ELI considers it a special privilege to write a thank you to our friends and supporters. We want you to know that each thoughtful gift is gratefully received and carefully used. So, we were delightfully blessed to receive a thank you that said, "It is a joy to me to help even a little."
As we reflect on our ten years of ministry, we have persevered because the Lord encouraged us with gifts from those who wanted to help meet specific needs, and lay the foundation for the next steps on a journey that is still in progress. This month we highlight the incredible story of how a water well led to a mobile library program providing books and educational resources to thousands of children and adults, an adult literacy class and vocational training.
ZAMBIA - A Small Beginning in Susu
In 2015, ELI began working in Susu Village by sending several hundred books to the two room community school. Despite an enrollment of two hundred children, the school had only a few desks, a couple of benches and a blackboard, but no books for the children to read. These new books were treasures and the teachers found a few shelves to display the books around the perimeter of the rooms. During the night the books were locked in the teacher's office. It wasn't very long before people from communities further away learned of this small library, and walked long distances to borrow a book for two weeks. Hundreds of people enjoyed these books and not one was ever lost.
At the same time, ELI funded a small garden project to help provide a contribution to the operating costs of the library program, and to teach basic gardening skills to the students. Both children and teachers embraced this idea, and soon vegetables and three orange trees were flourishing.
Then disaster struck the village - the old pump for the water well broke and fell down the borehole. It couldn't be retrieved, so the village was without water. All non essential activities in the village ceased as everyone was needed to carry water from a stream several kilometers away which eventually dried to not more than a puddle. It was a very difficult time for the people, but they prayed, and ELI shared their need. A church in central California responded to this need and funded a new well. The miraculous story of the borehole drilling deserves a separate Good News, but it is enough to say that access to clean drinking water restored life to the village. The school and library re-opened and the crops began to grow again.
Mr. Kenneth, who at that time was the school's head teacher, had a brilliant idea. Instead of people having to walk long distances to the little library in the school, he would take the library to other villages. Using the village bicycle and carrying one box of books on the handle bars, the mobile library was born. ELI recognized the amazing potential of this strategy, and shared the need for a heavy duty bicycle with a bigger and stronger book box that could navigate challenging roads. The new (official Elizabeth's Library) bicycle was soon sharing books and educational resources with ten remote villages. As more distant village schools asked to be included on the route, a motorcycle was needed. ELI shared this need, and now a motorcycle travels to18 village schools and other destinations such as Mr. Benson's Farm Library. Over 9,000 children and adults are currently served by the Susu Mobile Library program.
Many thanks to Mr. Kenneth (now the ELI Zambia Director) and his management team. It takes a great amount of hard work and perseverance to plan and implement a program of this size. During the Covid19 pandemic, the mobile library was allowed to continue distributing library materials to the village schools. This amazing program was in place to keep educational resources and books circulating for such a time as this. God knew, and made a way.
BRUNELLI - aka Brunelli Literacy Ladies
Perseverance is the word that describes the determined and hard working Brunelli Literacy Ladies. These industrious graduates of the ELI literacy class planted and sold their large bean field to fund the purchase of a sewing machine and the salary of a tailoring instructor. Needing one more sewing machine, they became the Brunelli Farming Sisters; they cleared and prepared land to expand the banana plantation in exchange for another sewing machine. All of these efforts support their literacy programs, to make a way for them to support themselves and their families financially. Many of the women have expressed the desire to help their children with homework, now this is possible because they themselves know how to read and write.
Last month we launched our campaign to fund the purchase a parcel of land for the Susu farm. There are 150 mature mango trees growing on this property, with space to one day build a Christian high school. This need touched the heart of a US midwest farmer who donated a large gift! Only $3,000 is needed to fully fund this wonderful opportunity. Please prayerfully consider a designated gift to this project.
Let’s go for mangoes!
A Missionary's Heart
Our opening story began with the need for water, it is the life source for every living thing. ELI is very grateful for those who have donated to boreholes and pumps; nothing goes forward without water. The well becomes the life source for these rural villages, for both food production and meeting the needs of the families and livestock. ELI not only brings new wells to communities, but also the living water found in the Word of God. As the mobile library travels to destinations further away, Bibles are placed in the hands of those eager to read the Word for themselves and experience the life changing living water.
Jesus met a woman at a well and satisfied her thirst with these words, “But whoever drinks of the water I shall give will never thirst. But the water I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.”
ELI Board member
ELI currently has 22 boxes of books and educational resources, puzzles and supplies ready to ship, the cost for each box is $75. Please consider sponsoring a box of these needed resources that will be gleefully received by the children served by the mobile library program. Thank you!
As ELI celebrates our 10th birthday this year, please consider a special birthday gift as you read the stories throughout the year that bless you. ELI is a non-profit organization so your gifts are tax deductible! Have you considered becoming a regular monthly donor? One time gifts are also very appreciated. Thank you for the many ways you partner with us financially and in prayer.