As the two men walked through the village, they noted destitution, poverty and another problem common to many communities: poor sanitation. Each home bore these same signs, which made it clear there were no suitable sanitation facilities, no toilets. Something needed to be done; the villagers couldn’t live like this. The two Gospel for Asia (GFA) missionaries then resolved on a plan to help these families.
Gospel for Asia (GFA) pastor Nikolos, his wife and their two sons lived and served in a rural village where the main source of income was daily labor, followed by farming. Most families barely made enough to keep themselves afloat. As it was, every single penny earned went for food and providing for any emergency needs. Anything else was completely out of the question—including toilets.
When Pastor Nikolos walked through his village, what he saw dismayed him. Without a designated and safe area to relieve themselves, the villagers used any private place they could find, which was normally the area around their homes. The unsanitary conditions were unfit for anyone to live in. But the environment was perfect for something: infection. Poor sanitation is a leading cause of diarrheal diseases, according to the World Health Organization—and diarrheal diseases are among the foremost causes of death in children. So not only did the villagers live in constant fear of disease, but when they relieved themselves at night, they also risked poisonous insects and venomous snakes.
The villagers couldn’t live like this, and Pastor Nikolos knew it.
Fighting off Disease, Despair
In response, the pastor put in a call to his leadership, who sent Gospel for Asia (GFA) pastor Jiles to help. Pastor Jiles leads the sanitation ministries in the area, and his job was to determine exactly how and in what capacity he and Pastor Nikolos could help the villagers. After the pastors’ walk-through, five families were identified as those who could benefit most from a toilet. With the recipients chosen, the pastors informed the families of what the workers were planning, much to the villagers’ joy. Then, construction began.
Once the toilets were completed, the families could not express their gratitude enough. Now, they would be able relieve themselves without fear of illness or infection. No more constantly living in anxiety; no more putting themselves at risk of venomous attacks in the dark. Now their homes and the immediate areas are cleaner, far less likely to spread disease.
The families thanked Pastor Nikolos, who in turn thanked his leadership and the sponsors who make such gifts to impoverished families possible. It is together that they can bring these families the relief they needed from poor hygiene, the protection they needed from animal attacks, and the dignity they deserve.