Some people would call me hard-core, though most would probably call me a light-weight. I am generally open to going where God calls me and obeying Him wholeheartedly. I’ve completed an Ironman, many half and other distant triathlons and moved my entire family to a new country almost two years ago. I have willingly gone to India a few times where I almost always get sick and have gone to brothels to visit with prostitutes. I am not a weakling when it comes to facing challenges. However, we all have our arbitrary lines drawn in the sand, those places and experiences where we say this is far enough. I recently said mine out loud and let me tell you now, if you do that, be prepared for God to take you to that very place. The difficult thing for me this time is God didn’t just take me there, but I had my entire family with me.
Let me explain where my line was drawn, and most of you will laugh. It was running water. Some of you who camp and hike for days are calling me a sissy right now. Those who move to the farthest corners of the earth live without running water quite well. What I have just learned is that living without running water takes some skill, skills that I do not have!
On our recent visit to Uganda our water kept getting “sketchy” and then finally went away to never return. I did okay the first night, hopeful that by morning it would have returned. Then when it did not, we took off for the day, hopeful that it would come by that evening. When we returned ready to cook, eat and bathe the water still was not there. I am a little ashamed of my reaction. I was frustrated beyond belief. How were we going to flush the toilet? How was I going to boil the noodles I planned to cook? How were we going to wash our hands, much less the rest of our dirty bodies? And, I am ashamed to admit, I was really looking forward to washing my hair. I was irritated and harsh and impatient with my family. The Lord provided for us through a neighbor who had some cans of water to share. It was plenty of water to wash our hands, cook and wash the dishes, and even flush the toilet! Yet, that wasn’t good enough for me.
As I sat at the table, I pleaded with God, please Lord, please let the water return. I know this is a petty request, but I don’t know how to do this. As I was writing out my obnoxious prayer, The Lord spoke to my heart. How many mothers around the world have prayed this same prayer? How many mothers have pleaded for water, only the lives of their children were on the line? How many families would’ve been happy to have the water we received from our neighbor? I was utterly ashamed of my attitude.
In the following days, I embraced the experience, learned how to wash my dishes and bathe my children, and most of all, I saw with new eyes the bicycles loaded down with water jugs. Often two children would push the loaded bike up hill to their village after going several kilometers away to pump their water. I asked our driver about the people who lived even farther away who had no access to clean water. I saw those mothers who were desperately trying to care for their families without clean and safe water. Most of all I resolved to care about this issue and thanked God for this hard lesson learned.
So, I do not know now where my new line is drawn, and if I did know, I think I might be careful about voicing it. What I do know is if we become stubborn and say we will only go based on certain conditions, how many people will never be loved or hear the gospel? How many places might you not see? How many emotions might you not feel? If I am not willing to go places where there is no running water, I severely limit myself and who I am able to know. It seems such a silly requirement now.
Our family has all agreed on the theme for this trip to Uganda: Some journeys are long and hard, but the destination is well worth it. It seemed this theme started the moment we got on the plane, and it repeated itself almost every day. I am thankful that my children have learned that a little discomfort is worth the joy received. It’s a principle that most people never learn to embrace. God rewarded our efforts tremendously, in both physical ways (such as seeing a lioness and her cubs) and spiritually (such as the joy we have at having new members of our family). He is a faithful, loving, and good Father, and if getting beyond our line of comfort enables us to see more
of Him, then we choose to go every time.
783 million people lack access to an improved source of drinking water—that’s 1 in 9 of us. In the places we work, it’s more like 1 in 2 . Great progress is being made globally, but whole people groups are being overlooked—it’s the poorest people with the least political power that continue to suffer, and these are the people we are called to serve. – Living Water International
Many women spend 20 hours per week collecting water, some walking 7 miles a day, often for contaminated water. Too often the walk is not safe for them physically. It is women and the children they raise who suffer most without water, and who benefit most from access to it.- Living Water International
Water-related diseases cause 2.2 million deaths a year; every day, diarrhea takes the lives of 2,000 children in Africa—more than any other single cause of death. Safe water, a toilet, and clean hands could prevent 90% of these deaths.- Living Water International