History of the Organization
This ministry has a very humble beginning. The official date for the beginning of Living Water Christian Mission is October 9, 2002. However, the ground work for Living Water started three years prior to that. The first time it was described was a class assignment at Central Christian College of the Bible where Salonique was a student. At that time we had no name for it. Later the name came when Salonique was in the Seminary at Cincinnati Christian University. The name grew from an informal discussion based on a dire need for purified water in Gonaives, Haiti. Thus we called the ministry Living Water. The name has two implications: a spiritual and a physical. I will never forget that discussion in the basement of the Miamitown Church of Christ, just outside Cincinnati, Ohio.
Our number one concern after we received the vision of the ministry was a piece of property. When God showed us the place, the challenge was “raising the money.” At this point, we received the help of several friends who shared with us their wisdom and their material blessings. There were a lot of other people who prayed and gave so that we could purchase the land. So, in the fall of 2000 we paid off the 40,000 USD for the price of the land. In the summer of 2002, again with the advice, the prayers, and the financial contribution of a number of brothers and sisters, a wall around the land was completed.
The next project was to build a mini multi-purpose building. We started this endeavor in the fall of 2002. After months of fruitful efforts, we had a place to worship, to have our weekly meetings and to use for offices. The same building housed Living Water Christian School in the fall of 2003.
One of the memorable events of the year of 2003 was that we broke ground for our first school building. Richard and Carol Anderson of AIM came to Haiti to help us get started. Even though the building process was slow we did take some small steps forward. By September 2004 we had finished laying the block on the lower level before Hurricane Jeanne came on September 18.
Hurricanes and the City of Gonaives
People here remember three (3) major hurricanes: Jeanne (September 18th, 2004), Hanna (September 1st, 2008) and Ike (September 7th, 2008). These wicked hurricanes claimed many lives; washed away many homes; destroyed property and deposited tons of mud that had to be removed. In every case we faced the challenge of feeding people; rebuilding homes and walls; repurchasing materials for school, church and families so we could start over again.
Our acres of farm land have not produced anything close to what they used to produce before the last two Hurricanes. There is no way to escape the memories left by those Hurricanes. However, as a ministry, we praise God because God has protected everyone having ties with Living Water. All our students and our Church members survived. Again praise be to God.
The Campus for the Church Building
In the early days of Living Water we planned to build everything in one place. But, two years later, we realized that this was not possible. So the vision was broadened. We then bought 7 acres for the Bible College in 2004 and it has grown close to 10 acres now. In 2006, Brother Bill Fudge challenged us to find another property for the Church building we plan to build. Then we started to pray. Less than a week later we learned about a piece of land very close to the school that was for sale. After three months of fervent prayers, God used Kenai Christian Church and several other friends to provide all the money we needed to buy it. The obstacles that we faced after we finished to purchase the land were not small either. But with God we were, and we still are, “more than conquerors.” Two years later (2008), we built the wall around the 3 plus acres of land, but the Hurricanes Hanna and Ike destroyed the wall. We are still need to rebuild those walls.
It was tough to accept the fact that the wall, which cost us sixty thousands dollars, was flattened. But we saw the wonder of God even in that destruction. Incredibly the one piece of wall we needed to stay up did stay up to separate us from the government market. I told the members of the church if we believe that God provided the money we used to build the wall we should not have any regret. If we also believe that God knows everything, including that the two Hurricanes were going to come less than three months after completing the wall, we should have no regret. He knew what He was doing then and what He is doing now. I don’t. I give Him all the glory and honor that He deserves.