Lizzie White can often be found driving up precarious mountain roads for hours at a time, followed by an arduous trek in order to reach rural communities in the Peruvian Andes – but it’s all in a day’s work for this dedicated mission worker.
Since 2014, Lizzie has used her skills as a water engineer to help improve the quality of life for hundreds of farmers and their families.
Lizzie is based in Abancay, a large town deep in the mountains, about five hours south of the city of Cusco – which was once capital of the Inca Empire – and runs her ministry in partnership with a local Peruvian organisation called AIDIA, which does community development work in rural areas, including Bible translation, church support and church planting.
“The villages are scattered around and quite remote,” says Lizzie. “They’re often high up in the mountains and although many have roads, the journey can take a couple of days.
“I accompany the local Quechua-speaking Christians from AIDIA on their trips and get to know the church (and the community gets to know me) before beginning my water teaching.”
Lizzie shows villagers how they can protect and maintain their water system properly to ensure water is clean. Parasites that lurk in unsafe drinking water cause a range of complaints, including anaemia, malnourishment and stomach upsets.
“I’ll also talk to individual families about how they can use water filters that remove microscopic parasites from drinking water in their homes,” she explains.
Her ministry helps to break down barriers and change attitudes in many areas where there’s been opposition to the church.
“The water ministry work that I do really helps people to see that the church is there to be a blessing to the community,” she adds.
“It’s a great encouragement to believe our work is making a difference, both in terms of healthy lifestyles and community relationships.
During her time on the field, Lizzie, who is supported by Barnabas Community Church, Shrewsbury, has developed good contacts with the regional Peruvian government, which is keen to prevent the health and economic difficulties created by poor water quality and sanitation and Lizzie is invited to teach water hygiene in schools and train district staff about the long-term benefits of water filters. In February, she set up a SIM project with AIDIA and currently, local believer Noemi is supporting her in the water ministry.
“We’ve been praying for this for many years because it means we can visit even more areas and the Peruvian Christians I train up will eventually be able to take over the work,” explains Lizzie.
“I’ve been happily using some large one-off donations to help cover the contribution to Noemi’s wages, travel and office costs, and to buy water filters, but these stored-up funds are due to run out at the end of this year, so I’m praying that people will prayerfully consider helping financially so even more rural communities can be reached.”
By Kerry Allan
Click here to support SIM’s Holistic Quechua Ministries, Abancay, (Project Number 91151) or call us on 01223 788288.
- For energy and safety as Lizzie undertakes demanding journeys.
- Give thanks for Noemi serving alongside Lizzie in delivering water, sanitation and hygiene training.
- For many Peruvians to respond to the Living Water and the promise of salvation through this SIM ministry.