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This is my present to you

April 18, 2022

This is my present to you

April 18, 2022

Wim watches villagers dance to celebrate the inauguration of a new well in their community“We are going to inaugurate a well today. Have you ever done that?” Henri* posed this simple question to Wim as they were driving down a rural West African road. Wim said that he had done that many times in Ecuador. Henri replied, “OK, you will inaugurate the well. ”Wim asked if he could share the Gospel and Henri replied he could—if he felt God calling him to.

Wim is a Reach Beyond missionary from the Netherlands who specializes in community development and clean water projects. He had just arrived in the country to provide training for Shining Light*, an indigenous ministry that Reach Beyond has partnered with on over two dozen clean water well projects.

The first to speak at the inauguration was the local pastor who is leading church planting efforts in that community. Then village leaders spoke. After that, the project manager from Shining Light shared, followed by Henri.

Wim recalled, “And then it was my turn to speak. It was being translated from English to the country language, then to the primary local language, and then into another language. So, I needed to keep my thoughts straight, because I didn't have notes or anything written down. I just spoke from my heart.

First buckets of clean water from a new well in West Africa.I shared about how the end of the project is like crossing a finish line. ‘We finally got there. We finally finished the project and now there is a finished well. But this well is also a starting line—it's a new day for them to start improving their health and their habits.’ And I connected that to the Gospel and said, ‘Water is just one of our problems. There will be new problems. There will be other problems that you're going to face. Why don't you start walking with Jesus today, because He will give you hope in this life.’ And I followed up with a simple question. While I was doing that, there was a lot of talk off to the side, but I needed to keep my concentration. So I finished with something like, ‘If anyone wants to start today to walk with Jesus, just let us know.’ and we continued with the inauguration.

Then Henri leaned over and told me that the tribal leader had just given his life to Jesus. My translator disappeared with the man so they could begin talking about what it meant to become a Jesus follower. They couldn’t do that in public in this community, so he was taken aside privately to begin follow up.”

Looking back, Wim says, “I had felt like I had no business being there. I only had three weeks to get ready for this trip. I don't speak any of the languages. I had never traveled to Sub-Saharan Africa. I had only been in the country for like a day and a half, most of which was spent in the car speaking English.

I had worked really hard in Ecuador. We sometimes spent six years working on a water project where nothing really happened—where we wouldn’t see anyone coming to know Jesus. And here it was pretty much the opposite.

But in this God said, ‘Oh, you matter to me. And that's why I will show you that it is important that we keep doing this.’ It was God telling me that there is a place for us to do ministry in Africa and that this is a part of His kingdom that he wants us to get involved in. So, for me, it was a confirmation. For them it was a confirmation. God arranged this inauguration of the well. He basically said, ‘This is my present to you.’ And I will rejoice in that. And I think that is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”