Local LifePump Purchase Africa-Bound

by | Oct 3, 2021 | Columns, Darke County News, Features, Greenville

Peter Menke holds up the annual report for Design Outreach, manufacturer of the LifePump, of which the vision is to see marginalized and low-income communities transformed physically, economically and spiritually and its mission to alleviate global poverty through life-sustaining solutions. | Linda Moody Photo

Thanks to one local church and its congregation, a LifePump has been sent to Malawi, Africa, to make the water more bearable there.

“The LifePump will provide for drinking water, cleaning water and water for agricultural purposes,” said Peter Menke, a member of St. John Lutheran Church north of Greenville and a former pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Greenville for 14 years.

Menke serves on the stewardship committee at St. John.

“The chairman of the committee is Dr. Bill Osterbur, Menke said, “And, Bonnie Tryon and I also serve on it.”

The committee is sponsoring the program.

Menke said this is called the LifePump Project, with the pumps being manufactured by Design Outreach in Gahanna, Ohio.
“We sponsor two missionaries belonging to this organization,” he said. “They are Hugo VanDerWalt and his wife, Bre. Hugo is a graduate of Greenville High School and the Ohio State University School of Engineering. He met his wife on a mission trip in Haiti.”

According to Menke, one of Hugo’s professors is a part of Design Outreach, manufacturer of the LifePump.
“All of Design Outreach’s people are devout, born-again Christians. It is a Christian non-profit registered 501(3),” Menke said.
This LifePump is a mechanical handpump capable of drawing water from up to 150m (492) feet while other handpumps only reach 45-50m.

It was reported that about 700 to 800 million people do not have access to reliable and safe water and about 40 to 50 percent of all hand pumps ever installed are broken, usually breaking down within six months. The safest solution? the LifePump, because, with it, water drawn from deeper wells provide a cleaner source than dirty surface water, the company noted.

Hugo is helping establish and run the field office there as the director of Malawi Field engineering. He helps coordinate new pump installs and maintenance, disciple and train pump technicians and partner with the local governments and organizations for future projects.

“Bre and I will be one on this mission,” he said. “She will also help in running the field office and she will lead the coordination of international mission trips. She will also focus on ministering to the local women and children during pump installs/maintenance. We are both excited how we can use this mission work as a tool to spread the gospel and share about Jesus.”

Menke went on to say that there are 2.2 billion people in the world without clean, clear, fresh, potable water.

“There are now 15 pumps operational in Malawai,” he said. “The goal is 1,000. From manufacture to installation, cost is $15,000 per pump. St. John Lutheran already purchased one and are a few hundred dollars shy in purchasing a second pump.”
Menke, who already knew the VanDerWalts because of the church supporting the missionaries, said he and Osterbur made a presentation to the church.

“And they bought into this and embraced it,” he said. “A special, separate fund is set up in the budget.”

He went on, “A lot of engineering and an awful lot of research have gone into this thing. We would even like to buy more.”

Others outside the church interested in donating to the cause can put their donation in an envelope and send or take it to St. John Lutheran Church on State Route 121 just north of Greenville.

“This was all done when we didn’t have a senior pastor,” Menke said. “The interim pastor was Jess Abbott, a former Army chaplain. He is gone now and the pastor is Alliyah Greavor of South Dakota.”

Hugo and Bre VanDerWalt are serving as missionaries in Africa, where the LifePumps will be delivered. | Courtesy Photo
Here is what the LifePump looks like that is being sent from Ohio to Africa thanks to St. John Lutheran Church of Greenville. | Courtesy Photo

I am a Darke County native living in the Ansonia area with my son. I have been in journalism 50+ years and enjoy what I do.

Contact Darke County Now Media Correspondent Linda Moody @ lmoody@darkecountynow.com or 937-337-1955.

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