The following post comes from CBF partner church, First Baptist Church in Austin, Texas.
AUSTIN, TEXAS– This past Advent season, the congregation of First Baptist Church of Austin challenged themselves to “spend less, in order to give more.” In the generous spirit of a community that serves in love and compassion, First Austin members participated in an international movement called Advent Conspiracy, which was designed to help people slow down and experience a Christmas worth remembering.
By being more creative and spending wisely on gifts, First Austin members were able to follow Advent Conspiracy’s four basic tenets which include “Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, and Love All.” The church’s campaign this year was to participate in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s “Water for Hope” initiative, through Water is Life International, which builds clean water wells in Africa and Asia.
After learning that 1.1 billion people, mostly in sub-saharan Africa and South Asia, do not have safe drinking water and that each year more than 5 million people die from water-related diseases, FBC members chose to help some of the most impoverished communities in Ethiopia receive access to safe and sufficient water resources.
A standard water well through the “Water for Hope” program costs $6,000 to build, so First Austin members challenged themselves to raise $12,000 to build two wells. Excitement grew as the holiday season progressed, with reports each Sunday from Rev. Joe Bumbulis, Minister to Students and Missions, that the goal had been reached and funding for another well secured.
“Truly what made the “Water for Hope” campaign beautiful was the collective power shown in the many small gifts that were given,” Rev. Bumbulis said.
“Yes, there were some large gifts, but the majority of this campaign was carried by many small donations.”
By the end of the season, the church raised almost $42,000 and enough money to purchase seven wells. Dr. Roger Paynter, Sr. Pastor of First Baptist Church of Austin, said “the true gift has been the transformation our church has experienced in giving and engaging our partners in this endeavor.”
For more information on CBF’s “Water for Hope” or the Water is Life International program, click here.