Clean Water Blesses Child Hope

On Aug 12, Scott DuPar, Junior High Pastor at Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara, travelled to Haiti with 17 junior high students and 8 adult helpers. This team had a specific mission for their week at Child Hope: the installation of a new water filtration system at the boys’ home.

Getting the kids to Haiti was actually the easy part, Scott said. The most challenging part of the trip was coordinating the various organizations that were working together to make the project possible and scheduling a time that would work for everyone.

The project was inspired by Hands4Others (H4O), a non-profit organization founded by local teenagers who had experienced poverty through travel outside America. Their vision is to help those in need by providing sustainable access to safe, drinkable water.

The youth group at Calvary Chapel worked with H40 to raise the almost $10,000 needed for the filtration system through activities such as walkathons. H40 in turn partnered with Water Missions International, an organization that works on water projects and that has experienced teams placed in many countries, including Haiti.

Original space for the systemWater Missions did all of the groundwork in Haiti. First they had to test the water at the boys’ home to verify that it was bad enough to qualify for one of their systems. Tests showed that it was indeed unsafe. Then they gave detailed instructions and plans for preparing the area where the filtration system would be installed.

2Kids The junior high students were given the task of building an 8” x 10” concrete platform.

First they had to mix gravel, sand, and cement to form the concrete. The students were broken into four teams of two that mixed almost 30 wheelbarrows of concrete.

Other students placed rebar to strengthen the area and then the final layer of concrete was laid and leveled. This work took most of the first Saturday they arrived.

Mixing Concrete  Leveling Concrete  Adding Rebar

On Monday morning, Water Missions arrived with the filtration system, which weighed over 600 lbs. It took some time and a few prayers to coordinate lifting the pieces of the system safely into place. Then the students put together the PVC pipe that would take the water from the cistern in the boy’s home to the filtration system. The end result: Clean, safe drinking water!

7System Complete

But this wasn’t the only result.  According to Scott, the highlight of the trip for him was seeing how God worked in the hearts of the students. The team had devotions every morning and evening and the kids had an opportunity to share what they were feeling. Many of them spoke about how they were convicted by the way they took their possessions for granted, that they appreciated their parents more, and didn’t want to ask for so much in the future. Scott said:

In youth ministry, sometimes you never get to see the fruit of your ministry, and other times the Lord delights you by letting you see huge amounts of fruitful growth. Our time in Haiti was this kind of delight.

The CCSB team came with a dual purpose. Scott wanted his students to experience missions and know first hand that God loves all people…that our material possessions are not a measure of His love for us.  But Scott also wanted to be a real blessing to Child Hope and their work in Haiti, so that the week wasn’t just focused on the experience of the visiting Americans.

This trip beautifully balanced these two goals. A group of junior high students had a transformative experience genuinely helping others. The water filtration system not only blessed Child Hope, but will also be a blessing to the community. Purchasing clean drinking water is expensive, and Child Hope may soon be able to supply the community with much less expensive water to use.

None of this happened by accident. The kids worked hard and invested in the success of the trip both in fundraising and spiritual preparation. Scott met with the group for training over a period of several months and focused on principles of hard work and serving. The students and their parents were required to sign a code of conduct for the mission trip, and the team was organized into “pods” of three or four students with an adult to ensure safety and accountability.

Knowing that they were one of a few–if not the only–junior high group that had travelled to Child Hope, Scott was especially concerned to set a good example so that others could experience this opportunity. In the end, he was proud of how hard his kids worked and how the Lord was able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all he could have asked or thought.” Eph. 3:20