A story of Transformative Mission Ministry in Panama by Larry Baird
Originally published in The First Edition, May 2015 Issue
The FUMC Adult Mission Team has been called by David and Cindy Ceballos, the missionaries we sponsor in Panama, to share God’s grace as disciples of Jesus Christ and partner with them on a water purification project. They have asked for our assistance in transforming the lives of persons living on the isle of Gobernadora, Panama. People in the village live without electricity and have only one source of drinking water and it is contaminated. The contaminated water causes frequent intestinal problems, and their children in particular have frequent occurrences of diarrhea.
Larry Baird traveled to Gobernadora and conducted a water assessment at the Ceballos’ request. He learned clean water could be provided to the residents of Gobernadora by using filtered rainwater that has been collected from the residents’ roofs.
The next step is for Larry and a team to travel to the island the week of August 23 to install collection and filtration systems which have previously been developed, designed, and successfully tested. The equipment along with gutters and cisterns will be installed on two houses. The families will assist with the installation and learn how to manage and filter their water. They will also learn how to maintain the systems.
Additional materials will be left for the islanders to install filtration systems independently on two additional homes according to the design used on the first two. The Ceballos will monitor the health of the families using filtered water from the first two homes. Our team will then return in early 2016 to review the DIY installations at the second two homes. If the systems are installed and working correctly, the island residents will enter into a covenant agreement with the Ceballos and our team to install additional systems, all funded by our team. The cost for water systems for these four homes is approximately $3080, and the United Methodist Men have shared $1300 from their 2014 fruit sale towards this ministry.
This is a continuing effort to fulfill our covenant relationship with the United Methodist Global Missions team in Santiago, Panama. We have a unique opportunity to share skilled labor and monies that will have a direct impact on the lives of people in the Ceballos’ ministry. By sharing God’s grace and being generous with our funds we have a wonderful privilege to be neighbors in relationship with those to whom David and Cindy minister each day.
Larry Baird leads our UMCOR ERT team and is a member of FUMC Georgetown.
If you would like more information about this project, please contact Larry Baird . If you are interested in learning more about our missionaries in Panama, please contact Ron Swain, our Director of Transformative Mission Ministries.