Local Non-profit Aid to COVID-19 in Guatemala

A local Visalia-based non-profit, Living Water World Missions, is funding and staffing the installation of at least three water purification systems in Guatemala at regional hospitals for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in that country.

Living Water World Missions (LWWM) was founded in Visalia in December 2012 after installing about a dozen water systems in Latin America.  To date, it has installed over 80 systems in Guatemala.  The organization is run mostly by volunteer board members in the U.S. with four employees in Guatemala who make up the staff of the Guatemalan non-profit Asociación Misión Mundial de Agua Viva.

One of the installations has already taken place in the city of Flores in the northeastern region of Petén and at least two more system installations are planned for the coming weeks.  These hospitals are being set-up for COVID-19 by the Guatemalan government, which reached out to the Guatemala branch of Living Water World Missions, known as ONG Asociación Misión Mundial de Agua Viva (AMMAV).  Made up of Guatemalan nationals, AMMAV will complete the installations in collaboration of the military personnel who are overseeing the construction and operation of these hospitals.  The water purification systems are being funded by U.S. donors of Living Water World Missions, in part through their 100 Family Challenge campaign.  This campaign invites people to set aside $3 a day for 15 days (May 1 – May 15) and seeks at least 100 donors to give the resulting $45 each to fund one of the water systems, which costs $4500.

CEO Mark Vanciel reflected that this opportunity was all at the direction of God’s will and was dropped into the laps of the AMMAV staff in Guatemala soon after shelter-in-place orders were begun in the United States and in Guatemala.  Both countries are heavily impacted by this crisis and there is much need everywhere.  Living Water World Missions believes God is calling them to help meet the need for clean water in the treatment of COVID-19 patients and in the wider communities striving to combat a public health crisis.  Preventing waterborne illness and keeping the general population healthy will play a large role in Guatemala’s ability to overcome this pandemic.

CEO Mark Vanciel, a retired county civil servant, devotes most of his waking hours as a volunteer to oversee the organization.  He is supported by board members, all volunteers, and one part-time administrative assistant.  It has no formal office space and thus little overhead in the United States.  Over 92% of contributions received go directly into the mission and humanitarian work in Latin America.

Outside Guatemala, LWWM supports partners in Cuba and has been involved with installations in Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico, Haiti, Colombia, and Peru as well.  The organization typically sends mission teams to Guatemala multiple times a year to install water purification systems at churches, schools, orphanages, or other community organizations.  Its mission is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the context of installing sustainable water purification systems wherever they are needed.  The systems installed by Living Water World Missions use filtration, microfiltration, and disinfection by ozone.  Each system can produce 300 gallons an hour in a batch system that costs approximately 1 cent per gallon to process.   In addition to installing a simple, efficient water purification system, the installation team will conduct health and hygiene education and training of the operation of the system.

Right now the usual schedule of installations conducted by U.S. and Guatemalan teams is on hold due to COVID-19.  But through its staff in Guatemala, Living Water World Missions is continuing its work of providing clean water to communities in need.  The systems being installed in COVID-19 hospitals will also provide clean water to the surrounding communities where it is desperately needed.  The organization hopes to resume regular installations at churches and schools as soon as it is safe to do so.  The CEO Mark Vanciel notes that there are many communities waiting for clean water in Guatemala and beyond.

You can find out more about Living Water World Missions or make a contribution to its 100 Family Challenge to fund COVID-19 hospitals in Guatemala on their website: www.livingwaterworldmissions.org.  You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

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