Wednesday, June 27, 2012
The bathroom is a place I take for granted. I've always had a bathroom, with a toilet and a sink to wash up. I've never really thought about what it's like to not have one. I am privileged more than I know. I turn on the tap and water magically appears. I flush the toilet and all is well. I can have a shower and the water is hot with lots of pressure. The only time I ever have to use anything but a toilet is when I'm camping and I'm not overly fond of that. I am spoiled on top of it all.
I read a statistic that caught my attention. Forty percent of the world lacks basic water sanitation, resulting in disease, death, wastewater for drinking, and loss of immunity. That's crazy. I read another stat that made my jaw drop in comparison to the first: Ammericans consume 26 billion liters of bottled water a day. That's a lot of water. Here's some sad stats: 42,000 deaths occur every week from unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation. Ninety percent of those deaths are children under five years old. At any given time, half of the world's hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from water-related disease. More people are affected by the negative impact of poor water supply and sanitation than by war, terrorism, and weapons of mass desctruction. Wow. These stats may seems like a downer, but we need to know these things so we can do something about it. That's the purpose in sharing them. I truly can't stand that I just gave you some numbers because people are not numbers. The people that are affected are someone's child, someone's mother, someone's uncle. These are real people with stories and history and a future. Hopefully a future that we can do something about.
A few years ago our church partnered with an organization that drills water wells in the desert of northwest Kenya. We raised money to build a well. The organization is called Nehemiah Construction Ministries. Their heart is to "reach out to the widows, orphans and the underprivileged of our world." Their "passion to help comes from Jesus' words in Matthew 25:40, "As you have done unto the least of these brothers of mine you have done unto me."" These people have changed lives by drilling water wells where there is very little water. Tens of thousands of people now have access to clean, fresh water. This is a miracle for them. This is life-changing. It's more than just water to drink. It also means that agriculture can be viable. People not only have water, they also improve their diets and can create a business. This is huge! These are the people in the statistics whose situation was altered. But there is more to do.
I don't write today with the intention of making you feel guilt. The opposite actually. I want you to glimpse the possible. I want you to see how these statistics can be changed...how people's lives are forever altered when we care, when we reach out in compassion to brothers and sisters around the globe that we just haven't been privileged enough to meet yet. We can make a difference. Together we can make something that seems hopeless; beautiful.
I cannot finish this post today without this powerful quote by Robert F. Kennedy: "Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills - against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence...Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation ....
It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples will build a current which can sweep down on the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
Wow....all that from a picture of a toilet. Who knew? If you are interested in partnering with Nehemiah Construction Ministries to bring water, hope and life to people in Kenya, check out their website: http://www.nehemiahconstruction.ca/. Together we can change things.