January 9, 2012 | 8:53 a.m.
By Nicole Finsaas ’14
Honduras village children. (Photo courtesy of Agua Viva.)
In Honduras, a republic in Central America, 1.2 million people live without clean water. Women and children can spend up to six hours a day getting water, which is often polluted. The lack of clean water and sanitary latrines causes illness and death to countless Hondurans, especially those in rural areas.
Jay Substad ’88, Frank Carlson ’88, and Loren Kix ’88 didn’t really plan to reach out to Honduras, but as Substad says, “God just kept leading.” The three alums were led to form the nonprofit organization Agua Viva, which partners with Honduran communities to install clean water systems, but more importantly, to offer the gift of Living Water. “We go to a rural village in the southern Honduras and partner with them to build a clean water system,” says Substad, “but our primary purpose is to share with them about the Living Water, Jesus Christ.”
The organization makes two weeklong trips to Honduras each year, and so far has partnered with 14 different villages to build gravity-fed water systems and sanitary latrines.“It is a unique opportunity to live briefly among the very poor, get a taste of their culture, stretch ourselves, and rely on God in new ways,” explains Substad.
As they work alongside Honduran families, volunteers share the message of Jesus Christ, the Living Water. “While the gift of clean water greatly improves the recipients' lives, it is the message of Christ's redeeming love that is truly life-changing,” says the Agua Viva website.
This spring, Agua Viva will host a group of Bethel students in Honduras during a spring break missions trip. For more information on Agua Viva, visit www.aguavivaonline.org.