Belize.
“I was worried about what I was going to do and the ability not to reach out to the children in the way God needed me to,” she said. “But as soon as I started talking to the children, God gave me the just the right words to say to them.
“I witnessed over 150 kids singing ‘Jesus Loves Me,’ and I knew that the team had made a difference.”
Students learned lessons about how to involve indigenous people in missions projects to teach them to skills they can use to provide for themselves.
“It is important to include the people of the community you are helping,” McAdam said. “Teach and show them so that when you are gone, they can continue the work and teach others. This allows them to help their community themselves after they have been taught how.”
Students involved in the mission project noted how the experience strengthened their commitment to Christian service.
“The people who live in Belize were so extremely kind and caring,” Renfrow said. “To love on God’s people and to simply serve was very moving to me. Service is such a great way to show the love of our Savior.”