This past October, a LIFE team of five participants flew to Benin for a 10 day trip to experience the work of GAiN’s Water for Life Initiative (WFLI). The team immersed themselves in the hands-on work of the well process while engaging with the day-to-day activities and rhythms of village culture. The blend of manual labor, relationship building with villagers and time spent with the GAiN Benin staff all contributed to a deeper understanding and appreciation for what the Lord is doing through the water program.

During a typical day on the LIFE trip, the morning kicked off with team devotions and a quick breakfast before driving for about two hours into the villages. Once there, team members were enveloped in a series of activities, ranging from laying a cement pad to exploring the village to chatting with locals about how life has changed since receiving a well from GAiN. The GAiN Benin team served as guides throughout the trip, answering questions and demonstrating how different parts of the well process was done. 

“I found it staggering that the Benin GAiN team would go through all that hard work disguised as water suppliers while they really want to win souls for Jesus,” said Marius Schultz, a member of the LIFE team. “That is being disciples of Jesus on a different level!”

Frikkie Greyling, leader of the team, added, ““I was impressed with the dedication of the GAiN Benin team working under very difficult circumstances. They were always smiling.”

One of the greatest joys of the trip was witnessing a village receive clean water for the first time. All the children stayed home from school that day to watch as the GAiN Benin team put the finishing touches on the well, flushing out sand and installing the pipes. As big bursts of water exploded into the air, people gasped and women ran forward to fill their metal bowls.

The air was thick with anticipation and excitement,” said Sarah Rhea, a member of the LIFE team. “One woman we talked to said they used to walk two hours round trip to get water! Now there’s perfectly clean water right in the middle of their village. It’s such a relief for them.”

Later on that night, DRIME performed and the JESUS Film was shown, leading many people to give their hearts to the Lord. As people came forward to receive Christ, the pastor of the local church and members of the DRIME and GAiN Benin team prayed for and chatted with villagers about the gospel. Everyone was invited to attend the local church the following Sunday to continue the conversation of what becoming a Christian means. 

“The GAiN Benin team are so servant hearted and gospel motivated,” team member Sarah Overmyer shared. Seeing how the Benin team connected with members of the village so intentionally revealed GAiN’s heart to show the love and tenderness of Christ to all. 

Another key takeaway of the trip was forming relationships and memories with other members of the LIFE team. Going through long hot days and having the chance to lean on one another and debrief at the close of each day was a meaningful and helpful routine for the group.

“One of my highlights was definitely the team. We supported each other well and had a lot of fun together!” Sarah Overmyer said. 

The team all agreed there is nothing like witnessing the work of GAiN in person. From the beginning stages of seeing the drilling rig pound into the ground all the way to the moment when crystal clear water flows out of the well’s spout, there is an undeniable sense of clarity and awe. 

“You realize how stunning the gift of clean water really is,” Sarah Rhea shared. “It changes everything – health, relationships, how people spend their time. It finally clicks when you are there on the ground, watching it all happen.”

When I asked one of the boys where he went to school, he told me that the building was destroyed so there is no school for him to attend right now. I asked him if he liked going to school and he simply stated: “Medium.”

This somehow made me laugh because he was exactly like a 10-year-old boy was supposed to be: playing football and not liking school too much. At the same time, it made me sad to see how drastically the lives of these little boys have changed, and the fact that there was nothing I could do about it.

We sat there for a while, chatting through a translator app and sharing bread with their 7-year-old cousin who would only take a bite if I had one first. My poor Turkish made them laugh. In this small moment of peace and contentment, I hoped they could forget what they had been through even if it was only for a second.


One response to “Up Close and In Awe”

  1. Barbara Patterson says:

    The Lord is good and faithful. God bless you as you are His instruments as you bring, not only clean water, but the Living Water to those you serve. Barb

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All Stories