Living Water in the Hills of Honduras

For over 27 years, Maria Elena Alvarez has dedicated her life to bringing faith and clean water to over 400 communities in rural Honduras

An estimated one million people in Honduras lack access to clean water. Maria Elena Alvarez and her husband, Arnoldo, have been working to change that statistic for more than 20 years by building clean water systems in conjunction with Impact Ministries and short-term missions groups who have joined them from around the world. To date, they've been able to bring clean water systems to more than 400 rural communities in Honduras.

Maria Elena with her sons and husband, Arnoldo
Image: Maria Elena Alvarez

Maria Elena with her sons and husband, Arnoldo

Approximately 1 million people lack access to clean water in Honduras. Here unfiltered water is used to wash hands and dishes after a meal in Los Cedros, Honduras.
Image: Allison J. Althoff

Approximately 1 million people lack access to clean water in Honduras. Here unfiltered water is used to wash hands and dishes after a meal in Los Cedros, Honduras.

The view of the Honduran countryside in Los Cedros
Image: Allison J. Althoff

The view of the Honduran countryside in Los Cedros

"The reason we continue to work on these projects is for the water, but more importantly for the relationships fostered between the Honduran communities and the missions groups," Maria Elena says.

Since 1987, Arnoldo has used his expertise as an agricultural engineer to identify terrain for clean water projects in the mountains, design the water systems, prepare the budgets, oversee community life as the short-term missions groups travel to rural Honduran communities, and then make sure the project is completed after the teams leave the communities. Maria Elena oversees the logistics, correspondence, promotion, and administrative work for the teams, carrying this work out from the office in her home since they met in September 1991. "God, in His perfect timing, opened wide doors to make this dream come true," Maria Elena says.

Born in Tela on the north coast of Honduras in 1953, Maria Elena grew up in an affluent, non-Christian home on a Chiquita banana compound. She went to Chiquita's English-speaking school until 8th grade when she continued her education in a private Catholic all-girls' high school in Wichita, Kansas. In 1976, she was recruited by the the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, D.C. After arriving in Washington, God led her to an intense, personal encounter with Jesus Christ through the ministry of International Students Incorporated (ISI) at 23.

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Allison J. Althoff

Allison J. Althoff is Today's Christian Woman's online editor. Follow her on Twitter @ajalthoff.

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