Tag Archives: well drilling

Two year tale of the well drilling project

For those wondering how the well drilling project is progressing and what the time table for it is, here's how it has gone until now and how we hope to see it go from here. This has been a very slow process, and I've definitely gotten impatient at points, but we're on the right track.

  • In 2007 and 2008, Global Frontier Missions raised the funds for buying a well drilling rig. While we were raising funds, the rig we were originally looking at almost doubled in price. So in 2008 Dave decided to build the rig himself and save us about $15,000 USD. He had to wait to start construction until finishing Mission Training School and spending a few months concentrating on language learning.
  • Late in 2008 and early in 2009 Dave bought most of the parts and materials for the well drilling rig and began construction on it.
  • After being at home for three months in the spring of 2009 for his daughter's wedding, Dave spent countless hours in the summer and fall building the well drilling rig. Throughout that process and in the time since we have had people visiting us wanting to know if we can drill them a well.
  • In December of 2009 Dave was able to fire up the rig for the first time and test it out. It worked well, but Dave realized we needed to order some more parts and make a few changes.
  • In January and February of this year, Dave made the necessary adjustments to the machine.
  • In February we started drilling our first well, this one at the GFM base. We used all our pipe going 43 meters deep, then decided we needed to go deeper. Dave also realized we needed to order a safety valve that would keep the drilling assistant (which has been me up to this point) from losing a finger. I thought that was a great idea.
  • The part got here in March, and we immediately found out we would need another part to make that one work properly.
  • The second part took a few more weeks to arrive, getting here in April.
  • In late April, we were able to start working on the base well again. The machine is now working very well, but we found out we needed a different type of bit to complete the job. (Anyone see why it's been hard for us not to get impatient during this process? The learning curve has been steep, but very valuable.)
  • Dave has to go to the U.S. for a couple of weeks right now, so he will bring down the new bit we need when he returns. We hope to finish the well at the base the last week of May. Then we hope to do a free well we owe someone and two wells that we get payed for during the month of June. It can take us a week or more to drill a well at this point, so if we're able to pull that off in June we'll feel really good about it.
  • My family and Dave and Rhonda plan to be in the United states for a lot of July and August. So when we get rolling again in late August into September, we hope to start drilling regularly and work on bringing one or two employees on board.

And now you know where we've been and where we're headed with well drilling!

What a well could mean to Josh

Monday I went to a village to investigate an area for a man I’ll call Josh who wants us to drill him a well. I enjoyed connecting with him. Josh is the kind of guy we want to help with our well project.

Josh has a wife and two young boys. When his youngest was a year old, he left them for several years to work in the United States. He returned with a bit of money in his pocket, but his family is still fairly strapped financially. He doesn’t want to go to the U.S. again and leave his family. If he can’t find a way to make a better living, though, he’s afraid he’ll have to go.

His village has a lot of underground water, but very little on the surface. A spring used to feed the water lines running to the houses in the village, but it is now virtually dry. During the six months of the year that it doesn’t rain, his family has to walk a kilometer away to bring water. While I was there, his aging father returned to the house with five gallons of water on his back, hung by a strap on his forehead.

Josh wants to help himself and his parents. He thinks if they could just have a good water source, he could work the fields and produce enough to support the family. Then he would not have to go to the United States again. I told him I thought this was a great idea. Imagine his boys spending the most formative years of their lives without a father and his wife struggling to make ends meet in difficult circumstances.

Josh and I had a nice talk on the ride back to our town. He thinks about ways to help people around here. He feels like people could better provide for themselves if they just had a little startup capital to get small businesses going. He had even thought about trying to earn enough money in the United States to give small, low-interest loans to people like himself for starting businesses.

The conversation stirred me, because we share the same burden. We are trying to establish the well drilling business to employ local men and raise startup funds for more businesses. I can definitely see us establishing a microloan bank at some point to help local entrepreneurs get up on their feet. I don’t want to keep seeing families destroyed and churches struggling because of men leaving for years at a time to work.

Will you pray about how God would use us in the transformation of these circumstances?

This photo isn’t great because I just snapped it for reference, but this is Josh’s parents’ house where we would drill the well.
Josh's House in the Village

The importance of economics

I’m increasingly convinced economics are a key to the spiritual transformation of our region.  A few thoughts:

  • The Bible talks more about money than any other subject except love.  It talks more about money than about heaven and hell combined.
  • The indigenous people here are in bondage to a spirit of poverty.  That doesn’t just mean they’re poor.  It means they stay poor because they have very little belief they’re capable of helping themselves.  Five hundred years after the Spanish conquest, they’re still a conquered people.  They largely have a mentality that other people owe them something.  Instead of taking initiative to improve their situation, they wait for handouts from the government and from charitable groups.  It’s a spiritual bondage.
  • In many villages, 50% (or more) of working age men are in the U.S. because the villages have no economy and most jobs in towns like ours don’t pay enough.  The men stay gone for years at a time.  This is having a devastating impact on the region.  Wives are trying to support and raise families as single parents, and thousands of kids are growing up without fathers.  Very young kids are being left at home alone for hours at a time while Mom works.  In many cases, a husband starts a new family in the U.S. and never returns.
  • This area has a wealthy class of small business owners who are doing quite well, but they don’t pay their employees enough to live on.  This is a spiritual problem (James 5:1-4).
  • What economy this region does have (because it’s not in abject poverty) is a house of cards.  It is entirely dependent on outside sources, those being government handouts and money earned in the U.S., Canada, or other parts of Mexico.  When the world economy collapses, our region will take it on the chin unless it begins to utilize its own natural resources more effectively.  (This is difficult, because the government owns rights to most of the natural resources.)
  • The villages are built on agriculture, but the agriculture is not doing well.  Corn is the king crop, yet villages are buying corn grown in other places from the government at subsidized prices.  The agriculture must improve.
  • Most churches in the region gravitate strongly to a model of having paid clergy (which is perfectly biblical).  The trouble is pastors aren’t getting paid nearly enough to support a family, so they’re leaving their churches to work in the U.S. and the churches are then falling apart.  One issue here is the churches believe they can’t be obedient in giving due to their poverty – another spiritual problem.  See the example of the Macedonian churches, whose “extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity” (2 Corinthians 8:1-4).
  • The other issue is the churches thinking their pastors should do all the work of the ministry since they’re being paid.  This is NOT biblical (Ephesians 4:11-13).  While churches are growing in obedience in giving, pastors could get more people involved in ministry and remove a huge stumbling block for the people by supporting themselves – IF they had good jobs with which to support themselves.

Those are some scattered thoughts; things that burden me as I look at our region and things that are affecting what we do.  If you’ve wondered where projects like a well drilling business fit into our church planting ministry, the above points are some of the pieces to the puzzle.

corn field