Arnie Eastburn, President of Water4Life Mozambique, developed a real heart for missions after taking a mission trip to Mozambique in 2001. His passion led him to lead mission teams to Mozambique for 14 years, where he worked alongside missionary Orai Lehman, Vice President of Water4Life Mozambique.
Along with building churches in villages and working with the Jesus Film, when the mission teams consisted of pastors, they also taught at the Xai-Xai Bible College. As Bible students graduated, they went back to the northern provinces of Mozambique to plant churches, where congregations grew. People were growing spiritually but had illness and high mortality rate due to lack of accessible, drinkable water.
HOW we got started:
When Orai retired late 2013, both men felt like their work in Mozambique was not done. Arnie and Orai both had a passion to meet the needs of the whole person, both spiritual and physical.
With this in mind, Orai traveled to the people of northern Mozambique and asked, “What is your greatest need?” Resoundingly, they replied: “We need clean water.”
In 2014, we applied and received the status of non-profit 501c3. Shortly following, a distinguished Board of Directors were appointed to jointly oversee the activities of Water4Life Mozambique.
WHY there is a need:
In a country of 27 million people, 64% of the population, mainly in the rural areas, don’t have access to clean water. As a result, women and children walk miles to fetch dirty, contaminated water from water holes or rivers. Lack of nearby sanitary water contributes to lack of education for girls, waterborne diseases, inability to grow gardens for food, and a high mortality rate, especially in children under 5 years of age.
As most of the nonprofits are drilling wells in the southern region of Mozambique, Water4Life Mozambique decided to focus on the northern provinces which are some of the remotest and poorest areas in the country.
HOW Water4Life Mozambique is making a difference:
The "Water4Life" project benefits the poor in rural villages, where the average population is 750 people. In 2016, 16 new water wells were drilled in Maganja da Costa District, Zambezia province.
As a result of the new water wells, the life in the villages have changed in the following ways:
- Large reduction in waterborne diseases that so many families got sick or died from.
- No long and dangerous trips by women and children to gather dirty water (Some people are devoured by crocodiles in the rivers. One example is in the district of Mocuba where many people die by crocodile in the river Licungo in search of water to drink, wash, and bathe).
- Activities crucial to the family (ex: growing gardens) and village can be started and completed, since there is time in a day for other pursuits other than fetching water. The gift of time that a water well gives to a village cannot be overestimated.
- Reduction in absenteeism and even drop-outs in schools, prior to a water well in their villages, girls were sent to fetch water at long distances, returned late, and were absent from school.
- Increased numbers of members in churches on whose properties the wells have been drilled. The communities are turning out to in large numbers, praising the churches for the life-giving water.