How many of us would think to start a church in our neighborhood, care for the needs of impoverished kids by starting a school for them, and then resource the community with fresh drinking water to reduce childhood deaths and disease? Well, that’s exactly what Maria Lopez has done who lives in a barrio in the Dominican Republic. Most people would look at Maria as a typical mother and grandmother and not think twice about her, but Maria is a servant leader who is transforming the lives of the people in her community, one life at a time.
I traveled to the DR a few weeks ago (9/29 to 10/3) and met Maria. I saw the water well that Gateway funded so Maria’s church could produce clean water for the community. Most people in this area can’t afford clean drinking water, so they drink polluted water which contains parasites and harmful bacteria. Some children and elderly have even died from drinking the water.
Because Gateway funded the well and filtration system, Maria’s church is able to provide clean, safe water at 1/3 of the cost. Clean water means that families who previously couldn’t afford water now have access and can use money to purchase food. Clean water means fewer children in the community are getting sick. The money from the sell of the water means education can be provided 175 kids who live in the barrio. These kids who had no hope for life outside of poverty are now receiving an education…they are seeing a tangible representation that Christ loves them…and they are beginning to put their trust in him.
This community transformation is happening because people like Maria have experienced life with Christ and she wants children and adults in her community to experience physical and spiritual healing. She’s living a life of impact!