Local youth group raises money for clean water project

Published 12:40 am Sunday, December 30, 2012


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — This Christmas season, motorists were met with a peculiar sight around Huntington, W.Va., as the youth group from Bethel Temple Assembly of God went on a 10-mile hike for missions.

Approximately 17 youth took turns carrying a cross and water buckets through downtown Huntington.

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According to the youth group’s leader, Lauren Johnson, the event was a Wise Men’s Walk.

“It commemorated the journey that the wise men took as they searched for the Messiah and to remind people of the real meaning of Christmas,” Johnson said. “But the main goal of the 10-mile hike was to raise money for the African Oasis Project of the Assemblies of God.

“It costs $10,000 to build a well in Africa. Every day, these people walk ten miles just to dip their buckets into dirty reservoirs filled with parasites and disease. They need water to live but it’s killing them.

“It took us five hours to walk the 10 miles,” she said. “We did it the day after the Newtown, Conn., school shootings. We were very sad and were praying for the families while we were walking. We made signs telling everyone to pray for them.”

Many drivers blew their car horns in support and waved as they passed the group of teens carrying their cross and water buckets. The teens even handed out free water bottles with the African Oasis Project information on the labels to passersby.

Individuals could sponsor the youth by pledging a certain amount per mile walked or by simply giving a donation. The youth group raised over $1,500 during the event.

They spent the entire year raising the money needed for the African Oasis Project through various fundraisers including two dinner theaters at the church, bake sales, even passing up the opportunity to go to National Fine Arts competition in order to give to missions.

“I’m very proud of them,” Johnson said. “They’ve worked so hard and God has blessed them because of their sacrifice.”

Anyone wishing to make a tax-deductible donation for the African Oasis Project can contact the church, Bethel Temple Assembly of God, 900 9th Street, Huntington, WV 25701.

For more information about upcoming youth projects, call the church office at (304) 523-3505 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Friday or visit www.btag.org.