How Can Walking Change a Life?
By Mary Hendrix, Director of Mission and Outreach | March 18, 2019
I had heard of a 5K race before, but 6K? Once I learned why World Vision hosts a 6K race, I knew St. Philip’s had to participate in this event. Six kilometers is the average distance women and children in Africa walk to gather water. Not clean water, just water. And every day, not once a week or twice a week, but every single day. If I have learned anything over the years serving in the Mission and Outreach Ministry, it’s that we are lifetime learners. Learning never ends. As Rhonda and I prepared for last year’s race, I realized how clueless I was about the need for clean water in so many countries. I was blown away by the information I was researching and reading about what women and children in other countries endure to get something that I never give a second thought to.
I walk to the sink every morning, turn the handle on the faucet, fill up my water bottle and drink. I open the shower door, turn on the shower, letting the water run until it gets to just the right temperature before hopping in, never thinking twice about it. I brush my teeth, wash my hands, flush the toilet, wash off my fruit, boil a pot full of water for pasta, turn on the lawn sprinkler and more in one day, and never gave a thought about those who do not have access to clean water as I do. Because of last year’s race, I learned the average person (just one person, not one family) in America uses between 80 – 100 gallons of water per day, compared to just 5 gallons per person in some parts of the developing world. I learned children are not able to attend school because they spend their days walking to fetch water. Women and girls are at risk of gender-based violence as they travel in remote areas, seeking this most basic need. There are almost 5,500 deaths each day due to water-borne diseases, most of those being children under 5. And the crazy thing is…this is all preventable. Just this month, I learned that World Vision is the biggest provider of clean water and that by the year 2030, all 100 countries in which they work, will have clean water!
Providing clean water for all these countries doesn’t happen by chance, or only through the efforts of the World Vision staff. It happens through people like you and me that take time out of our scheduled lives to show concern for others, learn about their struggles, and then act on it. Sometimes I can feel so overwhelmed thinking about all the needs (clean water, abused and neglected children, the homeless, the hungry, the mentally ill, etc.) and wonder how God is going to provide because I do not possess the resources or gifts personally. And then I remember, we are one body and together we can do so much more, which is why events like the 6K Race get me so excited! But one of the most important things I learned, is that for every step I take, that’s one they don’t have to. It only takes $50 to provide clean water for life for a person in a developing country. That is something I can do.
I am looking forward to the fun we’ll have Saturday, May 4, whether we are walking, running, volunteering or learning. If you ever wonder if you can change a life, I hope you realize you can. I hope you will invite someone to change a life alongside you at this year’s 6K Race for Clean Water.