"I Walk with Lucy"
Today is a special day for me. I have been aiming to check this one off my list for quite a while now... Since I graduated college about 3 years ago. Today I am flying with a bit of enthusiasm and anticipation to the beautiful country of Nicaragua. I look forward to sharing the photographs of the landscape, the smiles with the local residents, and the moments of Godly provision as two cultures and two perspectives collide into a beautiful dance. (Wireless will be spotty, but I aim to providing updates here where I can. you can also follow the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/liquidwatercom)
But those stories are still to come. Before I even leave here, I already have a story for you, about the organization I will be representing over this next week. Our flights into Managua, Nicaragua were connecting through Houston which just so happens to be the home and headquarters of Living Water International. Coincidentally, last night they held their annual fundraising gala in the beautiful Hilton Americas in the center of Houston so I flew down a day early I order to attend, to hear the stories, to meet some of the people, and to partake in a yummy meal. In regards to the meal, there was a moment of pause for me as I surveyed how clean water was involved in everything that was prepared that evening. The most obvious was the water glass, clear as a window right next to a glass of brown unsweetened iced tea. While this drink was not clear, I could still trust the water source as I have almost never had to question it. The leaves on the opening salad were rinsed in what I trust to be clean water. Same with the boiled green beans which came out with such vivid color. And finally but more subtly, the white table cloth and even the silverware were all pristinely clean.
There was a story told by one of the night's speakers about how the women in many of these partnership communities carry 40 pounds of water multiple times per week, maybe even per day... Which only equates to 5 gallons for the whole family. Because the water immediately available to the village is of lesser quality, there is often a need to travel distances of 1-3 miles to find the better water, which would still never pass our strict certification standards. Remember my comments about the water that was used to clean the silverware and tablecloths? If you only had 5 gallons of water per day, how would you use it? I would venture to guess that it would be strictly for drinking, eating, and hygiene. In these communities then, this often means they are left with the more convenient yet dirtier water to clean their facilities. The school floors and desks would lose what color it had and sometimes the disease that was inherent to the water simply got spread around by the local mop. While this takes a long time to explain, these were all a few thoughts that only took seconds, to which I came to the conclusion that cleanliness is a luxury and a comfort and a great blessing. It means a lot to me in my daily life, but I realize how much of this is made possible through clean water.
The night's central theme was about "Celebrating the Woman" with a constantly reiterated tagline "I Walk With Lucy". Lucy is a 13-year-old girl growing up in a rural community who aspires to become a newscaster. Lucy represents all women and field with the dreams around the world, but dreams that are difficult to obtain due to the amount of time and resource that goes into obtaining access to water (clean or not). If 2-6 hours are spent in a day fetching water, then that leads to lost days in school, lost productivity, depressed economic development, and even greater risks of becoming victims of violence. Attendees at the gala were encouraged to let this reality touch our hearts and to make a commitment that we would "Walk with Lucy".
I give Living Water International a lot of praise for "Walking with Lucy". First, I for one have been numbed by the numbers: 780+ million people without access to clean water, ~2.5 billion people without adequate latrine systems. Numbers are numbing. Living Water put a face to the fight. And she even joined us on stage playing the role of her dream: a newscaster. Putting her face to the cause made it personal and put the connection back into the numbers so that we could understand what was trying to be achieved on this night.
Also, I acknowledge that the preposition "with" has a lot of power. It packs a lot of meaning in the present rather than the past, which provides the hope that we can partner to fight the mortality that is associated with dirty water often due to disease. Furthermore, I respect the word "with" because it does not imply that the "rich, powerful Americans" are wielding their supremacy and pride in "doing good". "With" implies partnership and understanding that there is a commonality and humanity in which we share and an acknowledgement that we learn and teach each other, representing the body of Christ that has many parts (Romans 12:4-5).
There was much blessing in the event yesterday. I made a few new friends and I heard many impactful stories. One local woman was to join us from Liberia but was not allowed due to the travel restrictions surrounding the Ebola outbreak. Instead, she shared her story with us in part rap and part preaching and part inspirational message that told us to consider the futures and dreams of the women on the world which could be made more easily accessible with the deliverance and provision of clean water.
There is a great "ripple effect" from this event and transformative change in the Kingdom is achieved
That these partnerships produce clean water as well as the true life-giving water described in John 4:10-14
Next post will hopefully be in-country. Cross fingers that the internet connection remains solid.
Living Water International: http://water.cc
Trip Updates from Team: https://www.facebook.com/liquidwatercom