The closest experience I had to someone needing water as a child was when a neighboring community was denied access to Lake Michigan. I grew up in northwest Indiana and any time I turned on the faucet, I had access to water. And these people I heard about, they had access to water somewhere, just not where mine came from. This little town at one point was boiling their water before drinking or using it because of some little bug found in it. Notice the abundance of details I can give you: basically none. I had water; I knew they could get water; I knew they had bugs; that was gross; I won’t go there.
A thoughtless decision.
Interesting twist in the story though. I married someone from that little town and we eventually moved there. And lived there for seven years. The bugs were said to be gone, but a few people still boiled their water and not very many drank water straight from the tap anymore. But no worries. Bottled water could be purchased at any store nearby.
A thoughtless decision.
I’m reading, Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie, the founder or TOMS. I love TOMS and have several pair of their shoes. Everyone in my family has at least one pair. Their philosopy is that for every item they sell, they give away one to someone in need. If you buy a pair of shoes, they give a pair of shoes. If you buy a shirt they give a shirt. If you buy this book I’m reading, they give a children’s book to someone. You get the idea.
Blake Mycoskie has turned a passion into giving away shoes into a way to inspire others to make meaningful decisions. In this book, there’s a story about the “method” brand of cleaning products. Honestly, I thought method was Target’s brand of soap. But no. Two guys had the bright idea to make cleaning products that were safe for the environment and safe for people. And they are helping people all over the place make meaningful decisions about what products they use in their homes.
It seems that Clay Church is making meaningful decisions about clean water. How did that happen? It began with a story and that story moved us. Then someone experienced that story and shared it with us. Pastor Herb and a few others from Clay Church spent some time last spring in Burkina Faso, Africa and brought home pictures like this. Pictures of beautiful little faces, who would maybe live to be six years old. Unless they have clean water.
Over the past few years, we have provided enought money to dig over 50 wells. Of which, five were funded by the FaithWorks! children. Next month, I have the opportunity to visit Burkina Faso with a team of United Methodist pastors. And on Christmas Eve, I challenged our FaithWorks! families to help dig one more well, so that while I’m there can present it to one of the villages we travel to. I want to be able to come home and say, “I met our friends! You know, the ones we helped have clean water! Look! Here’s a picture of the water you have given them!”
It brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat and a smile to my face to tell you that not only are the FaithWorks! children going to gift one more well to Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in Africa…we are going to provide a well in FOUR villages. Thank you so much for your generosity!
Our families do not make thoughtless decisions about helping others. We are making meaningful decisions. Decisions that say, “I care.” Decisions that say, “I have plenty.” Decisions that say, “I want your life to be better.” Decisions that say, “I may not know you, but I love you.”
I wonder if Jesus gets a tear in His eye and a lump in His throat and a smile on His face as He follows this story. Matthew 25:35-40 says that when we care for others, it’s as if we are helping Jesus himself. Think on that. Makes our story exponentially more meaningful.