By Mike Midkiff, ETBU Public Relations
MARSHALL – A team of nine students from East Texas Baptist University spent their spring break in Belize ministering in partnership with Hope Springs Water. The Athens, Texas based ministry has a mission to provide safe water, sanitation, and public health education to developing countries.
“The purpose of the trip was to fix wells in villages so that people who live there could have clean water,” said sophomore Nycole Renfrow of Nederland.
In the village of Cirque Jute, ETBU students dug one water well 10 foot deeper. This deeper depth will keep water flowing during the dry season. Time was also spent cleaning out existing wells that were producing brown colored water.
“I helped to disassemble a well and put in clean pipes,” said junior Brinsley Chance of Port Neches. “After the rust was cleaned out the well began to pump clear water again.”
“The water that was coming out of some of the wells that we were able to repair and clean had bacteria in them such as E.coli, that was causing the children and families to become very ill,” said freshman Caitlin McAdam of Henderson. “We also reached out to some of the schools in the villages we visited to teach them sanitation skills in order for them to be healthy.”
“As we taught about personal hygiene, it was used as an opening to teach about the love of Christ,” added Renfrow.
This is the second year in a row that ETBU has sent a student team to Belize to help with the ministry of Hope Springs Water. The team also spent time with missionaries Bob and Rhonda Farley who are leaders at the Belize Training Center. The center houses groups who come to Belize to minister and the Farley’s also disciple new believers and train local church leaders.
McAdam had concerns about her role in Belize, “I was worried about what I was going to do and the ability not to reach out to the children in the way God needed me to,” she said. “But as soon as I started talking to the children, God gave me the just the right words to say to them.”
“I witnessed over 150 kids singing Jesus Loves Me, and I knew that the team had made a difference,” added McAdam.
Chance learned a valuable lesson concerning helping others while serving. “It is important to include the people of the community you are helping,” she shared. “Teach and show them so that when you are gone they can continue the work and teach others. This allows them to help their community themselves after they have been taught how.”
The students were accompanied on the trip by Dr. Lisa Seeley, ETBU Director of Global Education and the Great Commission Center, and her husband, Scott Seeley, who is the pastor of Nesbit Baptist Church.
“The people who live in Belize, were so extremely kind and caring,” said Renfrow. “To love on God’s people and to simply serve was very moving to me. Service is such a great way to show the love of our Savior.”
Also during spring break, ETBU students served locally in Marshall doing needed repairs on a home owned by a single mother with a young daughter, a Habitat for Humanity build through the national Collegiate Challenge in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and the Texas Baptist Student Ministry evangelistic outreach Beach Reach in South Padre Island.