Week 4
March 19-25

Ethel Gorden is a little girl with big dreams and a beautiful heart. She lives in Sabuli, Ghana, and the poverty there often makes life very hard.

Though Ethel is only in kindergarten, she talks of someday becoming a nurse so that she can care for others. She also loves to pray — and now, one of her most fervent prayers has been answered. Thanks to families like yours praying, fasting and giving during last year’s Lenten observance, this little girl and other children like her have access to clean water and a safe bathroom at school!

Ethel used to wake up anxious, fretting over the day ahead. As soon as her eyes opened each morning, she would hurry to help her family collect a little water at a distant well before class. Knowing she would find no water at school, she would also fill a small bottle for herself, taking only small sips to quench her nagging thirst throughout the day.

Your commitment to pray, fast and give over Lent will help children like Ethel in Ghana.

The school’s lack of bathroom facilities was another source of anxiety for Ethel. She said she felt “tortured” having to go into the bush, where she would have little privacy and risk encountering snakes. She dreaded the experience so much that she would either sit in class uncomfortably or sometimes miss school altogether. Her grades suffered as a result.

But today, Ethel says, “I am one of the happiest girls in school. I am so thankful to God!” She and the other students at her school see the clean water and safe latrine they now enjoy as indescribable blessings. They are deeply grateful they will no longer have to endure discomfort, embarrassment, extreme thirst and repeated bouts of waterborne disease.

Your family’s participation in this Lenten outreach will have a big impact on children like Ethel. This week’s reading is from 1 Samuel 16. In that passage, the prophet Nathan is on his way to anoint the next king of Israel from one of Jesse’s sons. God tells him, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b). God ultimately chose David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons, and Nathan anointed him as the next king of Israel. Why? His brothers were stronger and better looking, and had more life experience. But God saw David’s heart, and what he found there pleased the Lord.

God sees your heart too. He knows your desire to help children like Ethel and honor him. When you give with an open heart, no matter the size of the gift, the Lord is pleased!

First Reading from the Fourth Sunday of Lent

1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13b (NRSVCE)

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.”But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

Learning Corner

The hand-pump wells our partners drill to provide safe water are simple but effective. Each well averages a depth of 300 feet to get to the cleanest water possible. This illustration demonstrates what each well looks like on the inside.

Take Action: Make Your Own Water Pump

Go to our blog to learn how to make your own water pump. Click here

Family Discussion

1. What surprised you most about Ethel’s story?

2. Have you ever thought that your bathroom is a blessing? How did it make you feel that Ethel and the other children at her school didn’t have access to one?

3. God doesn’t look at our outward appearance. He looks at our hearts. How does that make you feel? How does it change the way you live?

Prayer for Those Who Go Without Clean Water

Lord, be with families who must spend hours a day searching for water. Answer their cries for relief by quenching their physical and spiritual thirst. I want to be an instrument of your mercy in making their lives better. May I never take the blessing of clean water for granted, and may I always be willing to share what I have with others. Open my heart to people who are spiritually thirsty too, and give me the courage to invite all to “come and drink” from the well of salvation offered through your Son, Jesus Christ. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.

Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2024, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.