Calvary Baptist Church provides safe water to people in Mozambique
By Irene A. Harkleroad | Dec 13, 2022
Since 2016, Calvary Baptist Church in Lake Havasu City has provided more than 70 fresh-water wells in communities throughout Mozambique. The wells supply safe, life-sustaining water to over 65,000 people — more than the population of Lake Havasu City.
“Our members have really taken hold of the fact that this is a concrete way to bless a lot of people in a measurable, straight-forward way,” said Chad Garrison, Calvary’s lead pastor.
The project began when David Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Mission Network of Southern Baptists, invited Garrison to join him for a trip to Mozambique to teach pastors and preach.
As they prepared for the trip, the men asked John Dina, an International Mission Board missionary then serving in Mozambique, how Calvary could bless local pastors and leave a tangible reminder of God’s provision. Dina suggested a fresh-water well.
“Our mission team committed funds to provide one well,” Garrison said. “I shared the project with the church, and the idea just took off. The average well costs between $3,000 and $3,500. Before we left for Mozambique, our members had funded five wells.’
When Dina realized Calvary was funding wells, he arranged training for local pastors and church members and maintained oversight for the IMB.
Pastor Mauricio emerged as the leader of the well team project. He became so successful that the government now pays him to construct wells, because they are deemed better than the wells the government was building. He contracts with private companies, a process that blesses villages throughout the undeveloped parts of Mozambique by employing pastors and church members.
“A team of trained Mozambique Baptist pastors determines the location and priority of the wells,” Garrison said. “Our missionary still provides oversight and accountability. Wells are located in communities with a ministry presence and in unreached areas where the Gospel hasn’t been welcomed.”
The fresh-water wells open doors to opportunities to share the Living Water.
“Every time they put in a well, they lead people to Christ,” Garrison said.
In 2019, a small team from Calvary traveled to Mozambique to preach and visit well sites. The team included a very excited donor and some young adults who wanted to see what God was doing, to experience life in ministry and to take advantage of the opportunity to serve. Their report to the church encouraged even more donations.
“This is a God thing,” Garrison said. “It just took off. People give because they see the Gospel impact.”
The project was born out of a desire and commitment to be generous.
“Calvary has a culture of generosity, and generosity is contagious,” Garrison said. “When people know their money is going to be used well, they get behind it.”
Other than mission updates, the well project is not promoted.
“People got excited about the idea of being directly connected to the spread of the Gospel, to share the hope we have in Jesus Christ,” Garrison said.
Recently, Chris Nalls became the new IMB associate Central Africa Cluster leader in Mozambique. He has assumed responsibility for oversight of the well projects.
In October, Johnson and Garrison traveled to Africa to work with leaders of Baptist conventions in several African countries and with IMB missionaries. They also spent five days visiting some of the newest well sites and meeting with people who have benefited from Calvary’s generosity.
The people at Calvary love to celebrate the fact that they get to bless a lot of people in Jesus’ name.
There is currently enough money designated to build at least another 10 wells.
Irene A. Harkleroad, a freelance writer living in Carefree, is a member of Black Mountain Baptist Church, Cave Creek.