Hope Springs International

Lasting Change One Village at a Time


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I want to tell you about Michael

slide-1-728Michael believed that one person could make a difference in the lives of thousands of people.

Michael had been exposed to the need for potable water through the web. He began to search for organizations that were working to bring clean water to people in developing nations. He narrowed his search to two or three organizations. Hope Springs International was one of those organizations. Early in 2012 we met, talked and soon Michael said, “I want to work with Hope Springs and raise money to dig wells”. He set a goal and was off and running.

Michael began to promote his cause through his Facebook site. He talked to his friends and family, and before long we began to receive donations. Many of those donations were from Michael personally.

Now fast forward to August 2013. Over the last week or so you have read and

A new well is born!

A new well is born!

seen pictures of our well drilling in the village of Posishi Mongoro in Gombe State, Nigeria. On September 10th. we hit water and a new well was born. Michael’s efforts made this well possible.

Poshishi Mongoro was first established in 1953. For the last 60 years the only sources of water for this village were ponds they shared with their animals. Ponds subject to animal waste and ground water run off during the rainy season. Death and disease was just a way of life. Like most places without access to potable water half of the children never lived to their fifth birthday and others dealt constantly with other types of diseases. For the people that survived this village was their whole world. Many of these people have only heard stories of wells, but never expected to have one.

PM villageIn the backstory to this well I told you about Samuel. Every day’s adventure for Samuel was to put his Jerry cans on his donkey and ride in search of water. I hope you will go back and read that story. You see when you hear stories about thousands of people and their need for water it is often hard to relate, but when you see the personal story of lives that are changed, well it becomes real.

I hope one day Michael and Samuel can meet. But even if they don’t I can assure you; there will be a time of celebration in heaven for what God can do through just one person.

How about you? Think God might be able to use you to change thousands of lives or another Samuel? Got an idea? Need some assistance? We would love to help you fulfill your dream!

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What do you see?

L-R, Paul Tustin, Jerry Reynolds, M/M George Boresman, Lee Hodges, Neldon Watson, Paul Coffman, Tom Dockery, A.J. Rollings, James Jarrett, Charles Scott, Bob Frahm

L-R, Paul Tustin, Jerry Reynolds, M/M George Boresman, Lee Hodges, Neldon Watson, Paul Coffman, Tom Dockery, A.J. Rollings, James Jarrett, Charles Scott, Bob Frahm

I learned many things from my first trip to Ghana, West Africa in 1969. The most frustrating lesson is this. You can share your experience, but you can’t share the experience. When you see a picture or hear a report you are only participating in the experience of another.

  • You can’t hear the chatter of hundreds of people speaking another language.
  • You can’t smell the diesel exhaust, the unforgettable stench of garbage rotting on the streets, open sewers.
  • You can’t feel the oppressive heat and humidity.
  • You can’t see the sandy haze that blots out the brightness of the
    Street preaching

    Street preaching

    sun and blows across the Sahel of West and Central Africa from the dust storms from the Sahara. They call it Harmaton.

That first visit to Ghana many years ago changed me forever. I have never been the same. When I view pictures of suffering and need in the world my heart aches for something to be done.

Today the words of Jesus resonate with me, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matt. 9:36.

You can see with eyes of compassion.

In his book, “Unfinished…Believing is only the beginning”. Richard Stearns speaks of the two kingdoms the people of the world live in. One is “The Magic Kingdom”. This kingdom is filled with all of the blessings that most of us in the West experience everyday of our lives.

Children5The other is “The Tragic Kingdom”.  In “The Tragic Kingdom” …

  • Millions go to bed hungry each night. One billion are chronically short of food and are slowly starving to death.
  • Two billion children are underweight or stunted.
  • 783 million in “The Tragic Kingdom” have no access to clean water, not a drop. They walk miles each day to dip their buckets in filthy, bacteria-ridden water that makes them sick and kills their children.
  • There are 18 million orphaned children in “The Tragic Kingdom.”
  • And, finally, the most terrible statistic of all: nineteen thousand children under the age of five die every single day of largely preventable causes simply because they are poor. That’s almost 8 million children every year, one every four seconds. (These statistics taken from page 49, “Unfinished” by Richard Stearns).tithing

This is something that God sees every moment of every day.

To us it seems hopeless. It isn’t! We often feel helpless. But there is a solution!

Abraham did it. It was a requirement of the law given to Moses for Israel. I believe it was practiced by the infant church of the first century. And if Christ followers in the 21 Century practiced it…

“If Christians all gave a tithe; the US church would have an extra $168 billion for missions and service. The cost to give the whole world primary education, clean water, and basic health care and nutrition would cost just $28 billion. Think how the world would change with the resources to share the good news!” (Richards Stearns Facebook site).

If that is true, and I believe it is who is ultimately responsible to do something about the suffering in this world? What group of people should care more than those who have been bought by the precious blood of Christ?

When people ask, “Why doesn’t God do something about all the suffering in the world?” His “silence” is because He has already spoken. We are His hands and feet, His ambassadors, His children. We have been blessed with the means to do it, so what is the problem?

