A Samaritan’s Purse water, sanitation, and hygiene program has become the catalyst for spiritual harvest in local communities
More than 40 individuals have turned to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith in recent months through our water, sanitation, and hygiene program in Ikutha District, Kitui County, Kenya.
“The family of Christ is expanding,” said Phinehas Nkanatha, Kitui water, sanitation, and hygiene program manager.
In partnership with local Christian congregations, Samaritan’s Purse is establishing 26 church-based water user committees in the district, each designed to change the physical and spiritual health of their areas. Committees began forming in October 2014; members receive three days of training on hygiene and sanitation, water reforms and structures, and evangelism and discipleship. On a fourth day—at an appropriate field location—they receive a practical demonstration on latrine construction, the establishment of hand-washing stations, and the rehabilitation of boreholes.
At the end of their three-day training, committee members are commissioned to go to their neighbors to present both the Gospel and critical water and sanitation information during household visits. It’s a combination that makes sense and is changing the lives of families forever.
“Just as you cannot do without water, in the same vein, you cannot do without the Word of God,” said Pastor Daniel, a teacher-trainer for the program.
Pastor Robert, a committee member from the Kisiio area, received training in late February.
“Because I have been trained on how to identify a water source, I will assist my community on where and how to dig a well,” he said. “I’ll train them on how to use water and how to construct simple latrines and also I’ll tell them about the things of God.”
One critical aspect of our program is that we provide the committee members with a copy of the Bible in Kikamba or Swahili. Many locals in this impoverished region of southeastern Kenya consider Bibles expensive and hard to come by.
“Having a Bible with them is a big empowerment,” said Pastor Daniel, a water user committee trainer. “They can read in their home, and, when they go out, they can bring it with them. They have confidence because they are speaking the Word of God.”
Only Christ Has the Power
Ruth is a committee member for the Kivandeni area in Kitui County and has seen neighbors receive Christ as a result of her outreach. Her strategy is simple, according to Magdalene, one of those converted by Ruth’s ministry.
“When Ruth came to my house, she first told me, let us pray,” Magdalene said. “Then, after prayer, she took the Bible and read a verse [Philippians 4:4]. Then, she shared the Gospel, and I accepted it.”
Ruth then went on to tell Magdalene about how to treat water and also about the importance of hand washing, along with other hygiene information. Magdalene took that advice to heart and now her four girls are healthier.
“They used to have diarrhea and stomach problems, but now no longer,” she said.
In February 2015, Samaritan’s Purse presented Magdalene with her first Bible in Kikamba. She continues to attend church services with Ruth and is growing spiritually.
“I had involved myself in things that were not right, but when the Word of God was shared with me, I saw it best to follow Christ,” Magdalene said. “I saw those other things could not help me.
“I used to go see the witch doctors. I thought they were the ones who could help me. But, when I got saved, I knew it was only Christ who has the power.”
More Stories of New Faith
Tabitha is another neighbor who accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through Ruth’s witness.
“When I visited [Tabitha], I talked at large,” Ruth said. “She understood the meaning of salvation and got saved. She is now a born-again Christian.”
Soon after, Tabitha felt burdened for her husband, who lives and works in Nairobi, several hours away by car.
“I shared with my husband what Ruth had shared with us,” Tabitha said. “Then we shared with him that we got saved and have been going to church. We shared the difference between just being a churchgoer and being born again.”
Tabitha invited Ruth back to her home when her husband was visiting during the Christmas holidays. Ruth shared the Gospel with him and he was saved too. Tabitha and her five children are regularly worshipping at Ruth’s church now, and Samaritan’s Purse recently presented Tabitha with her first Bible. During the presentation, Tabitha said it was the first copy of the Bible she had ever held.
Eunice is another member of the Kivandeni committee who put into practice the training she received from Samaritan’s Purse—both on water issues and evangelism.
“Before, we had not been trained and we had not been given Bibles and we had not been sent,” she said.
Eunice led Mary and her three oldest children to the Lord. Mary had previously attended church with her but had stopped going.
“I had a special message to share with her about health and sanitation and also share the Gospel of Christ,” Eunice said.
Mary accepted the message.
“[Eunice] shared some texts from the Bible, and I felt convicted to give my life to Christ,” she said.
Mary said she has left “bad company” behind and now enjoys better relationships with her neighbors.
God is truly moving in Kitui County through our water, sanitation, and hygiene program.
“We thank Samaritan’s Purse because they have encouraged us to visit the households and spread the Gospel,” Ruth said.
Please continue to pray for our work as we bring clean water, training on sanitation and hygiene, and the Good News of Jesus Christ to people around the world.
Then [Jesus] said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade” (Mark 4:30–32, NKJV).