ARTESIA (BNM) – West Main Baptist Church, Artesia, took action to restore water service at 23 homes in its community. Its local newspaper reported the action as the city halted further shutoffs during the pandemic.
The Carlsbad Current-Argus featured a story, April 2, related to COVID-19. The article's title was, "Artesia City Council Approves Moratorium on Utility Shut-Offs During COVID-19." On March 31, the Carlsbad city council had approved a 60-day moratorium to stop utility shutoffs during the pandemic.
The article indicated that social media played a part in meeting a need. About a week before the council’s action, an Artesia non-profit organization issued an appeal on Facebook. Clothed In Love requested help to pay water bills for 23 homes. After two months of non-payment, the city had cut off usage to the houses. The total amount due was $3,742.99.
The newspaper article mentioned that West Main Baptist Church, Artesia, contributed to the need. "One of our mission leaders saw the story on Facebook and called me to see what I thought about paying the bills," said Jason Kraft. Kraft pastors West Main Baptist Church. "This is the worst possible time for a family to be without water," Kraft said he thought. "We want people to be responsible and pay their bills. But, we also understand that some [people] are in a difficult situation," Kraft told the Current-Argus.
Kraft said he saw the need as an opportunity for the church to help the community. "The situation certainly fits within our vision to do mission work here at home," he said.
Kraft told the Baptist New Mexican that their members faithfully give to the church's mission projects. He said the mission fund provides for two trips a year to Ukraine and mission projects at home and abroad. "The mission team is always looking for a way to help their neighbors," he said.
Kraft contacted the proper authorities at Artesia City Hall. A check for $3,742.99 paid the accounts in full. The payment restored water service to 23 homes. "Above all things, our church would like to show our community the heart of Jesus," Kraft said.
Reprinted by permission of Mike Smith, Carlsbad Current-Argus. Smith is a member of West Main Baptist Church, Carlsbad. Joy Pittman contributed to this article.