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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Missions Organization SCOREs Big with Water Systems

Agua pura, crystal clear pure water—that’s  what Joe Salvagni, a SCORE Missionary, is helping to provide in the Dominican Republic. Joe’s story began with one of his first trips to the DR when he was working in the village of El Pinon. At the end of the day, he went to drain water from a cooler where packets of clean water were stored for the volunteer workers. As he tipped the container, three boys yelled out in horror, “Pared” Stop! They came running over to him and begged him not to waste the clean water. Stunned, Joe consented as they ran over a mile home to get a container to hold what they considered a very precious commodity.

At that moment Joe’s thinking was transformed as God touched his heart. He knew he had to do something to bring purified water, something we take for granted, to the area. When he returned home, he immediately got together with his father who had just retired from thirty three years in the water authority system. Together they researched different systems and decided on one that utilized the reverse osmosis process, capable of producing a thousand gallons of purified, disease free water an hour, which makes it unique from others.

With the support of his church, Northside Baptist Church of Syracuse, New York, “Water at Work” ministries and SCORE International, Joe returned to the village and installed the first water house with a price ticket of $20,000. Yet Joe considered it well worth it to provide drinking water in an area where even large gallon jugs of bottled water, which many villagers cannot afford, have parasites living in it. That is the testimony of one of the pastor’s whose village, San Jose, now has a new water house installed. His children no longer have to drink water that made them sick since 100% of tap water in villages, towns and small cities is not potable. Where one of these reverse osmosis houses are located, thousands of gallons of clean water is available for bottling and distributed freely or for a nominal cost.

Since then Joe’s been on a mission to provide more towns with these water houses, which can serve both their own communities and others as well. With monetary, physical and spiritual support, Joe has installed seven more water houses and trained a team of Dominicans to keep things running smoothly and maintain the systems. A byproduct of this is providing locals jobs, which are desperately needed in the DR.

So how does the team decide where to install these wellsprings? Joe looks for places where clean water is desperately needed and unavailable. One such small city of 4,000 lost their entire water supply due to the government’s decision to divert the water to irrigate the sugar cane fields, the largest cash crop of the Dominican Republic. However, this left the villagers with no water at all. When Joe visited one day after a rain storm, he saw a little boy in the town scooping out muddy runoff with a plastic cup from the side of the road. It’s scenes like this that propel Joe Salvagni forward.

Joe doesn’t have to look far to find places in need of pure water in the Dominican. A girls’ orphanage, supported by SCORE, was his next stop. Before Joe and his team installed the purification system, all the girls had parasites and were unhealthy. When Joe learned this, he and his team went to work and installed another “house of living water.” Afterwards, the doctor examined the girls again and gave them a clean bill of health. That’s the miracle of clean water.
Mr. Salvagni’s latest project was inspired by an airport. As Joe was heading for a flight, which he often does, he saw an automatic water dispenser, which eliminates the need for bottled water. That was all he needed to give him the idea to install three of these, along with an ice machine to cool the water at the SCORE head quarters at Juan Dolio. This facility, which can house over a hundred twenty missionaries, will save them $30,000 a year. The savings are being funneled to help the community with its various projects around the small city.

          According to Mr. Salvagni most of the water houses are intentionally installed on church property so that villagers can not only receive physical, life giving water, but spiritual as well. He uses the story of the woman at the well as the guiding principle. “Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ ” Since Joe has been installing these living water houses many have been healed physically, but the greater benefit is that the Dominicans are seeing the love of Jesus Christ poured out in a tangible way and receiving Christ as their Savior. Though their physical need will lead them back to the water houses, their thirst for meaning and eternal life is quenched in Jesus. 

Those of us who accompanied Joe Salvagni on his recent Mission trip to the Dominican Republic can testify that all of this is true. SCORE has done much to alleviate unhealthy conditions and impure water in the DR besides helping to wipe out spiritual poverty, ignorance, prostitution and abandoned orphans. If you would like to learn more or donate to this cause click on Water Project.
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