By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
Bible scriptures that refer to Jesus Christ as “the living water” aren’t lost on three Portales men who set up water purification systems and taught the Gospel recently in Nepal.
Charlie Crane, David McFadden and Claude Vigil spent nearly two weeks in the southwest part of Nepal during November, setting up portable water purification systems for homes in the economically depressed jungle region of the country, which is sandwiched between India and China. Most homes in the region have wells, but because of high levels of arsenic those wells can be unhealthy and even deadly.
The men said the ministry to Nepal encompasses lots of projects aimed at improving basic human needs and opening doors to teach the Gospel.
“Our intention is to use it like that — sharing water,” Crane said referring to the scriptural reference of Christ as “living water.”
For Crane, a member of FBC, it was his sixth trip to the country. McFadden, who is minister at FBC, was on his second trip, while Vigil, minister at New Testament Baptist Church, was on his first trip.
The water purification project has been going on for about a year, according to Crane.
“We’ve had reports coming back that some people’s health is improving drastically (since the units have been installed),” Crane said.
“And they line up to get the water.”
Crane said the filters they installed cost about $20, which is prohibitive to the people of Nepal.
“That’s pretty cheap for us, but for them their annual income is only about $300,” Crane said.
Crane said while this trip focused on installing the units in homes, on previous trips units have been installed in churches, schools and other public places.
The FBC got involved with the mission through Campus Crusade for Christ’s effort to translate the Jesus Film (a dramatized portrayal of Jesus’ life as told by the Gospel of Luke) into as many local languages as possible around the world. When the film was first shown in the region more than 5,000 turned out, said the three men.
Up until 1959, it was against the law to be a Christian in Nepal, according to Crane. He said it is still illegal to proselytize, but over the years, the ability of foreign missionaries to get in and teach there has ebbed and flowed.
While the men were in Nepal, at a student rally, they met an elderly lady, who they said was the only Christian in the area for more than eight years in the 1960s. She had previously been a member of the royal family and was disowned when she became a Christian.
“It was just a really beautiful thing for the only Christian in the community at one time, to speak to over 600 students,” McFadden said.
“It’s neat to see one woman whose faith has resulted in so much fruit.”
Crane said the next step in the water project is to try and set up someone in that region to manufacture the filters, providing permanent availability. He said it would also provide a small income to a resident in the impoverished area.