In ecologically distressed regions of the world, Christians can be “salt and light,” bringing a message of hope while working with the local people to identify and address environmental concerns that affect their health and environment.
It was for this purpose that Marah International was conceived. The name is derived from the miracle that takes place in Exodus 15:22-27, where Moses intercedes for his people and God heals the bitter, polluted waters of the spring at Marah.
Like Moses, Marah International seeks to be God’s agent of healing and restoration to those facing environmental crises as a result of ecological degradation. Marah International encourages the active participation of Christians and their churches on behalf of these regions through prayer, giving, stewardship, and involvement.
For example, Marah International has started ecology clubs for young people in Romania, where 20 percent of the rivers are degraded or lifeless from garbage, untreated sewage, or toxic materials.
On a hot, sunny, day in June 1998, 15 youth from the town of Sighisora gathered along the banks of the Tarnava Mare River to do something about the polluted waters in their community. Having started an ecology club with the help of a retired American chemistry professor just six months before, they were about to receive their first training about watersheds, stream ecology, and water pollution.
Over the next four weeks, the participants learned how to collect water samples and test them for the presence of pollutants with equipment donated by American companies. They collected and identified stream invertebrates, and learned which species could tolerate pollution. When the training was over, the participants vowed to monitor six local streams for one year, then report their results to the community.
A year later, Jonathan Twining, President of Marah International, stood on the banks of Cloasterf Brook, watching the Ecology Club cleaning up the polluted stream. As he looked on, Sam Golea told him how frustrated and ashamed he was that he and his fellow Romanians had choked their rivers with garbage.
Twining pointed to the part of the stream where the trash had not yet been removed. He told Golea to always remember how dirty that part of the stream appeared. Then he pointed to the section of stream where the garbage had been removed.
As Golea saw what had been accomplished in just a few hours, Twining told him to never forget how much of a difference he made to God’s creation in that one afternoon -- “And,” says Twining, “he never has.”
Marah International has started ecology clubs at high schools in other Romanian communities. In addition, the organization has provided training in environmental health for health care professionals in the U.S., Eastern Europe, and Latin America; taught solar cooking in Mozambique, and taught youth to become “Earth Healers” at Creation Care Camp at Ezekiel’s Place Retreat Center in Hedgesville, West Virginia.
“There are still many places in the world where the bitter waters still need to be healed,” Twining says. “God is looking for those who still recognize his power to heal the waters and will partner with him to bring hope and restoration to those most affected by environmental degradation.”
Adapted from an article by Jonathan Twining in Creation Care magazine, with information from the Marah International website.
Marah International, Inc.
309 Stillwater Road
Smithfield, RI 02917
Phone/Fax: (401) 231-2026
Midwestern Region -- Decatur, IL
Contact: Susan Hanks
Phone: (217) 233-4509