The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Water for life

Drip. Drip. Drip. You’re trying to get to sleep and the bathroom faucet won’t stop that intolerable drip. You put the pillow over your head.

Drip. Drip. Drip. You fervently hope another household member is also aggravated and will roll out of bed to try to stop the drip. You know it’s going to take a trip to the hardware store in the morning to really make it stop.

Do a few choice words wander across your tired brain? Or do you make a totally bizarre response and say a prayer of gratitude for the water that flows so freely into your home?

Dim Yen, 29, fans herself with a large green leaf as she stands in the doorway of her thatched home in a small village in central Cambodia. She waves to us as we perspire on the muddy road up to her house, which stands on stilts to protect it from frequent floods. When we’ve mounted the steep steps, Yen offers us water to quench our thirst. We respond with a typically North American phrase: “Thanks, we’re dying for a glass of water!”

“No,” she says, “We’re dying for a glass of water.”

The Lutheran World Federation came to her village four years ago to drill one deep well and teach about the necessity of clean water. Yen was selected to be the chair for the village’s water committee. She learned that in the rainy season it’s extra important to guard against waterborne disease. Today she continues to struggle with moms who scoop up water from ponds or rice paddies. The death rate among children under 5 due to diarrhea is astounding. Globally, 60 percent of infant deaths are linked to infectious and parasitic diseases, most of which are water-related.

Yen said that four years ago much of the standing water in her village was contaminated by human and animal feces. Washing your hands in the water only made them dirtier. Thanks to the LWF’s well, her village now has clean water—just a 10-minute walk from her house. Early each morning, she threads four buckets onto a long pole and makes that walk. She enjoys the morning sounds. Birds and monkeys chatter in the trees. The path is filled with other women with the same task. On the way home, she walks slowly, trying not to spill. At home she sets a pot of water over the fire. Soon she has hot water for tea, washing hands and faces, and cooking rice and a load of laundry.

Yen works with families, encouraging them not to let up in teaching children about safe drinking water. She regularly checks the safety of the well water and reports to a regional water board. Although the LWF is no longer in her village, she remembers us well and is thankful for this water for life.

In almost every country in which we work, the LWF has water projects. We dig wells, build dams, teach water purification and hygiene, and help build water catchment facilities. Because of the LWF, tens of thousands of families today have clean water.

This week's front page features:

The August issue of The Lutheran magazine is now available online.

'What sprinkler did you run through today': Ask an unexpected question and you’ll connect in a new way. (Photo at right.)

Pentecost calling: Nebraska congregation has an odd beginning, but is off to a good start.

Synod assemblies' actions are wide-ranging: Hunger, sexuality and immigration top concerns.

Religion and the public square: Making straight the wall of separation between church and state.

Also: Synod questions hospital decisions.

Also: Episcopalians to exercise restraint.

Also: Lutherans give aid to quake victims.

Read these articles at our front page > > >

This week in our discussion forums:

Join author Lauve H. Steenhuisen (right) in our discussion forums today through July 18 to discuss the Supreme Court and matters of church and state.

Steenhuisen teaches "Religion in America" at Georgetown University.

Haven't read the article? Consider checking out "Religion and the public square" before joining in.

Join the discussion > > >

This week on our blog:

Elizabeth Hunter writes about running into friends (old and new) at the annual Taste of Chicago festival.

Michael Watson (right) blogs about America's favorite pastime as played by six-year-olds.

Amber Leberman writes about the connection between dogs and faith.

Kathleen Kastilahn blogs about new words to a hymn commissioned for her grandson's baptism, but available for congregations everywhere to use.

Daniel Lehmann writes about the death of the family dog, Echo.

Julie Sevig blogs about the 40,000 souls converging in San Antonio for the ELCA Youth Gathering.

Check out our blog (and leave a comment) > > >

Going to the ELCA Youth Gathering?

Curt Peterson

Nicole Adamson
If you'll be at the ELCA Youth Gathering in San Antonio this week, be sure to look for members of The Lutheran staff.

Curt Peterson, The Lutheran's circulation marketing manager, will be there to talk to subscribers and non-subscribers about how the magazine can best meet their needs.

Nicole Adamson, The Lutheran's summer intern, is reporting on the event for the September issue of the magazine.

Be sure to say "hello" if you see Curt or Nicole.

Tell us! Reversing greed.

How does your family stay grounded in this crazy consumer culture?

For our November cover story, we’d like to know how you reverse greed in your home, especially if you have children or grandchildren.

Send your idea (100-200 words), with your name, congregation, city and state, to Elizabeth Hunter or The Lutheran, 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631, by Aug. 1.

Or respond on-line > > >

Subscribe to The Lutheran magazine:

Did you know: An individual subscription to The Lutheran magazine is only $15.95 a year and includes a Web Premium membership at no additional cost?

For only $15.95 you'll receive 12 issues of The Lutheran magazine in your mailbox. You'll also receive access to back issues' articles since 1996 and unlimited study guide downloads (regularly $3.50 each) at www.thelutheran.org.

(Congregational subscriptions begin at $7.95 and include Web Standard memberships. Call Augsburg Fortress, Publishers, for details about our congregational plans. 1-800-328-4648.)

Subscribe to The Lutheran > > >

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