Monarch Reformed Church "Water for Africa" Project
By Kaylee Zoeteman
Note from regional executive John Kapteyn: This story is one in which a small church shows it can make a big difference. Their story is not only about a well, but how this project made them and God’s love more visible in their own community and gave them a sense of direction. This is one big step in Monarch’s journey to being Transformed and Transforming. May this story encourage your church in its journey.
In August 2009, Monarch Reformed Church celebrated its centennial anniversary. Following the celebration the congregation wanted to keep the momentum going. That November, Daniel Zopoula from the organization Bridges of Hope came to the church to give an update. Bridges of Hope is a local (Lethbridge) organization whose mission is to “promote poverty relief and community empowerment amongst the poorest nations of the earth.” With a desire to keep our now hundred-year-old congregation focused and moving forward, the idea of partnering with Bridges of Hope resonated with the members.
By the end of the presentation a missions committee was created, with six (later growing to eight) integral members. A goal of $25,000 was set—$18,000 for a well, $3,500 for a latrine, and $3,500 for youth group missions. All the money was to be raised by November 30, 2011.
The missions committee was charged with organizing fundraisers that would help us meet our goal. Throughout the two years, the church put on numerous fundraisers, including a chicken supper and gospel concert, donation letters, homemade apple pie, ornamental/garden produce and garage sales, concessions, penny well, pop bottle collection, silent auctions, and church offerings.
On November 27, 2011—three days before our deadline—$25,000 had been raised and a cheque was presented to Bridges of Hope.
During the two years of fundraising, I learned about a medical outreach trip through Bridges of Hope. At the time I was going to school to be a respiratory therapist, and I’d wanted to go to Africa to help other people since I was a child; I didn’t hesitate to jump at this opportunity. In February 2012, I booked a plane ticket to Burkina Faso for the upcoming May.
In May 2012, I arrived in Burkina Faso with 17 others. We spent time in the hospitals and clinics in Ouagadougou, Lèo, and Boura, and also in the Children’s Center in Boura.
At the beginning of my trip I asked if it was possible to see the well that we had fundraised for. I was told as it had yet to be drilled, I probably would not see it. On May 28, my last day in Africa before flying home, I was asked if I would like to go and see the Monarch Reformed Church well, as drilling was to start that day. We journeyed to the village of Dakayes, two hours from where I was staying. When we arrived there was a crowd and a drilling truck.
I was so blessed to be able to see the drill bit begin to turn in that soil, drilling our well. A week after I arrived home, we found out the well was finished and that it was producing three cubic feet of water a minute—enough to supply the entire village and the surrounding area.
This past August we found out that the chief of the Dakayes village gave his tribe to Christ, in turn converting the entire village to Christianity. Little did we know the well was only the beginning.
Kaylee Zoeteman is a member of Monarch Reformed Church in Monarch, Alberta.