Serving God's People in Africa since 1868

Give the Gift of Sustainable Water in Nigeria

Christmas is more than a month away, yet the television commercials, advertisements for sales, and the push to find “the perfect gift” have been going strong since mid-October. Every year, the holiday shopping season seems to start earlier and earlier, and in the midst of the hectic pace and the chaos, we seem to lose sight of why we are even giving gifts. For example, I have a friend who buys gifts for nearly everyone she knows, because she doesn’t want to feel awkward if someone gives her something and she doesn’t have anything to give in return. I suppose a lot of us are like that.


"A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer."

Lucius Seneca, Roman Philosopher

Christmas is more than a month away, yet the television commercials, advertisements for sales, and the push to find “the perfect gift” have been going strong since mid-October. Every year, the holiday shopping season seems to start earlier and earlier, and in the midst of the hectic pace and the chaos, we seem to lose sight of why we are even giving gifts. For example, I have a friend who buys gifts for nearly everyone she knows, because she doesn’t want to feel awkward if someone gives her something and she doesn’t have anything to give in return. I suppose a lot of us are like that.

But when I read the quote from the ancient Roman writer, Seneca,
I am reminded that the reason for giving is just as important as the gift itself.
That is particularly true whenever our missionaries ask for our help.

Not long ago, I received a letter from one of our missionaries, Fr. Victor Shehu, who is working in Nigeria in West Africa. Fr. Victor had received word that one of the missions in his area — St. Francis Pastoral Area in the Diocese of Shendam — was without a reliable supply of safe drinking water.

“The Shendam Diocese was created about ten years ago,” Fr. Victor writes. “It is basically a rural diocese with most of the people working as poor farmers in the north of Nigeria. Few people have jobs that pay well enough that would provide them with anything more than the basic necessities of life. Most are barely getting by. Needless to say, as a church among the poor, it is nearly impossible for us to rely on the people here to pay for any major projects. So we must ask for help.

“The communities are mostly farming areas with people living without basic amenities like water and electricity. By far, though, what is most needed is water. It is water that sustains not only our lives, but our animals and crops as well. When we rely on water from streams and creeks, there is such a great risk of diseases! Additionally, the women and children who are responsible for fetching the water must often walk five or ten miles to get the water they need. I am hoping that there is some way you can help us!

As I read Fr. Victor’s letter, I could not help but think about how many of us will be giving gifts this Christmas without really considering why we are giving them.

Instead, perhaps we could consider reaching out to those who need water!

You have been such a generous and faithful supporter of our missionaries and those who lack even the most basic necessities of life. For all that you have done and continue to do — I cannot thank you enough! I also know that you care deeply about those less fortunate . . . those who have little or no water. Imagine what a gift from your heart will mean for them this Christmas season! Will you help?

First, you could help by using the water that we have in this country wisely! If we all take steps to conserve the water that we have on our planet, those who come after us — our children and grandchildren — will have what they need when the time comes. You can also encourage friends and neighbors to support water conservation efforts in your own community.

You can also help by sending a donation to support water projects like the one at the mission Fr. Victor wrote about in Nigeria. While we are hoping to raise at least $37,500 for this and other water projects through East and West Africa, ANY amount you can send will be a blessing. I know that you care about those who are suffering — and it is the intention of the gift that is most important! God bless you for your continued kindness.

 

Your Missionary Friend,

Denis P. Pringle
Director of Development