I had an epiphany in college: It isn’t the amazing things I did that brought meaning to my life as much as the amazing people I did them with.
I take that simple but important lesson with me into my work with EMI. I keep reminding myself that it isn’t the amazing projects that we accomplish that matter, but the people that we can impact along the way. Let me tell you about this amazing project EMI is doing, but more importantly let me tell you about the people that are impacted along the way. The support and prayers that you provide for our work at EMI has impact not just on the designs we do, but more significantly the lives we touch.
The Amazing Project
The irrigation system in the village of Guayabal, Dominican Republic has been inoperative for 14 years causing over 400 acres of village farmland to be lying fallow. This has caused tremendous hardship on the lifeblood of these villagers and their families. Over the last few years, EMI’s partnership with World Vision and this farming community has restored water, fruit, and life.
Since irrigation water was restored in late 2017, more than half of this area is now green with cultivation and fruit. The farming lands are once again green and fruitful, the pump equipment has been installed, the pipeline has been repaired, and farmers are learning more about how to plan and maintain drip-irrigation systems. The day the financial donors of the project visited, they were presented with a table full of fruit that the restored land had produced.
The Amazing People
“Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you’ve fed him for a lifetime.”
This steel tube is the lifeline for every green field in this village. It was built in the mid-70s but with no one in the community with the knowledge of how to maintain it, the pipeline fell into disrepair. EMI knew this could happen again unless those in the village could be trained how to maintain it. So EMI went beyond design and created training programs that empowered the farmers to steward this system. For example, an EMI volunteer helped a group of Guayabal’s farmers better understand the drip irrigation systems they are eager to employ – now that they have water again. Several men were trained in how to operate and safeguard the pumping equipment, while others were competently taught in welding to repair leaks in the steel pipeline.
Brothers and EMI volunteers Wil and Marv Kirchner developed the welding skills of six trainees from the community during a week of training.
The EMI team was also looking for spiritual fruit, planting seeds throughout the week as God gave opportunity. The people there had little idea of who Jesus is. They are lost in a culture of machismo and sexual promiscuity. One said that following God meant following the Ten Commandments, but he knew very well that he couldn’t keep them, neither did he know anyone who could.
It was surprising how open and receptive these men were to hearing something new, or being challenged to think differently about following Jesus. Each morning during the training program the team went deeper into Jesus’ parable of the sower from Matthew 13. The men from Guayabal said they didn’t know how to pray, so they were led into it. They said they didn’t have a Bible, so the EMI Team showed them how to get one on their phones. The opportunities to ask questions, to share Jesus’ stories, and to pray with people were exciting. We saw how God could bring life and fruit in them just as He has brought life and fruit in their fields.
This project shows how EMI’s Core Values of Design, Diversity, and Discipleship are brought together to change the lives of people around the world. Even though there is so much difficulty and hardship all around us, it is encouraging to know that we can still make a positive impact in the world. Together you and I are making a difference. Thank You!
“I welded 18 years ago but had no clue about electrode selection or what amperage to use. Now I understand how to correct and make adjustments if my welding is poor… I want you to know that I understood the story you told us this week about the seed and the soil. I am good soil and the seed will bear fruit – up to 90 times. I will share what I have learned in welding, and the word of God will give fruit in my life.”