Cause Champions: Clean Water Episode 3
Richard and Tara Baxter knew they wanted to reflect the gospel in and through their business, a family dental practice. Today, even a quick visit to their office will reveal their heart for God’s kingdom. Discover the story behind their choice to support neverthirst’s clean water projects and reach the unreached.
Tara Baxter: It was the mission of Neverthirst that really drew us in because we knew that there are massive spiritual, urgent needs in the world and massive physical, urgent needs in the world and Neverthirst so clearly does both of those things.
Tara Baxter: When we started our marriage, we were obviously both believers and knew that generosity was part of that. And that was something we had thought about.
Richard Baxter: So, we got… yeah, we met in Nashville in college, came down here for dental school and got married. We have three girls, kind of like Little House on the Prairie. And generosity…. I think with Neverthirst, it’s always interesting. I, I kind of use it. It’s so tangible, like the wells, it’s like we could do this or that, but that would be $3,000 or like, that would be $5,000 or whatever it is like for that much, we could do a well in this place.
So, like we could do a school wash project here, we could do a solar project here for that much, you know, like you almost measure things. It gives you a different way to measure dollar amounts when you look at it that way.
Tara Baxter: We want our office to reflect the understanding of the need for the gospel in the world. And the biggest way that we can do that while we’re here is with financial resources. So that’s why we called the Office Dentistry with a Mission. That’s why we named all of the rooms different continents because we never wanted it to be lost on us, why we were doing it.
Richard Baxter: So, each room is a different continent. It’s mainly for me, so I don’t forget because, you know, running around busy, it’s easy to forget how the rest of the world lives.
So first, we weren’t really sure how we wanted it to be for the global mission theme, but we want to be intentional about it and we’re very obvious about it. So, we play, you know, Christian music on the radio or on over the speakers. We have a big carpet out front that says the Great Commission on it. Our logo itself is like kids around the world.
So, we have a globe and a logo by the fish tank, we have all these little motifs kind of around. And then for the rooms individually, we thought we should do the continents. So, we kind of have a whole global missions theme. But inside those rooms we have pictures of kids from those areas. We have some paintings in Asia of some kids from India. So, we try to like tie it all together with like kids around the world and global missions together.
I tell the team members like the reason why we’re here, it’s not just to help kids, you know, have the best dental experience possible or help, you know, babies through adults thrive with the tongue tie procedure we do. It’s really more about like, hey, let’s do what we do here excellently so we can share with others around the world.
I think it’s David Brainard that said it originally like, Lord, let me make a difference for you that is utterly disproportionate to who I am. And so that was… I heard that in dental school and I was like, wow, that’s powerful. Like, you know, who are we? Like, we’ve been chosen like we’ve been adopted as children into God’s family, like, you know, we’ve been blessed with this. Like we didn’t choose where we were born. We don’t choose whatever, you know, gifts and talents that God gave to us. But we want to make sure we’re the most… we can use them to the best of our ability and, you know, not wasting them.
Tara Baxter: If you come in and share the gospel but aren’t actually showing that love by helping them with the felt need, it’s going to be harder to get through to their hearts. If you come in and show God’s love by meeting a very significant felt need that they have, then they are going to be more likely to be receptive to what you’re sharing with them.
So, I think that the most unkind thing we could do would be to come help them and not tell them the truth that they need for eternity, only help them with something that they need for this very small, finite time on earth. We know the key to eternity. So, we need to share that.
Richard Baxter: To do that, you know, there’s about 3 billion people, I think, that are still considered unreached. And that’s a conservative number. There’s much more than that. And so, to reach those places, you know, Neverthirst is obviously partnering with local churches on the ground and pastors and evangelists as well as local water ministries or people to drill wells that can provide clean water, safe water. All those things to make sure that it’s a holistic project and not just like, oh, just we just punched a hole in the ground and move on to the next village.
And I think like, Neverthirst, like they really make sure there’s the church planted nearby. So, it’s either in the village or like proximate so there are close by and so that they can always tie it in. So, it’s not like, okay, here’s Neverthirst coming in. It’s like, no, here’s the local church coming in. And there’s several organizations that kind of work like that.
But Neverthirst really prioritizes like, hey, let’s do it through the local body, because that’s the body that God has promised to bless. He says, I’m going to bless the local church. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. So, we’re going to go in with the church. We’re going to make sure that we’re doing a high-quality job. We’re not just doing some water project that’s going to fail in a couple of years…
Tara Baxter: Because in those kinds of settings, if you just go in and share the gospel, that’s great. But if there’s not a church there, then those people don’t have long term follow up and it’s going to be really difficult for them to really know God and know His word and become a multiplying disciple if there’s not a church there to support them.
Richard Baxter: People should know about Jesus… they’re going to die and spend eternity separated from God and that’s not okay. So, church planting efforts… discipleship….
Tara Baxter: It’s not hard to find horrible injustices in the world. You don’t have to look far. It’s very easy. So, find an organization that is meeting those felt needs and an organization that you know is following through with what they say they’re doing. And at the same time find an organization that is partnering that with the gospel.
Richard Baxter: We just hope and pray that the, I guess American church, would wake up and see the need, see the unreached people group need, the water crisis need, human trafficking needs, all the needs around us and do something about it. It seems that sometimes it’s so far away I guess on the other side of the ocean, like how could I possibly have an impact so far away?
It’s very easy. And that’s what we like. What is, you know, gospel centered organizations like they make it easy to deploy resources and make disciples among all the peoples. And so that is really nice to have a place you can give to confidently, because it takes a lot of cavities, you know, to pay for a well. And so, it’s really nice to have a place you can give to and trust and so I would just pray that we would all wake up as an American church and really live out our faith, as it says in the Bible.
You can be sure I will be with you always; I will continue with you until the end of the world. (And what is that promise?) That He will be with us until the end of the world?
Trey and April Cushman were faithfully generous to several causes, and then they got a personalized report back on their clean water impact in Nepal. Their generosity would lead them to champion clean water causes as their children came to understand the mission together with their parents.
Tom and Lois Gallardo did not always envision themselves rafting across a river in Nepal to visit a pastor they had never met. But after making a commitment to say yes to God, that is exactly where they found themselves. Neverthirst’s practical, sustainable, local impact has connected with their hearts and expanded their own vision of God’s kingdom.
Richard and Tara Baxter knew they wanted to reflect the gospel in and through their business, a family dental practice. Today, even a quick visit to their office will reveal their heart for God’s kingdom. Discover the story behind their choice to support neverthirst’s clean water projects.
The Baxter family, the Cushman family, and the Gallardo family all support neverthirst’s work to bring clean water and living water to unreached people around the world. We invited them to come together and discuss their shared passion for the cause.