Living Waters for the World Mission Project

"the flow" Stories and News from Living Waters of the World

Living Waters for the World

Living Waters for the World mission teams empower their partners to provide clean,
sustainable water and health education for their communities.

The most precious natural resource on earth is clean, safe water, and many don't have it available. 780 million people around the world lack access to safe water, and 5,000 children die each day from preventable, waterborne illnesses. The magnitude of those numbers is beyond our grasp, when clean water is available to us, usually just steps away.

Living Waters for the World (LW), a global mission resource of the Synod of Living Waters, PCUSA, has been working for more than 20 years to provide sustainable, safe water to communities in need. The ministry fosters longterm, mutually beneficial relationships between volunteers and communities in need.
water system
LW serves communities that have only contaminated water available. It has developed a simple, safe, water-filtration system that is easy to install and maintain. The system is usually installed in a public building, such as a church or school, and is supervised by a committee from the community. LW teams and partners have installed and operate more than 835 safe-water systems in developing areas of the world.

In June 2015, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church joined LWW in its mission. We now partner with three Guatemalan churches so that the compassion and transforming love of Jesus might be shared with our global neighbors. Team members serve others in need, seeing new connections and making lasting friendships.

Mission Sites

Belen Presbyterian Church Belén (Bethlehem) Presbyterian Church

RCLPC partners with Belén (Bethlehem) Presbyterian Church in Jerez Village, a small community in the southwestern part of Guatemala. The people of Jerez Village have a well that provides water, although not safe, throughout the year. Before the installation of the water system, they traveled 6 miles to obtain safe water. Members of the Belén church constructed a building for the water system on land adjacent to the church.

Our partnership with the people of Belén began in January 2016 with a development trip to build a good relationship, assess and test the water, and make agreements for the water treatment system and educational experiences. Then in July 2016 we returned to teach our partners how to install the water system and instruct the children and families of the community about safe water and hygiene. Two sustainability visits to Jerez have followed to work together to ensure the sustainability of the water project and celebrate its success together.

Ciudad de Refugio

Ciudad de Refugiowell digging Ciudad de Refugio (City of Refuge), another Presbyterian church, is in the village of La Felicidad in the same region of Guatemala. The church is surrounded by tropical fruit trees and views of distant volcanoes. In February 2017 RCLPC and Ciudad de Refugio covenanted together for a water project. The people dug a well that yields a steady supply of water and prepared the room to hold the system. We returned in December 2017 to provide health and hygiene education to the community and install the water system.

Monte Los Olivos

Monte Los Olivos (Mount of Olives) is in El Chico, a small village on a strip of land between the Pacific Ocean and an estuary. It is located two hours by vehicle and 30 minutes by boat from the other partners. The well yields water during all but the driest stretches. With no source of electricity other than generators, the church benefitted from solar panels that provide enough electricity to run the water pump and provide some excess for other purposes. The water system and solar panels were installed and health education provided in October 2018.


Map of Guatemala We invite you to explore the opportunities described here, opening your heart and answering the call. You can support the Living Waters for the World project in a variety of ways.

Support At Home:

Become a Mission Team Leader:


Travel to Guatemala to work with our partners:


Fiesta Agua Viva is held at RCLPC on a Saturday afternoon in April. A celebration for clean water, Fiesta is an open house featuring musical entertainment, activities for children, a balloon artist, silent auction, and Latin American food. It is open to the community and accepts donations for the water projects. Church members and friends are the key to Fiesta's success-greeting guests, providing food, leading children's activities, helping in the kitchen, explaining the workings of the water system, donating items for the silent auction, setting up, decorating, cleaning up, and more. Please join us in this major fundraiser.

RCLPC Dinner Theater is a not-for-profit theater company that raises money for charities by presenting a full-scale dinner-theater production during the summer. We encourage Living Waters supporters to purchase tickets, invite friends and family, and enjoy a show. Dinner proceeds benefit the church's various mission programs, including Living Waters.

