True Water True Life

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Tree of contemplation in Monte Castillo.

I had been at Santisimo Sacramento Parish for a month doing mission work in Piura, Peru when Jacob Niemeier showed up. He immediately introduced himself to me. The first thing you notice is just how tall he is and at 6’4 I’m like a midget standing next to him, as he literally towers over me. Jacob arrived alone at the parish. Therefore, he would often sit with me for meals, as I too was a solo missionary and no longer with a parish group.

Initially, my conversations with Jacob consisted mostly of small talk; where we were from, how long we had been in Piura, how many trips down to Piura we had made etc. I quickly noticed Jacob and I were as different as night and day. He’s an engineer, and well I’m a liberal arts major – it’s a no brainier. Therefore, we think and process things very differently. He likes systems, processes, rules, and numbers. As for me, math in my head is a total struggle and I have no problem admitting that to the world. I sadly and humbly admit, I made fast judgments about him and his ministry overall. In looking back, Jacob was a mirror and window into the soul of my prideful self in which the Lord wanted to prune with the sharpest sheers at an aggressive velocity and depth.

At the onset of Jacob’s arrival in Piura he invited me out to join him in the village of Monte Castillo to see the water project his ministry, Vera Aqua Vera Vita was supporting. I’ll admit I had no interest what so ever in joining him or seeing his project. My cold, jaded heart so baked in pride thought “how is his ministry more important in the kingdom than the ministry I was doing”. Yikes! It’s at those times the heavenly hound chases you down and gives you a Holy Spirit take down on the wrestling mat like no other. Trust me, I never saw it coming.

Several days after his arrival, Jacob’s ministry Peru liaison, Alberto Montoya showed up. These two men became relentless in their invitations in asking me to join them and I continually questioned why in my head they kept inviting me. Day after day, I became relentless at putting them off because I had no interest in this engineering marvel in the far out sands of Monte Castillo. Besides, my pride told me what I was doing had more value in building the kingdom of God. Seriously, I had no interest in listening to them brag to me about their project or the work they were doing – another prideful assumption. Truth….gulp! Lord have mercy for I am a sinner. I was so full of myself and completely blind to the numerous divine invitations by God.

And then being a woman, missioning alone with no Spanish language skills, I didn’t have a ounce of trust to join two men alone in Monte Castillo. This goes on for two solid weeks of me saying no almost daily. I joined every other group, or would do solo mission work to avoid going with them. Jacob’s persistence begins to wear down my ego. Finally, I figure it’s best to join them, as it’s the only way Jacob will shut up and leave me alone. Seriously again…gulp! So I surrender and begrudgingly go with a smile on my face, and join them in the back of a taxi for a rather bumpy ride both literally and metaphorically out to the village of Monte Castillo.

The many little faces of poverty in Monte Castillo & me.

Much to my surprise, I was welcomed in with unbelievable desert hospitality to this village. They introduced me to everyone they’ve been working with, and these people accept me as if they had known me for years. We all become instant friends. Somehow, I too become a part of this water project. It’s in this village that I witness the power of God break in like never before in a burning bush moment. It suspends me to this very day into the awesomeness and wonder of God’s majesty and goodness. And then when I’m not playing photographer or laying hands on people in prayer, I find myself alone with God praying under a particular tree. It’s there I sit alone on a rock in quiet contemplation over the course of several days. All the while from a distance Jacob & Alberto discuss blue prints and engage in a meeting of the minds with the a rotary club, the water commission, the mayor and everyone else who’s coming to see what’s up with the water. Every once in a while they call out and ask if I was alight. I respond that I am. In fact, I was more than alright for what was hidden was slowly being revealed.

It’s under this tree where God spoke tenderly to my heart on the importance of the work they are doing and it’s so much bigger than just clean water. Vera Aqua Vera Vita is laying a physical foundation of something significant to come. This is only just the beginning. It’s not just the water that is needed in this place, but the person of Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus met the woman at the well, He too will begin to meet the people one by one as clean water springs forth. God wants His people back, as many have strayed. They are in need of repentance and an overwhelming experience of His abundant love for them. They need a Savior and God desires revival for the 7,000 residents who live in this village.

It’s humbling to know when God is on the move. You know, that you know, that you know. You absolutely know when He’s convicting your heart of sin and you absolutely know when He’s calling your name. But first He must prepare you and your heart. It’s always our choice as to the path we choose, and what we are willing to give up for the sake of following Him. There is a cost when the Lord sets you apart. You may be asking what does He want? He simply wants you. He desires your whole life to serve Him for His glory and kingdom to be revealed through you.

One can’t live on clean water alone without the person of Jesus Christ. And yet, one can’t survive and thrive in the spiritual life without clean and true living water either. It’s not one or the other, it’s both and! There is no competition in God or in the building of the kingdom, everything and everyone has a space and place – all belong. The kingdom is always properly ordered, it’s us who are completely disordered. Including me.

