By Ken Camp
Missionaries from Venezuela learned how to drill water wells and maintain a simple drilling rig recently, thanks to a water ministry operated by Baptists in Texas.
At the Everything Jesus Ranch near Seguin, Texas, volunteers with Texas Baptist Men also taught the Venezuelans first aid, hygiene, sanitation, and how to filter and purify water.
After drilling two bore holes and hitting rock, the team moved to another part of the ranch, where they successfully drilled a 45-foot water well and poured a concrete pad around the casing.
“We let the Venezuelan group take it on, and I’m very confident they can go back home and drill wells now,” said Harold Patterson of Scroggins, Texas, vice president for TBM water ministries.
“They’re a wonderful group of young men and women,” he added, noting the Venezuelan missionaries include engineers, a college professor, pastors and students.
The 11 missionaries — enlisted by Paul Lozuk, who grew up as the child of missionary parents in Venezuela and returned there several years ago — are halfway through six months of training in the United States.
In addition to learning how to provide pure water sources, the missionaries are learning gardening, beekeeping, poultry farming and construction techniques in order to become self-sustaining church starters.
“The goal is teams of missionaries able to live basically off the land with minimum support from other sources,” Lozuk explained. “This could remove a major barrier that has prevented more missionaries from being sent out to places where people have never heard the gospel.”
When the 11 missionaries complete their training in Texas, they will return to Venezuela to teach other missionary teams what they learned, he said. Within seven years, Lozuk hopes to develop 35 training centers throughout Venezuela to equip self-sustaining missionary church starters.
“The ultimate goal is to plant dozens of new churches that will grow and plant more churches over the next few years in Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil and other countries in South and Central America,” he said.
TBM began work with Lozuk about three years ago, teaching people in remote areas how to purify river water with a filtration system. Last year, TBM provided 1,500 filters for distribution in Venezuela.