By Grace Thornton
The Alabama Baptist
From Chris Bond’s office in Trussville, he can see exactly how much water is being pumped each day into a small village in Kenya.
It has only been a month so far, but already it has provided more than 12,000 gallons of clean drinking water for the town of about 1,000 people.
The pump is powered by a solar panel designed by Bond and installed on a recent trip. And he knows it’s still working, because it sends data back to him in real time.
“We use this data as a tool to make sure the system remains fully functional,” said Bond, a member of NorthPark Baptist Church, Trussville.
Africa has more than 50,000 wells that aren’t operational anymore because of problems ranging from dirty filters to parts that have broken and not been replaced, he said
“We see this as a problem and want to make sure that what we do has a lasting effect,” Bond said.
So he’s keeping an eye on it — just like he’s keeping an eye on dozens of other things he has designed as part of his ministry, Designs for Hope. Bond, an engineering teacher, started the ministry back in 2012 when he had the idea to build a kit that could charge a phone from power generated by a bicycle.
Helping pastors do ministry
He began to build more of these packs — which cost about $100 each to build — and take them to pastors in developing countries as a way to help them with their ministry. The kits can generate enough electricity to power a water purification system, charge a phone or run lights so that pastors can study the Bible or have church at night.
“A lot of times it’s really hard for them to do ministry based on the conditions in which they live,” he said. “Most are farmers and work during the daylight hours. With lights, they can have Bible studies or church at night.”
He’s kept up with the pastors over the years, and hearing how the ministry of Designs for Hope has changed their lives “is what keeps us motivated,” Bond said.
It’s not just battery packs — over the years, the nonprofit ministry has grown to encompass resources like solar panels and wells but also pastoral training and discipleship.
On their recent trip to Kenya, Designs for Hope led a three-day training for about 40 pastors.
“It’s so amazing to see how they grow in their understanding of God and their role as a minister of the gospel and how they actually flesh that out in their lives and ministry,” Bond said.
And the well that Bond’s team installed is not only pumping out fresh water — it’s making inroads for the gospel too, he said.
“They have nicknamed it Salvation Well, because there have been several salvations that have occurred while villagers are getting their water,” he said.
“It’s very motivating and rewarding to know that we are truly making a long-term impact on these partnerships.”
Stephen Hall, executive pastor at NorthPark Baptist, said that because of the ministry of Designs for Hope, people in tough areas are able to be stable — and with stability comes opportunities for the gospel message.
“The technology that God provides through Designs for Hope allows for significant changes in people’s lives,” he said.
“The ongoing presence of clean water and electrical power creates a continual reminder of the complete change that Christ brings into a life. Small villages in developing countries are being significantly changed.”
Designs for Hope sees physical needs, takes action in Jesus’ name
Over the past few years, as Chris Bond, executive director of Designs for Hope, has gone back and forth to Africa and other developing nations, he keeps seeing more needs — the kind of needs that an engineer can see solutions for.
So he kept building things. Battery packs. Solar-powered well monitoring systems (see story, page 1). There were so many projects that could open doors for the gospel.
And as partners stepped up to fund the projects, he began to realize that his biggest problem was time.
“We had money coming in for projects and ministry, but I was teaching school at the time,” Bond said. “I also have five kids and a wife and a church I’m involved in.”
So he began to work toward raising funds so the ministry could support him in full-time work.
“We just knew that in order to do what the Lord was calling us to do we needed at least one person, hopefully more soon, to be able to spend their life serving as a missionary for Designs for Hope,” Bond said.
And since July 1 he has been doing exactly that. He said he is excited to further develop the ministry partnerships that Designs for Hope has in Africa.
He’s also excited to come alongside churches that are taking missions trips to Africa and other places and offer them technology and resources they can take with them.
“If your church has ministries in the developing world, we can come alongside you and help you as you support the church in those areas,” he said.
Stephen Hall, executive pastor at NorthPark Baptist Church, Trussville, said he appreciates Bond’s heart to give disciple makers tools for ministry.
“Those tools include engineering solutions for real-life problems, such as the lack of electricity or clean water,” Hall said. “But that is not all they do. Designs for Hope also gives leaders tools for church planting and discipleship.
“They see physical needs and take action in the name of Jesus.” (Grace Thornton)
For more information, visit www.designsforhope.org.
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