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Church raises $15k for Living Water World Missions

Living Water World Missions Treasurer Robert Lee and CEO Mark Vanciel visit with New Hope Presbyterian Church member Sam Kemp on Monday morning.

Staff photo by Zack Steen

By Zack Steen

zsteen@dailycorinthian.com

"We're able to minister to people through clean drinking water," said Sam Kemp, a member of New Hope Presbyterian Church in Biggersville.

The small 50-member church has made a big impact in Central American countries where clean drinking water isn't available. For more than 10 years, the church and its members have donated close to $4,000 a year to Living Water World Missions "" a nonprofit ministry that provides sustainable water purification systems to people in need throughout the world.

"New Hope has funded a system for awhile, but this year they really brought into this ministry," said Kemp, who attends the church with his wife Mary Dee. "The church encouraged members to give $45 each and before we knew it those 50 people or so had raised $15,000 for water systems that will provide clean drinking water for a generation of people in Guatemala."

Living Water World Missions founders Mark Vanciel and Robert Lee were in Alcorn County on Sunday and spoke with members of the New Hope family.

As CEO of the seven-year-old nonprofit, Vanciel said through the mission, teams are deployed throughout the world to install clean water filter systems that are designed to produce up to 300 gallons of clean drinking water per hour. Typically the water systems are installed in churches, orphanages, schools or medical clinics, and are capable of providing sufficient clean drinking water for an entire community. More than 15 million gallons of water has been provided since inception.

"In 2014, we began a partnership with Compassion International, a child sponsorship program, to install clean water systems in many of their sites in Guatemala," Vanciel told the Daily Corinthian. "Since then we have installed more than 77 water systems there."

Another 20 have been installed in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Haiti and Cuba.

According to Lee, the educational component is very important to the long term success of the systems.

"While a team is working to install a system in a community, we have another team working to educate the people of that community," he said. "Because water is so valuable in these countries, we teach that it should only be used to drink, brush teeth and cook."

Vanciel - who, along with the nine-person board, takes no salary or benefits from the nonprofit - said systems cost about $4,000 to install and can provide nonstop clean drinking water with only periodical filter changes.

"We agree to repair or replace anything that goes wrong in the system for the first three years. During that process we teach them how to operate a business and use this water in their communities to enhance the health of community," he said. "They are able to sell the water in the community at a reduced rate "" one everyone in the community can afford. With that money, they pay for the operation of the system."

The clean drinking water program grew from a ministry of the Presbyterian church, according to the CEO.

"We can't do the work we do without people like Sam and churches like New Hope," added Vanciel.

Kemp said the support and love shown by the New Hope congregation is unmatched.

"It's a giving church that not only gives to Living Water World, but also so many needs in the community," he said. "It there is a need that needs to be filled, New Hope seems to get it done."

(For more information, visit livingwaterworldmissions.org or contact 559-732-8334. New Hope Presbyterian Church is located at 499 County Road 513 in Rienzi. For more information, visit newhopepcusa.com.)