Clean water will change their today, but the living water of Jesus Christ will change their eternity.
Africa’s water dilemma is not new… just increasing in intensity and impact.
For ninety years, the forerunners of The Africa Oasis Project saw the need for clean, available water and frequently participated in providing it.
With burgeoning population statistics, and an ever-increasing crisis mode concerning water, the forces of Assemblies of God World Missions – Africa and the national churches of the Africa Assemblies of God Alliance – AAGA, joined forces to confront the issue squarely.
Mounting a continental effort in a land area 3½ times more expansive than the continental United States is always complex. An investment of time and resources is always an up-front issue in getting started. The documentation relative to AOP meetings, plans and actions certainly confirms the truth of that fact. Many years and much effort were invested, along with a few stops and starts along the way, to getting us to the point where we are today.
The key to understanding AOP is the term water interventions.
AOP drills many wells. Yet wells are not always the solution to a community’s water needs. Adequate rain water might meet the need if a collection and storage system can be arranged. Often times, when water is available, the issue is how to purify water, making it safe for consumption. A variety of filtering and storage systems can be assembled. Many times an important element of an effective water intervention is training in sanitation issues.
From the beginning, AOP has held to a philosophy that assessment and evaluation were essential rather than just running unrestrained in one direction, with one solution. Part of each project is some level of assessment by those involved locally, and frequently AOP staff as well.
The amazing grassroots network available to AOP, in the form of 45,000+ local churches – faith communities – provides incredible inroads. These local congregations become community touch points for accessing cities, towns, villages, and vast rural areas. Many times they are well-established, well-known, and well-received in their larger community, thus able to function as strong leaders in water intervention projects.
AOP is strongly committed in expressing the compassionate nature of Christ to hurting humanity. Teamed with local people and generous partners, the future is promising for a strong influence in resolving the dilemma of clean, safe and available water in Africa.
Steve Evans, assisted by his wife Glenda, serves as Team Leader for The Africa Oasis Project. The Evans are career missionaries since 1980 with the Assemblies of God, having served in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. Glenda is the daughter and grand-daughter of veteran missionaries (Pettenger’s) to Africa.
The Evans have long recognized the need for a project like AOP. According to Steve, “...I saw the need for water as soon as we arrived in Africa. Viewing a finished water project and seeing the joy on people’s faces as water comes to their village is an emotional moment that I never want to forget. It inspires us to keep bringing water to the thirsty people of Africa as we strive to bring them Jesus!”
Steve and Glenda make their residence in South Africa. They are proud parents of three boys, Mark, Scott and Todd, who all serve in various stateside ministries.”
Mark and Vickie Alexander previously served as Assemblies of God missionaries in South Africa. After several years in Kansas, they have returned to Africa to specifically focus on the 23 countries of West and Central Africa. They reside in Lomé, Togo.
Mark states “The Africa Oasis Project provides appropriate water solutions in each instance. In an arid area, where there is not water, we drill a well. If there are seasonal rains we set up a rainwater harvesting system to catch and retain the water in clean condition. If water is available but unsafe to drink, we may provide a water purification method for the people. The key is to respond appropriately in each instance.”
Vickie says, “Christians, those following tribal religions, and those of other religious groups all need clean water. We believe that clean water will change their today and Jesus, the Water of Life will change their eternity. We are committed to this type of holistic approach to sharing the compassion of Christ.”
The Alexanders have two children, Ryan and Cristi.