The Road to Kombari
By: Christine Albertini
How great is the God you serve that you would come from so far away to help us.
We drove for 11 hours to get there. The road was so bumpy, our brake line broke. Fortunately our trusty driver Azzi and Pete Lanser and Denny Bouma, the Business Affiliate from Zeeland, Michigan knew how to repair it. Jan Lanser and I sheltered from the blazing sun under a tree as cattle were herded by us. One big black bull got a bit too close for comfort.
It was all new to me and to Chinwe, our new Nigeria Partnership Manager, but it wasn’t new to Pete and Jan. It wasn’t new to Jeremiah Yongo either, who serves as Partners Worldwide Regional Partnership Manager for West Africa. They’ve been serving the people at the end of this road for many years.
And what is the work in this most remote part of Nigeria, the Eastern Kombari Region? Pete, Jan, Jeremiah, and the extended team from Zeeland have been planting Christian communities for nearly 11 years. I had the privilege of seeing those plantings flourish.
Water Wins has drilled over 400 wells in partnership with villages throughout this area. The village agrees to pay part of the cost of the drilling and most importantly agrees to maintain the well. With the wells, churches and schools are built, evangelists deployed, teachers trained.
Everywhere we went in this 500 square mile area, we saw women walking toward the wells to pump clean, cool, life-giving water into containers to be carried home. They learn the Gospel through bible stories told by well drillers, evangelists, and teachers. They heard of Rebekah’s hospitality at a well, leading to her marriage to Isaac and that marriage being part of the God’s plan to assure prosperity for His people. They learn through stories of the One True God. We sang Psalms with them, “The Lord is my Light and my salvation, of whom shall I be afraid.”
We got to meet the Chief who governs this area. After experiencing the benefits of the WaterWins work, he welcomed the group to continue in the holistic work of planting Christian communities, despite the fact that he is not a follower of Christ himself.
He said, “I’ve been Chief for 21 years and in all that time no one else has come to drill even one hole for us. Now I see the waters flow, I see the children in school and I know the future will be better. How great is the God you serve that you would come from far to help us.”