Smilie, who made the trip to Kenya to ordain Alex Mutua Komanze as the pastor and other ministers of a non-denominational church under the Healing Center’s auspice, discovered during his trip that the Africans in this area were in need of a water system to provide them clean water.
At the moment, Kenyans have to carry their jugs and other containers on hours-long trips to rivers to scoop their only water source, which is bacteria-laced and used to cook with as well as provide drinking water. The water has given people typhoid fever, among other illnesses, Smile said.
When Smilie left after that March trip, he was determined to change the water system there by working to have a well installed near the Katangi area of Kenya.
“The main purpose to get that water is a two-fold purpose,” Smilie said.
The physical purpose, he said, is so the residents in the area will not have to worry about diseases.
Because the well will be owned and operated by a religious organization, Smilie said his organization also will use it as a tool to bring religion to the people.
“The most exciting purpose is to use it to introduce them to Christ as the true living water,” Smilie said, explaining that the well would show people that Jesus Christ has the answer to their problems.
Smilie and his church have raised money for each part of the process and thus far, have located a site and had a hydrological study to determine the area had a significant reservoir of water. It is estimated to serve an approximately three-mile radius.
They raised $1,400 for the event, and Smilie thanked G&J Land and Marine Food Distributors, Cypress Point Fresh Market and Cannata’s Family Market, among others, for their donations.
Now, the next step is to purchase between 1 to 1.5 acres of land, estimated to cost about $1,800.
To raise the funds for the land, Healing Center church members are selling tickets for dinners on Saturday. The meals, which are $6 apiece, will consist of fried chicken and red beans. They will be served from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at The Healing Center (710 Third St., Morgan City). Tickets may be purchased on site.
He again thanked G&J and Cannata’s for their donations to this event.
After the land is secured — which Smilie said he is hoping will be complete by October — the next step will be to secure and install the well, estimated to cost approximately $15,000.
“Right now I have a couple of companies working on quotes on how much it’s going to take to do the well,” Smilie said.
The water is about 350 feet down in a natural, underground river. However, Smilie said the hydrological report concluded that it already has the necessary minerals needed for safe drinking and there is no worry about typhoid fever because it goes through its own natural filtering process.
“It would be just like going down to the Kentwood Spring in Kentwood, La., and tapping it straight” from its source, Smilie said.
Once the well is set up, it will be run for two to three days per week initially to cut down on electrical costs to pump the water.
Smilie said he is hopeful that over time, some of the wealthier residents, who can afford to have piping installed to pump the water to their homes, will do so. These residents would pay a monthly fee, which Smilie said would pay for the well’s maintenance as well as allow for it to be run all the time.
“None of this is overnight, unless I’m a millionaire,” Smilie said. “In that case, the well would have already been dug.”
If anyone is interested in donating to the project, Smilie said donations — which are tax deductible — can be submitted to the church via mail at Healing Stream Center, P.O. Box 774, Patterson, LA 70392. He asked that they mark their checks or slip a note inside informing the church of the purpose of the donation.
He said it is important to complete this project to fulfill Christ’s message that believers should do more than just love their brothers and sisters in word.
“I’m not just coming with word,” Smilie said of his project. “I’m also coming with action.”