Priorities!

Children in School (3)No single person, church or organization can do it alone, but working together we have been given everything we need to do everything He asked of us.

So it is not a matter of ability, it is a matter of will.

I have seen with my own eyes what can happen when just a few people who know they can’t do everything, decided to do something. Hope Springs International was born out of exposure to an urgent need, an S.O.S. Hundreds of people, mostly children, were dying.

In just 4 short years…

  • Over 100,000 people have access to clean water.
  • 60+ orphans are being cared for.
  • Hundreds of lives have been saved, and many more are being saved because they have access to medical Pupils in School (124)care.
  • Over 600+ students are receiving an education they only dreamed of a few short years ago.

Helen Keller once said, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming of it.”

So let me close by asking, “Who is blessed more, those who receive or those who give? According to Paul, Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35). I know this to be true from personal experience. Many of you reading this know this to be true also. But there are many more who will never know the truth until they put the words of Jesus to the test.

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Imagine What Could Happen…IF

tithingWhen the subject of giving is addressed it often invokes feelings of guilt. Through the years lessons on giving have more often than not been presented in a negative context.

What if our focus was not on how we fall short in our giving, but rather on what could we accomplish if we did give according to the Biblical challenge of tithing?

In his July 10th, article in Relevant Magazine, Mike Holmes spells out the real possibilities of what could happen if the church tithed. Here is what he says could be accomplished:

“There would be an additional $165 billion for churches to use and distribute. The global impact would be phenomenal. Here are just a few things the Church could do with this kind of money: 

  • $25 billion could relieve global hunger, starvation and deaths from preventable diseases in five years.
  • $12 billion could eliminate illiteracy in five years. 
  • $15 billion could solve the world’s water and sanitation issues, specifically at places in the world where 1 billion people live on less than $1 per day. 
  • $1 billion could fully fund all overseas mission work.
  • $100 – $110 billion would still be left over for additional ministry expansion. 

Wow! That is amazing. We could actually do what God asked us to do. It would also take away the world’s excuse78404177 of blame God for all the tragedies in the world. Gone would be the questions like, “Why doesn’t God do something?”, or “Why does God allow this or that?”

That reminds me of a conversation between two people I read about sometime ago. “Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it” Well, why don’t you ask Him?” Because I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.”

If the facts above are true, who is really “allowing” this suffering?

Holmes continues in his article with the question, “So why don’t we give?”

“The real problem when it comes to our giving is not about money. Not really. Actually, the Bible says it’s about our eyes. Rather, it’s what Jesus called “the evil eye.” He said it like this.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:21-23 KJV) 

The term “evil eye” is a Jewish term. Whereas a “good eye” in Judaism refers to good will, benevolence and being genuinely happy when others prosper—the evil eye is quite the opposite.

The person with an “evil eye” feels distressed when others prosper, rejoices when others suffer, loves their money and would do nothing in the way of charity. 

So when Jesus spoke about the eye, He was speaking to a largely Jewish audience who knew what He was talking about. They knew a “good eye” was a generous person and an “evil eye” was a stingy, sour Scrooge. “

givinghomeWhen people look at the suffering and need in the world they often see it through eyes that have been tainted by poor or limited information. For example, they judge all poverty alike when in reality it is very different. Much of the poverty in the US is poverty in a land of opportunity. At the same time poverty in developing nations is poverty without opportunity. In developing nations the daily goal is survival. There are little to no educational opportunities or available jobs. There are no government safety nets like food stamps, welfare or social security. There are few churches and those churches are each made up of people with their own financial struggles for survival.

When others see money given by governments to other governments wasted because corrupt officials channel the money into their own pockets and it never reaches the people who need it they have a tendency to generalize and conclude that all money given to these nations is a waste. But what if instead of depending on governments to do the work of God Christians leaned to tithe? Think of the potential billions of dollars that could be given to established works in the field already with programs that are working with the people in need. Can you imagine what could be accomplished? Most important of all the world would see the church in action, God would be glorified, and millions would come to Christ.

As a closing observation I think the real issue with deciding to tithe is trust! Can I really trust God to do what He says I should do, and at the same time, do I trust Him to do what He said He would do if I did?

The Old Testament prophet Malachi issued God’s challenge to Israel, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10.

Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38.

The lesson that strikes me from both of the verses may not be what you would expect. You see it is not just those in need whoTithing Slide miss the blessing of the tithe, it the one who does not tithe that misses the promised blessings of God.

That is why I say that the real issue is trust. Can I really trust God to do what He said He would do if I do what He said I should do?

If you think that the case for tithing has been overstated Mike here are facts that show the reality of how the church is actually giving today. Christians are giving at a 2.5% per capita or tithe.  During the Great Depression, they gave at a 3.3% rate.  Today, 33-50% of church members, those who claim they have bought in at a deep level to your ministry, give nothing.”

Not feeling blessed today? Could this be the at least a part of the reason?

Mike closes his article with three helpful suggestions. Click here to read the original article: