2021 C. Peters Costa Rica 5

How Paraclete’s own ‘MacGyver’ uses bicycle tires and Coke bottle caps to solve everyday problems

Meet Paraclete associate Cliff Peters. Some at Paraclete call him MacGyver. He’s also known as Approtechie, at least by his 33,000 subscribers on YouTube, and the people who have viewed his videos there over 14 million times.

This Canadian farm boy has built numerous inventions—none of which he’s bothered to put through the patent process. Fame and fortune—those are far from his mind. With his creations made of old bicycle tires or a Coke bottle cap, he just wants to help people in ways they can help themselves.

“Appropriate technology is sustainable, reproducible, simple, and inexpensive,” he said. “It’s easy to make things more complicated and more expensive. But try to make something simple and inexpensive using local parts, that’s sustainable and reproducible by the people themselves, that’s hard.”

Take Bolivia for example. One of their communities—the Highland Quechua Indians—were struggling with water issues. They had dug wells, but they were open, so the water was usually contaminated. The wells could be capped, but then how would they access the water with their buckets? Local hand pumps, the obvious solution, were expensive—about $300, or $1000 if you wanted a high-quality commercial pump—an exorbitant sum for this population.

“So, it took us two years of trying different ways of building a pump, using off-the-shelf parts,” said Peters. “I came up with a special piston valve using a piece of bicycle inner tube, and then the lower check valve used a coke bottle cap and a bit of rubber.”

The cost? Forty bucks for a typical installation. Or ten dollars for a DIY kit.

He also taught the villagers to copy his design and sell the pumps for profit, starting their own microenterprises.

And then there’s the village of Qhompuku where the Peters family lived for a time. The people had been getting their drinking water from an open waterhole, and experiencing many health problems. The men in the community and Peters worked together to install one of his pumps in a dry riverbed where the deep sand helped filter the water.

The problem isn’t always a lack of pumps, though. Short-term missions teams, for example, often install really nice pumps for rural communities. But, inevitably, the pumps eventually wear out and break. By then the missions team is long gone, leaving the repair of the pumps to communities who haven’t been prepared with access to spare parts, tools, and the skills to fix them.

“Pumps will sit there, broken, and likely never get repaired,” he said. “So, there are literally thousands of broken hand pumps all over the developing world. It’s really sad. On the other hand, if the people can build a pump themselves, then they can repair it themselves. That gives it a virtually indefinite lifetime, and that’s what I aim for.”

After spending seven years in Bolivia, Peters, his wife and his kids moved back to the States. He eventually took a position working at the Institute for Biblical Community Development (IBCD) in Arkansas, which was initially associated with John Brown University. He also mentored senior mechanical engineering students on how to build vehicles from scratch for a competition in Indianapolis. In 2009, the team took first place. They built a basic utility vehicle that is rugged, repairable, and generally suited for local cultures around the world.

“I think God has gifted me with ability to understand a lot of different things, mechanical things, technological things,” he said.

Or as his father put it, he was born, not with a silver spoon in his mouth, but with a ratchet wrench in his hand.

Over the years, he’s also enjoyed sharing the Gospel message with many who are interested. He’s earned that privilege by helping provide solutions to everyday problems. But he feels that, while discussing eternal matters is very important, simply helping has great value, too. He points to William Carey—one of history’s most legendary missionaries and considered the father of modern missions who brought practical inventions like the printing press and the steam engine to South Asia.

“All of those things are part of the mission package because we’re loving people in practical ways like Jesus did,” Peters said. “We’re sharing good news with them, in many ways. Sometimes it’s the cup of cold water or sometimes it’s a water pump, or perhaps a way to pasteurize water so it’s safe to drink by using a solar cooker, or helping them to build a small vehicle using a little diesel engine so that they can get their products to market.”

In 2008 the IBCD became independent of John Brown University, and Peters was prompted to join Paraclete to help support his ongoing ministry. He’s found Paraclete to be a great fit for him, and a wonderful source of ideas, friendships, and encouragement over the years.

