Nourishing body and spirit

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins of Inverness quench thirst all over Africa – both physically and spiritually.

The Wilkins founded By Provision Ministry in 2000, and have been drilling wells in Africa and around the world through the support of their home church, The Church at Brookhills, and other sponsors.

Their labor-intensive missions in 2005-2006 concentrated in Angola and Namibia. Over the years, the couple with help from American and native African volunteers drilled more than 60 freshwater wells, started two tilapia pond projects, developed filtration systems, created reservoirs, built houses and assembly buildings, and even cleared airstrips for small planes.

The ministry also brought in medical assistance for short-term projects and obtained and distributed medicine to clinics.

Frank James, one of By Provision&8217;s supporters, has been taking the ministry&8217;s cause around Shelby County, and is focusing specifically on area rotary clubs, which have a similar world outreach emphasis.

This year, Dr. Brandon Boggan, president of the Pelham/Alabaster Rotary Club, has committed to travel to Namibia and provide a dental care program in areas that By Provision serves. Boggan, who runs a dental practice in Pelham, already supports By Provision with financial support.

According to By Provision&8217;s written mission statement, it&8217;s objective is to create ownership in communities that agree to accept help, and two volunteers from each family group are required to assist in projects and provide continued leadership. By empowering those receiving aid, relationships are built and responsibility for the projects is developed within the community.

Yet the ministry doesn&8217;t stop once a well is built and responsibility passed on. Wherever they go, the Wilkins are dedicated to nourishing others spiritually.

They have built two churches, and after showing the Jesus film to several areas, 900 men and women joined a local church. By Provision has also ministered to those in prison, developed literacy projects and started three orphanage ministries in Namibia.

The Wilkins are continuing to serve in Angola and Namibia during 2007, and will receive teams of doctors and dentists and both native and non-native short-term missionaries.

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