Note from Randy: I love Water Mission, and it’s an organization that Eternal Perspective Ministries is thrilled to support. I asked Scott Linebrink, a Major League baseball pitcher for twelve years who now serves as Partnerships Director for Water Mission, if he would share about why he believes so much in their work to provide communities with clean drinking water. I really appreciate what Scott wrote.
Scott is also the host of an outstanding podcast called Get in the Game. Among others, he interviews Christians in professional sports, including present and future Hall of Famers. If you want to learn more about Scott, see this excellent article or listen to a 45-minute conversation with Scott on the Sports Spectrum podcast.
Traveling to a foreign land will likely change your perspective. When my wife Kelly and I chose to go on a vision trip with Water Mission to Haiti in the winter of 2013, that’s exactly what happened. I had been to other Latin American countries and thought I had seen poverty. But I was not at all prepared for what would confront me when I stepped off the plane in Cap-Haitien.
The poverty we saw was on another level. I surveyed trash piled high in the streets; witnessed the disorganized movement of people, wagons, and cars; and met eyes with those who just seemed lost in their sadness. Over the next several days, my experiences with people reinforced the shocking truths of what life in Haiti really looks like. I asked myself one question:
What compels someone living in a seemingly hopeless situation to wake up each morning?
The question may seem harsh. But this was my honest reaction as I processed. I was trying to connect what I was seeing in front of me to the world view that I had operated under my entire life. Looking back on the experience, I think it was part of an essential evolution in my mind and heart that God used to drive me to a place of deep compassion—and ultimately, towards action.
Before that trip, I dabbled in the knowledge of what it means to serve the poor. My interactions with others outside my socioeconomic standing were brief. I had never walked, talked, ate, and lived with the poor and therefore, could not claim to understand them at a most basic level. Even more, I had no idea what it took to solve fundamental problems brought on by poverty.
What I have learned is that poverty is a result of broken relationships. It has less to do with a lack of material goods and more with an individual’s perception of who they are.
As Christians, we know that Jesus came to Earth and died so that we could experience reconciliation with the Father. He restored the broken, gave the nameless a name, and prepared a place for us in Heaven. Because of God’s love for me, I can enter each day with the assurance of His presence. That is why we as children of God can wake up each morning knowing His grace is sufficient for our day. I wanted the people I met and saw in Haiti to have that same hope.
After returning home, I thought deeply about God’s role for me in impacting His Kingdom. Seeing those water projects in Haiti impressed upon me the value of meeting people’s most basic needs—just like Jesus did. He touched them, healed them, gave them something to eat, and pointed them towards eternal life. He got their attention in each situation by first meeting that physical need.
We can’t live more than three days without water. This precious resource is vital to our existence. Where I live, we don’t often question where our next drink of water will come. And yet, nearly one-third of the global population lives without access to safe, clean drinking water. Could it be that God has chosen to take one of the biggest problems on the planet and use it as a way of drawing people to Him?
Water Mission has shown me that providing a community with safe, clean water opens a door for sharing the gospel. It demonstrates love at a level that anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, language, or religion, can understand. And it is that love that builds trust and earns the right to share the reason for the hope that rests within us.
It’s a beautiful application of the gospel, bringing hope to people every single day. If you would like to learn more about Water Mission and how you can be part of delivering hope to people through water and the word of God, please visit watermission.org.
Water Mission is a Christian, engineering nonprofit that designs and builds safe water and sanitation solutions. Over their 20-year history, the organization has impacted over 7 million people in Latin America, Africa, and Indonesia.