On Nov. 30, Valley Forge Baptist Church in Collegeville will hosting the Share the Joy 5K Run and 1-mile Fun Walk, with the proceeds from the race going towards building free fresh water wells in Uganda, Africa. Missionary Lawrence Lantz, a member of Valley Forge Baptist Church, and his family have been living and working in Uganda for eight years. The Lantz family is currently back in America, and will return to Uganda in May with the money raised from the race to have wells built.
Lantz said that first the land where the wells will be built must be acquired, which can take several months, and then, depending on the amount of money raised from Share the Joy, the wells will be constructed. The well installation will be performed by an American non-governmental organization specializing in well digging and installation as a cost of $1500 per well. The wells will be hand-pumped, as there are often electricity shortages in the region of Teso, where Lantz has his mission. The hopes are to raise enough money to have wells built in two separate villages, where swamp water is readily available but clean water must be bought.
Lantz said he first went to Uganda because that is where God had opened the most doors for him as he looked to serve as a missionary in Africa. His first years in Teso were spent learning the language and customs – there are over 40 tribal languages spoken in the region – and Lantz was able to learn three of the most popular tongues from a local student who sat with him at a table for six hours a day going over the intricacies of the speech. Once he could speak he began to spread the Good Word to the people in the villages of Teso – where Bibles are very rare – often being the first white man to set foot in a village.
When he began teaching the lessons of Christianity to the people of Teso, it was under a shade tree, and now he preaches in a school where 30-35 adults and 50-60 children are present. He said that one of the most rewarding things is to hear the songs of faith in the native tongue, Ateso.
“It has been wonderful to empower and equip the people with faith,” said Lantz. “We are now at a point where I receive a lot of invitations to go to different villages. Building the wells will be another wonderful thing. They will be used every day by 2000-3000 people. It is a beautiful part of the world, equatorial Africa, but sometimes there are months without rain. Recently there was a dry season where there was no rain for four months. So access to clean water can be a real issue.”
The Share the Joy 5K and Fun Walk will take place on Nov. 30 at Lower Perkiomen Valley Park (just off the Oaks exit of 422). Registration is at 8:30 a.m. and the racing begins at 10 a.m. The cost to participate in the 5K is $15 and that includes a t-shirt and gift bag. The Fun Walk is free and walkers can pay $15 to receive t-shirt and gift bag. The event will be professionally timed and have an awards ceremony. Lantz and his family will be present and participating in the event and there will also be a short ‘thank you’ component offered by Lawrence Lantz during the awards ceremony.
Find out more about Share the Joy at http://thesharejoyrun.org/