So these guys are the real deal. They treated me with the utmost respect. They were absolute gentleman and they did in fact watch out for my safety. Most importantly, they are missionary disciples of Jesus bearing fruit in the kingdom. Truly, men of God desiring to live a life of holiness. There were no other missionaries that I talked to more about the faith, the person of Jesus, and the supernatural life of God than them. Their hearts for this water project and the people of Monte Castillo are unbelievably pure. It’s fascinating to me how I spent the least amount of time with them at the very end of my trip, and yet they both had the greatest impact on me as I encountered Jesus in both of them more than once. That is the hand of God. And the funny thing is Jacob and Alberto would say my presence impacted them, that too is the mysterious and divine nature of God. I am grateful to call them kingdom friends.

My encounters of Jesus in them required repentance. The Lord showed me the house of my heart was more than disordered. I was storing a few idols that needed to be destroyed. The bedroom was in the basement, the kitchen in the living room, and the bathroom in the garage. So Jesus has a way of sneaking up on us and using the people we judge and attempt to avoid in order to get our attention to grace us with an about face in the spiritual life. Whenever God surprises us there is always an invitation to more of Him. The pruning is never fun, but where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Incredible… freedom.

When you give God permission. When you surrender. And when you invite Jesus into dine and sit on the throne of your heart and life, He will have His way with you if you let Him. He’s a lover, warrior, and a king like no other. Let Him in and be the Lord of your heart and life. He desires to be in relationship with you. Will you accept the invitation? Will you accept more of Him today? True water and true life only comes in having an intimate relationship with the person of Jesus Christ.

It leaves a pit in my stomach to know we sprinkle clean water in the west on our lawns for greener grass when these people have no clean water to drink. We wash the mud and dirt off our vehicles at the car wash when they wash their clothes in contaminated water and we fill our swimming pools to bask in the sun when they have no clean water to bathe. How is it we are comfortable with people living this way?

Maybe, your heart is as hard and impure as mine. For in that space everything is clouded, as we sit on the throne of our lives playing God and doing it our own way. Making idols of certain rooms in the house of our hearts, our lawns, vehicles, and swimming pools instead of loving God and His people. Therefore, for the love of God and neighbor I encourage you to give to the Vera Aqua Vera Vita campaign. There is a goal of $10,000 in order to complete the project for clean water and sanitation in the village of Monte Castillo.

Ask God what to give, then double that amount and donate to Vera Aqua Vera Vita. Together let’s blow up this campaign for the kingdom. Jacob says “Together we can give True Water True Life!”

God is on the move, revival is on the way, the Lord is coming in a mighty way to this village. And the Lord may just using me to invite you to Monte Castillo to mission. Will you go when He calls your name?

It fills my heart with joy to be a champion for my many kingdom friends who lead ministries in which the person of Jesus is the very foundation and center. It’s the Holy Spirit who moved my heart to share this story and campaign with all of you. I asked Jacob to put together a short summary on the current state of the project. See below to donate today or sign up to be a prayer warrior to pray for this ministry and the people of Monte Castillo. Thank you and may God’s abundant love bless you today!

*To donate: https://veraaquaveravita.org/sanitary-sewer-system-funding-campaign/

**To become a prayer warrior for Aqua Vera Aqua Vita and people of Monte Castillo: https://veraaquaveravita.org/fountains-of-prayers/

From Jacob Niemeier, Founder & Executive Director: Right now in Monte Castillo, Peru construction of the water treatment facility (Phase I ) is nearing completion with official operations of the facility anticipated to commence in less than two months, March 2019. The clean water treatment facility will be capable of providing drinking/cooking water to the 7000+ residents of the community. However, Vera Aqua Vera Vita’s (VAVV) work in Monte Castillo has only just begun because in addition to lack of access to clean potable water, the community, also, struggles to maintain a healthy living environment due to a dilapidated sanitary sewer system that results in sewage backing up into the streets and people’s homes when it is used. Not to mention, because the current sewer system is so unreliable, a super-majority of the people resort to open-defecating often times right by their water source which of course is a serious contamination problem! Thus, VAVV has commenced Phase II of our work in the community which includes comprehensive infrastructure improvements of which they hired a local contractor to perform condition assessment of the sewer system and perform routine repair/rehabilitation work; in addition, they will implementing their empowering education curricula later this year. Currently, right now the contractor VAVV hired is in Monte Castillo performing ongoing work, and in order to pay-in-full the contractor upon completion of the work VAVV needs to raise $10,000 by March 15th. Please give generously to support this great campaign to eradicate death and disease caused by poor water and wastewater systems in Monte Castillo and help the community go from simply just surviving to ultimately thriving because together we can give True Water True Life!

Building housing the finished Water Treatment Facility
A woman testing the operational flow of the Water Treatment Facility
Workers from Standard 10 (local Peruvian contractor) hired by VAVV to clean the sewer piping, assess the system with video, pictures, and perform routine repair/rehab. They are removing a broken manhole roof. You can see the sewage backed-up almost to the top of the manhole due to the pipes being clogged and collapsed.
The Standard 10 contractors installing a new manhole roof and lid.
Standard 10 contractors pulling a plug through the pipe to clean it out.

For more information on Vera Aqua Vera Vita go to:

https://veraaquaveravita.org

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