Filter of Hope
Imagine that instead of just turning on a tap or opening a bottle for a drink of water you had to haul water from sources outside your home—sources that are often dirty and filled with bacteria. What if the very water that should be life-giving has the potential to make you very ill or even cause your death? Most of us have a hard time picturing ourselves in that situation, but for so many people across the globe, that is their reality. One organization, Filter of Hope, is working to change that reality by sharing clean water and the love of Christ with those that need it most.
Filter of Hope, whose mission is “Clean Water for Life," began four years ago, but their leadership has been involved in international missions for over twenty years. Cheryl Ashurst, who recently began working with Filter of Hope, says “Almost ten years ago, the leadership team launched a missions organization that would be focused on total community transformation. They surveyed the people in these communities as to their greatest needs. They discovered that clean water was the #1 need, before job training, micro lending, or any other ways to improve their communities. The community needed a stable source of water.”
That need was the catalyst for the organization to work to find a sustainable water filter model that they could donate to these communities. Ashurst explains, “We first began with bio sand and ceramic filters before discovering the technology we are currently using. Once we discovered hollow fiber membrane technology, we began designing prototypes and configurations of filters that would best address the needs in third world environments. After two years of trial and error, we came up with the filter we are using today. We have continued to make small modifications to improve the flow rate, which is the amount of water generated by the filter, the life expectancy of the filter, and other factors. This household gravity-fed water filter requires no electricity and produces over 150 gallons of clean drinking water per day. It can also last up to ten years. We now have our filters in 62 countries across the world.”
The leadership of Filter of Hope is passionate about their mission and are accomplishing their vision of helping families break the cycle of poverty by giving them access to clean water, as well as providing opportunities for education and jobs. “I learned that in countries with extreme poverty the families bathe, cook, and drink from rivers and streams alongside cows and pigs. When I found out that 4,000 children die every day from drinking dirty water, and over 90% of those children are under the age of five, I couldn’t get that out of my mind,” says Ashurst. “I wanted to be a part of an organization that was making a difference. These filters are easy to assemble, user friendly, and low maintenance—all for only $40! We are all so blessed, and I am very thankful for all that God has given me. I take that for granted many times. Working with Filter of Hope reminds me how God is working and changing lives in such dramatic ways.”
Filter of Hope has a global impact on individuals and families, but also on the local churches in the countries they serve. “Through our model of working with and through local churches, not only are the filter recipients benefiting, but local churches benefit as well through partnering with Filter of Hope to reach their communities. In addition to the countries, the groups from the States that travel with us on the filter distribution/mission trips are also benefiting. Filter of Hope works with local churches in the States, other missions organizations, and schools—both high schools and universities—to take these trips. All these various groups are seeing direct benefit from these partnerships. Clean water means hope for the future.”
To be successful, Filter of Hope relies on their existing partnerships and is seeking to cultivate news ones as well. You can partner with them through a variety of ways. The first way is Community of Hope, which is where individuals, families, businesses, and corporations donate money on a monthly basis. The second is mission trips, where churches, schools, individuals, and groups commit to go on a Filter of Hope led mission trip and distribute filters. A third partnership is Kid’s Clean Water Project, where schools, churches, or other children’s groups can raise money to buy filters to be distributed on mission trips. Finally, churches, schools, or small groups can host a Water Day Campaign to raise awareness and money for filters.
“These partnerships allow us to continue to grow and strengthen our projects and programs carried out using our U.S. and international staff and missionaries. It is estimated that Filter of Hope will lead 1,400 to 1,500 people from schools, churches, etc., across America on short-term filter distribution trips in 2019,” says Ashurst. “There are so many ways to get involved with us! I would love to talk with you, your group, school, or church about how you can use your time, treasures, and/or talents to get clean water and the good news of the Gospel to people in need.”
You can contact Cheryl Ashurst at 334.224.8222 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can visit their website at www.filterofhope.org.