Retired Meridian physician among
Presbyterian missionaries in Brazil
WATER PROJECT Dr. A.M. "Bubba" Martin of Trinity Presbyterian Church opens spigot to test water from a water purification system installed at a preschool in the Sao Sebastiao neighborhood in Patos, Paraiba, in Brazil, by a group representing the Presbytery of Mississippi. SUBMITTED PHOTO
By Dr. A.M. Martin / special to The Star
July 3, 2004
On June 6, a group of 12 people from eight Presbyterian churches in the Presbytery of Mississippi left for a mission trip to Patos, Paraiba, Brazil, in the Northeastern part of Brazil, called the Sertao.
This group included churches in Bay St. Louis, Natchez, Port Gibson, Vicksburg, Jackson, Madison and Meridian. I am a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Meridian and was a team leader for this group.
Part of the trip was to attend a Mission Network Conference attended by about 45 Americans involved in mission partnerships within the Sertao region. Sertao is comprised of the Northeast Nine states in Brazil and about 32 Brazilian pastors and missionaries from this region, as well as the president, stated clerk and secretary of missions of the National Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil in Sao Paulo.
The Brazil Network Conference featured workshops and lectures relating to the various mission projects in the Sertao Project (pronounced sertaon), both past and present, and the potential for future mission partnerships in this Northeast region of Brazil, one of the most arid and poverty stricken and poorly evangelized regions in Brazil.
Meetings were held at the newly constructed First Presbyterian Church of Patos seating 350-plus and were tremendously informative.
The remainder of the trip was involved in the installation of a water purification system at a preschool in the Sao Sebastiao neighborhood in Patos. The unavailability of pure water is a major problem in this part of Brazil, in both urban and rural areas.
This part of the trip was tremendously successful in providing pure, clean water, utilizing clear water from a municipal source that had tested positive for coliform organisms, namely evidence of some sewerage contamination.
After installation of the water purification system, the water was determined to be pure and safe and was shared with about 60 adults and children both Brazilian and American with absolutely no adverse effects and with much excitement. The water was pure and tasted good.
This follows on the heals of a project by the Living Waters of the World (LWW) Committee of the Synod of Living Waters of the Presbyterian Church (USA), comprised of churches in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama.
In the past eight years, LWW has developed an easily assembled, easily maintained and totally effective water purification system that is easily adaptable to many water problem situations found in the various mission areas around the world. However, only 16 units had been installed by LWW between April 1996 and January 2004.
It became apparent that if pure water was to be provided in a significant way to the many people in need around the world, then this system for water purification would have to be shared with others involved in mission activities, both other Presbyterians and other denominations and organizations.
For this reason, the inaugural training workshop, called Clean Water U, was held March 17-21 of this year at Camp Hopewell just east of Oxford, Miss., and was attended by more than 50 participants.
The workshops included learning the fundamentals of field survey, water testing and partnership development; learning about health and hygiene and the water-borne germ causation of disease; and how to assemble a fully functioning water purification system, culminating in the production of pure water.
I participated in the workshop for assembling the water purification system and was the installation team leader on the Brazil trip. As a result of Clean Water U, an additional 14 water purification systems will be installed by the end of the year in other parts of the world by people other that the Living Water for the World Committee, including such places as Cambodia, South Africa, India, Guatemala as well as the system which the group from the Presbytery of Mississippi installed in Brazil.
There is no telling how many more systems will eventually be installed by just those who attended the inaugural session of Clean Water U.
But it doesn't stop there.
The next Clean Water U workshop will be held Sept. 15-19 at Camp Hopewell and is open to representatives from other denominations, organizations and individuals who want to learn more about successfully providing clean pure water in areas of mission activity in which they are already involved. The course fee is $300. Most of those in the Mississippi group attended one or the other of these three courses.
For further information, contact me at (601) 681-9333. I am also available to present a program on Clean Water U to other churches and organizations who would like to have additional information. The motto for this effort is: Jesus Christ is living water for our bodies and souls!
Dr. A.M. "Bubba" Martin is a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Meridian. He is a retired pathologist from Rush Medical Group.