Nearly one billion people lack access to safe water, according to Water Missions International. Determined to help change that staggering statistic, more than 170 members of Elmhurst (Ill.) Christian Reformed Church participated in “Walk in a Bucket” on August 4 in the hope of raising awareness and funds for Water Missions International.
“The idea came from an article we read in Christianity Today,” said Anna Wick, a member of Elmhurst CRC’s Community Service Team. “It talked about how providing people in Third World countries with water makes such a radical difference in their lives.”
The goal was to raise between $25,000 and $30,000, which would be enough to adopt an entire community through Water Missions International. To date, more than $30,000 has been raised, with some donations still rolling in.
“The Community Service Team uses the framework that Jesus set out when he left this earth, and that was to go out into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world,” said Beth Rinsema, director of care at Elmhurst CRC. “We have chosen organizations in each of those categories, with Water Missions being the one in the outermost parts of the world.”
Participants were encouraged to wear blue shirts and carry a bucket to a creek via a specified route, reenacting the trek that millions of women and children make in developing countries. Several families participated, which encouraged lessons to be shared between parents and children.
“It was important to show and explain to my kids that it isn’t a ‘normal’ thing for everyone to turn on the faucet, grab a bottle of water from the refrigerator, or even to be able to take a bath,” said Josh Becvar, who participated with his wife and three children. “This showed them, and me, how we are fortunate to have what we have. It also helped us all understand how important it is for us to help people to simply have clean water, something we take for granted.”
Water Missions International commits to staying a year in a community and not only gives the people a water system, said Rinsema, but also teaches them how to use it and repair it while teaching them about health and nutrition. Wick said they expect to receive updates, including photos, on the adopted community and they plan to keep the church informed about and praying for the people there.
“Our church’s mission contains the following: ‘God’s source of shining light and living water . . . serving like Jesus.’ We believe this event tied directly to our mission statement to provide water, life, and serving as Jesus would—to some of the poorest people on earth,” Becvar said. “Jesus never overlooked the poorest, but rather served them. We believe this is our duty as well.”