To make a financial gift to RCLPC's Living Waters Project, write "Living Waters" on the memo line of your check, and place it in the offering. All donations are tax-deductible, and 100% goes directly to the projects.

Contact Us

If you have questions or want to volunteer, contact a team member:

Sarah Kelewae, project leader -
Lois Johnson, project leader -
Jac Kelewae, water system installer -
Rick Johnson, health and hygiene trainer -
Cindy Theobald, project leader -
Living Waters for the World Mission
Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church
8505 Church Street
Crystal Lake, IL 60012


Q. What is Living Waters for the World?

A. Living Waters for the World (LWW) is the global mission resource of the Synod of Living Waters of the Presbyterian Church USA. Its mission is to serve as a resource to churches of all denominations, civic organizations, and others in mission, enabling them to share safe water with their partners in need. LWW has been working for more than 20 years to provide sustainable, safe water to communities. The ministry fosters longterm, mutually beneficial relationships between volunteers and communities in need.

Q. Where does LWW have installations?

A. LWW has installed more than 850 systems in 26 countries. Regional networks exist in 11 countries, where in-country LWW staff identify safe-water opportunities, bring partners together, and support the projects.

Q. Why did RCLPC decide that providing safe water was a ministry they wanted to be involved in?

A. 780 million people around the world lack access to safe water, and 5,000 children die each day from preventable, waterborne illnesses. That's one child every 20 seconds worldwide, a number too staggering for us to grasp. We can be part of the solution for God's people in need.

Q. How long has RCLPC been involved with LW?

A. A group of LWW team leaders was trained at Living Waters' "Clean Water U" in April 2015. The RCLPC Session approved LWW as a new mission project in June 2015.

Q. How does LW fit into the missions at RCLPC?

A. LWW is under the umbrella of the Mission Team and reports to them at each bi-monthly mission meeting.

Q. How did RCLPC choose to work with a community in Guatemala?

A. The need for safe water in Guatemala is great. While there are more than 200 completed installations, much work remains before all have access to safe water. Guatemala is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. More than half the population lives in poverty, with nearly a quarter of the population living on less than $2 per day. It has the lowest literacy rate in Central America. Children who have contracted waterborne diseases miss up to half of their schooling.

The support of Guatemalan coordinators and a technician ensure a successful partnership. Fox Valley Presbyterian Church, which has worked with LWW since 2007, and RCLPC have formed a Living Waters Partnership within the Presbytery to support and encourage each other.

Q. When is the next trip scheduled?

A. With three operating partners, we can now develop a predictable schedule for trips. Sustainability trips will be made in the winter each year. A covenanting trip can be made at any time new sites are waiting and the LWW project is ready to commit to a new water partner. Implementation trips, when a water system is installed and health education provided, will likely be made in the fall.

first bottles Q. How are the water systems sustained once they are installed?

A. We build together a system that is simple, sustainable, and affordable. We teach installers how to put in and maintain the system. We teach the local trainers to teach others in the community about safe water through health and hygiene education. The low-cost sale of their safe water allows the local operating partner to save funds for the purchase of replacement parts and filters. As part of our covenant with an operating partner, we agree to make return visits for three years, and likely many more as our relationship continues to grow.

Q. How can I donate to LW at RCLPC in support of this work?

A. To make a financial gift to RCLPC's LWW, write Living Waters on the memo line of your check, and place it in the offering. All donations are tax-deductible, and 100% goes directly to the projects.

Q. How can I get involved with the LW team at RCLPC?

A. Talk to a current team member: Mary Finch, Lois Johnson, Rick Johnson, Jac Kelewae, Sarah Kelewae, Ann Legg, Fred Neuschel, Andrea Pracht, Carol Richardson, Cindy Theobald, David Theobald, Ed Waters, Bill Weller.

Q. If I am interested in going on a trip, how do I get more information?

A. Contact one of the LW team members or Pastor John Dillon.