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August 11, 1999






'Water of Life' headed for Mexico
___By Ken Camp
___Texas Baptist Communications
___More than a dozen rural villages in northern Mexico may soon have water wells, thanks to a partnership between Texas Baptists and other evangelical Christians.
___Texas Baptists' Christian Life Commission conceived the "Water of Life" initiative as a joint venture with the Evangelical Environmental Network, which is making a grant available for start-up funding.
___The well-drilling project involves the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the Frontera Baptist Association of Chihuahua-Coahuila, Big Bend Baptist Association and Mission Assist Team.
___Mission Assist Team is a non-profit missions support organization based in Nacogdoches. The group's president, David Campbell, is a private pilot who worked on projects with River Ministry, Texas Baptist Men, World Hunger Relief in Waco, and the Mexico missions ministries of First Baptist Church in Midland, where he served on staff for seven years.
___Using well-drilling equipment that Los Hermanos de la Frontera gave to the BGCT, Mission Assist Team will drill the wells in the area near San Miguel in northern Coahuila.
___"I want to see the equipment used to drill water wells in Mexico where a witness by local Baptists can be delivered and sustained," said Lynn Eckeberger, associate director of the BGCT State Missions Commission and former River Ministry director.
___The wells are to be drilled in 13 villages selected by Oscar Uranga of Los Alamos, president of Frontera Baptist Association of Chihuahua-Coahuila and representative for the National Baptist Convention of Mexico.
___Uranga chose the villages on the basis of their need both for drinking water and an evangelical presence.
___Lloyd Taylor of Van Horn, a Mission Service Corps volunteer with Big Bend Frontera and former director of Los Hermanos, will work closely with the well-drilling project.
___Campbell hopes the first well can be drilled in about a month, after Mission Assist Team receives final approval as a registered organization in Mexico and after transfer of title on the drilling rig from Los Hermanos to the BGCT is finalized.
___Texas Baptists have a history of well-drilling in Mexico. In 1968, the River Ministry dug its first water well in Porvenir, Chihuahua, financed by Sagamore Hill Baptist Church of Fort Worth.
___Concern for human and environmental justice prompted the CLC to bring together the various entities involved in the "Water of Life" initiative, according to Terri Morgan, special projects coordinator for the commission.
___"The Christian Life Commission approached this as a justice issue," said Morgan, a seminary student and former nursing professor. "We were drawn to it out of a commitment to creation stewardship, as well as a desire to address health concerns related to environmental degradation in the borderlands."

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