Plumbing and Mission Work
Plumbing and mission work does not usually appear in the same conversation; however, with Minnesota West instructor, Travis Lorenz, both were put to work in one week. Lorenz who teaches the Plumbing Program on the Pipestone Campus participated in the Construction for Worldwide Evangelism (CWE) program this past February.
He traveled to Togo, West Africa to help build an aquaponics facility, which is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. This project required the help of experienced trades people including plumbers like Travis. The operation raises fish in tanks where the fish leave behind nitrogen rich products in the water. The nitrogen rich water is then circulated to the hydroponics part of the facility where the vegetable plants will extract the nutrients thus purifying the water to be used again in the aquaculture setting.
Lorenz was at the Togo project for the first week of the three week project setting the ground work of the plumbing requirements for the aquaponics facility. The project was built at the Baptists Blind Center and will be used for a training site for local communities as well as a financial and food resource for the center.
This was not the first project that Lorenz has volunteered for. “In 2008”, Lorenz said, “I had recently started working as an independent contractor. Business was going well and I was thankful to the Lord for that. So I thought I would do something to give back for all that I have received, and started looking on line for construction missions.” There were many opportunities for Lorenz but most required a greater time commitment than what a self-employed person could afford. Once he came across the CWE site and their need for a plumber to go to Costa Rica, he volunteered. The CWE divides each project into 3 or 4 one-week sessions to complete the construction of the project, allowing for individuals such as Lorenz to participate.
“That first trip was a life changing experience. I came back with a better perspective for what really matters in life,” stated Lorenz. His interaction with the other volunteers and learning of their experiences has aided in his personal and spiritual growth.
He said “Last summer, I went on what has been the most memorable trip. I volunteered to go to Haiti and help build a church. Their faith is incredible. CWE built a church next to the exiting church which was made of lumber, sticks and tarps, a dirt floor and small wooden benches.” Including that first trip, Lorenz has helped build seven different projects and has traveled to Costa Rica, Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Togo (twice) and Haiti. He also said, “I am thankful that Minnesota West has been great about supporting me in volunteering with CWE.”
CWE has a goal to evangelize and help the communities to be self-sustaining. More information about CWE can be found at their website at www.cwe-missions.org.