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Choctaw Associationís menís ministry provides running water to needy couplecomment (0)

October 4, 2012

By Grace Thornton

Imagine what it would be like for your faucets to run dry for four and a half years — to drink only bottled water, to bathe at a neighbor’s, to lack bathroom facilities.

Billy May could not fathom it when he heard it, either.

“The lady came into the food bank in Gilbertown, and she wanted to help out every week before she took her food home. She got to talking to my wife while she helped, and that’s when we found out that she and her husband hadn’t had running water in more than four years,” said May, director of Choctaw Baptist Association’s men’s ministry. “Their well had caved in, and they couldn’t afford to drill a new one.”

A new well would cost $10,000, he said, and the lady’s husband is disabled.

“Someone nearby was letting them come over and bathe, and someone else was hauling water to feed their farm animals,” May said. “They didn’t have access to water at their own house.”

‘We had to help them’

That just would not do, May said.

“We knew we had to help them out,” he said.

Franklin McLelland, director of missions for Choctaw Association, said he and May started the association’s men’s ministry a decade ago with the goal of helping the elderly and needy in the county.

“Our focus is to help senior adults who can’t afford to pay for things,” McLelland said. “We have a fund set up for that, and we buy the materials out of that fund and the men donate their time.”

And it did take some time.

“It took three months of talking to people in charge in their area to convince them to put a water meter in, but they still didn’t want to run a water line to her house,” May said.

The house was half a mile from the end of the nearest water line.

“More time elapsed before I could get someone to bury the water line for us,” he said.

But when the plans finally came together, he and seven other men got the water line down in two days.

“The lady is happy. She’s been happy now for about two months. And she still helps in the food bank, so we see her often,” said May, a member of Chappell Hill Baptist Church, Gilbertown.

He and the other men of Choctaw Association’s men’s ministry have gotten to see many people a little happier and a little closer to knowing God’s love personally over the past decade, he said.

“We’ve spent a lot of money and done a lot of work and enjoyed every bit of it,” May said. “It’s a poor county, and we’ve got a lot of people who are elderly and in need.”

The men have done repair work and countless other projects, as well as disaster relief. And every two weeks the food bank gives away a ton of food.

“The aim is to try to help people in need, no matter the age, and whatever that means,” McLelland said.

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