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When a pastor at Highest Praise Worship Center urged his congregation to take a “corporate fast” and figure out what God’s purpose for their lives, Janet Baker and a group of woman all came to the same purpose.
“We had just been called to help women and their children. We just had a real heart for that,” Baker said.
Baker later shared with the woman something she had learned about while attending a Christian conference: Tribal communities in India and Africa do not have clean water, and the water that was available was often far away and in dangerous locations. The children who accompanied their mothers to the wells are often assaulted and sometimes killed along the way.
“These women can’t help it. They have to get water for their families,” Baker said. “Women are having to give their babies this diseased water and they know there’s a possibility it could kill children, but they have no choice because they have to have water.”
Baker and the women at Highest Praise decided to devote their efforts toward building wells and bringing clean water to those communities in India and Africa.
“I think it was just something that God put in our hearts all about the same time,” she said. “We formed a board and we just started trying to figure out how to do this. You’ve got a bunch of women in Shallotte, North Carolina, trying to figure out how to dig wells.”
The women formed the board of directors for Widow’s Mite Experience. They each researched ministries who focused on water distribution, but looked for a strict criteria: Every penny raised had to go toward digging wells; the ministry needed to prove its accountability; the group needed proof of where the well was dug and how many people it served; proof of an aftercare maintenance program and hygiene; and a local minister to be involved in the process.
“The only ministry that we found that met 100 percent of our criteria and more was Operation Blessings Living Water Project out of Virginia Beach, Va.,” Baker said. “They have been amazing to work with.”
Widow’s Mite began fundraising to pay for the wells in 2004 soon after the start of their ministry. The group has a different fundraiser is every year. It often includes an auction where women throughout the area donate items. The auctions are unique, Baker said. All items donated are of value and have special meaning to the owner.
“Whatever you give to the auction it needs to be something that really costs you; that’s what sacrificial giving is all about,” Baker said. “These are the best that women have that they are giving to this auction.”
In the four years Widow’s Mite has been having fundraising events and collecting money, it has raised enough to build 174 wells, which cost $1,000 each.
“Brunswick County is a unique county. I’ve never seen people with such giving hearts,” Baker said. “What they have given they probably won’t know until they get to heaven. But the Bible tells you if you give a cup of water in his name that you will not lose your reward.”
This year, Widow’s Mite will host the Southport Auction Extravaganza at 10 a.m. Sept. 20. at the Christian Ministry Center in Southport.
There will be a live and silent auction, boutique and lunch. Items to be auctioned include: vacations at Bald Head Island, Holden Beach and Myrtle Beach; golf packages, oriental rugs, silver, crystal, china, jewelry, antiques, flower arrangements and more.
For more information, visit www.widowsmiteexperience.com.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to do your Christmas shopping, because every penny of the money that you spend will make the lives of other people better,” Baker said. “And what other way can you celebrate the birth of Jesus more appropriately than changing the lives of women and children all over the world?”
Kathryn Jacewicz is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at email@example.com.