The below is an article from the son of Jackie Gallagher, DM and Robert Gallagher, KM who has volunteered with Watts of Love on a project in Mozambique. Through Annual Appeal funds donated by our generous members over the past two years (2014 and 2015), the Federal Association was able to award Watts of Love with grants totaling $40,000 for their work in Haiti.
Recall the old adage: "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Never have I seen the moral of this saying more faithfully lived out than with Watts of Love.
The organization, founded by a Catholic couple, Nancy and John Economou, delivers solar-powered flashlights to those in most need. So what? It's just light. But it's not just light. It is hope. It is love. And for those who need it most, it is a chance at a better life.
Each light is charged by a small, portable solar panel with a built-in USB port for charging small electronic devices, a radio, and an SD card reader. For those who want it, they are also given the New Testament audio book in their native language, which can be played through a speaker.
I recently went to Mozambique, one of the most impoverished nations, with Watts of Love and to deliver hundreds lights. The more I witnessed the culture and the poor living conditions of the average Mozambican, the more I came to understand just how powerfully light can transform the lives. I saw tribal leaders weep and I saw society's most castigated dance with joy. I saw love transforming lives.
One such life is that of Suzana, a 30-something widow with three beautiful children; Carla (8), Arseño (5), and Katalina (1). She, along with the other villagers who were deemed most in need, congregated for a translated explanation of how to use the light they were to receive. After coming to understand just how drastically their lives would change, they all sang and danced the praises of the Lord.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to personally deliver the light to her home. As is typical in Pemba, Mozambique, she had been spending about a dollar a day, $30 a month, on kerosene for light and the small amount of electricity required to charge her phone. But with a Watts of Love light (high-powered and long-lasting solar lights) that expense is eliminated, freeing $30 that Suzana can reinvest in her family each month. In Mozambique, that is enough money for two chickens or a goat.
In just a few months, Suzana will have an entire animal farm: a steady supply of meat, eggs, milk, and possibly even more income from selling the animal products. That doesn't even take into account the ability to work at night on clothes and crafts, which many villagers sell for a living, or the longer-term effects of her children being able to study after dark. All of this from the benefits of a single light.
After setting up the light, Suzana was eager to introduce my teammate and me to her uncle and aunt, who welcomed us with an offer of soup.
Among countless other personal revelations during the trip, it occurred to me that we call God supernatural. Etymologically, 'super' means above, but colloquially 'super' means very. I believe God is both. We see this most clearly exemplified in our savior, Jesus Christ, who is both fully divine and fully human. Whether by the words of a friend, by some internal inspiration, or the seemingly coincidental occurrences in our everyday lives, I believe we can readily find him in the natural. God is transforming lives both supernaturally and super naturally in this work.