Peters recently celebrated 38 years of marriage to his beautiful wife, Jeannie, and enjoys living near his three children and two grandchildren in NW Arkansas. He’s mostly retired now, except for the occasional trip to Latin America to help install water filters, or the phone call he gets from his church in Arkansas to repair something. Sometimes the call, though, comes for Approtechie from a student somewhere in the world needing help with a senior project, in the spirit of innovation that still excites him.

“They want to build one of my Stirling engines,” he said, “and make some improvements.”

To donate or learn more about Paraclete Associate Cliff Peters’ ministry, visit: https://www.paraclete.net/associate/cliff-peters/.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Our Mission

To come alongside Christian leaders around the world.


  • We serve as catalysts, without personal or institutional agendas.

  • We stay only as long as needed and welcome.

  • We view all our work as spiritual activity with eternal significance.

  • We promote effective and Godly stewardship of resources as a model for business and ministry.

  • We practice the accountability of planning and evaluating our work, and teach others to do the same.

Financial Information

Financial accountability is important to Paraclete.  We have been members of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) since 1998.  Our Financial Statements were audited for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 by a national, independent accounting firm.  Paraclete is registered for charitable solicitation in all states that require it.

2020 Financial Summary

Cash Donations
Other Revenue
Total Revenue
Total Expenses

Donor Privacy Policy

Paraclete Mission Group is committed to respecting the privacy of our donors. We provide this Donor Privacy Policy to inform you of the way we protect and use your information.

Information We Collect

  • Here are the types of donor information that we collect and maintain:
    Your contact information: name, organization/church, address, phone number, email address;
  • Your preference for which ministry your donation will be applied;
  • Your payment information: credit card and/or bank account information;
  • Information you choose to share with us: questions, comments, suggestions, how you learned of Paraclete, and;
  • Your communication preferences; e.g., to individuals who request it, we will send periodic mailings related to specific fund-raising appeals, prayer concerns, and newsletters.

How We Use Your Information

Paraclete Mission Group uses your information to help you complete a donation, communicate back to you, and update you on ministry activity and results. We use credit card numbers only for donation or payment processing.

How We Protect Your Information

We use industry standard safeguards to protect your information. We protect the security of credit card transactions using a number of measures such as encryption, access controls, network firewalls and physical security. Card numbers are never stored on our premises in any physical or electronic form. These measures make it extremely difficult for anyone to intercept the credit card information you send to us. When we work with other companies to process credit card transactions, those companies also use encryption and other security measures.

We Do Not Share Your Personal Information

Paraclete Mission Group will not sell, rent, trade or lease your personal information to other organizations. We hold the identity of donors confidentially. We will use your information only to further the ministry purposes of Paraclete Mission Group. We will not send you mailings on behalf of another organization.


Personal Information

Where you have provided your consent to us processing your personal data, you may withdraw this consent at any time. In addition, the Global Data Protection Regulations gives you the right, under certain circumstances:

  • to request in writing and securely obtain copies of the personal information we hold about you;
  • to correct or update your personal information held by us;
  • to request us to stop using your personal information for marketing purposes or for any other purpose where there is no legal requirement for continued processing;
  •  to object to profiling activities based on our legitimate interest;
  •  to request to have all personal data deleted (in the EEA only). To exercise any of these rights please contact privacy@paraclete.net .

Please tell Paraclete Mission Group as soon as any of your contact details change so that records can be kept up to date.

We will take reasonable steps to correct any of your information, which is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date.

Removing Your Name From Our Mailing List

We will honor your desire not to receive mail from us if that is your preference. Please contact us if you wish to be removed from our mailing list. Donors with an online account with Paraclete Mission Group can establish and change their communication preferences, print receipts, make one-time donations and set up recurring automatic donations. If you choose not to have an online account you have the same degree of control when you call or write to tell us of your preferences.

Contacting Us

If you have comments or questions about our donor privacy policy, please send us an email at info@paraclete.net or call us at (719) 302-2500.


Statement of Faith

We believe the Bible to be the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and His personal return in power and glory.

We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful man regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost, they that are saved unto the resurrection of life, and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

equal opportunity employment

It is the policy of Paraclete Mission Group not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in admission and access to, or treatment or employment in its program or activities. As a religious institution, Paraclete is permitted and reserves the right to prefer employees or prospective employees on the basis of religion.