Sunday, October 5, 2014

Living Water International Gala 2014

Always, always, always wear the waterproof mascara to a Living Water Gala.  And yes, I remembered on Friday.  :)

Seriously, I've never been to a fundraiser that was so much not about money and so much more about what God is doing around the world through LWI.  Of course the goal was to raise money to continue this work, but it was so exciting to hear how water and the love of Jesus are transforming lives day after day.

The theme this year was "Lucy: The Woman".  Women are the biggest providers of water in the majority of the world.  In sub-Saharan Africa alone, women collectively spend 40 billion hours each year bringing water into their homes.  That's 40 billion hours spent not working, not learning, not loving on children.  Women are the life blood of communities across the world, and when hauling water is no longer a burdensome chore, communities change for the better.  Friday night was in tribute and honor of these ladies as LWI works to ease that burden by bringing clean water wells into community after community in the name of Jesus.

Zambia was mentioned as a story about a woman named Margaret was told. This story of Margaret's brother being taken from a crocodile because there was no safe water source rips at my heart.  I know all too well about crocodiles, water, and Zambia.  My brothers refused to get in the pool the first pool party we had after they joined us.  They had wisely been taught never to enter the water.  It took quite a while of the rest of us splashing around for them to trust it was safe.  

We heard from Maitabel Okumu from Kenya.  She grew up with the burden of bringing water 3 miles from the nearest source to her home.  She watched neighbors die from waterborne illnesses.  Maitabel refused to fall into the the same fate as so many girls and Kenya and worked relentlessly to graduate from high school and college with a diploma in environmental health.  She's now working on a masters degree in public health.  She works with LWI to to bring hygiene and sanitations programs to villages in Angola and Kenya so that girls, like her two daughters, don't have to experience the same childhood she did.

Matilda Tarr is from Liberia, and due to the Ebola outbreak in her nation, was unable to attend the gala with the other speakers.  She did record a video for us, and I've rarely seen a more passionate person about the impact of the changing power of Jesus.  She was a mother of 2 by age 14, surviving the same civil war that kept Isaac's grandparents and dad from returning to Liberia when they wanted to visit home.  While in Nigeria as a war refugee, Matilda became a Christian through the loving counsel of a woman eager to help young girls meet Jesus.  Matilda returned to Liberia with a desire to do the same.  She runs a non-profit called Destiny Women International with a radio program to encourage women and girls to not settle for poor choices but to seek the Lord.  She also runs a school for children with her husband.  She was even asked to preach the Gospel recently to the Liberian senate!  Her work with LWI is changing people's lives as Jesus uses this spit-fire of a women to impact His Kingdom daily.  Wow!

Mary Casiraghi is from Kenya and was able to be with us Friday to speak as well.  Five of Mary's 11 brothers and sisters died from the poverty and lack of clean water that was her family's daily reality.  She loved to learn though, and was driven to beg a boarding school headmaster to allow her to study in exchange for working in the school garden.  The teachers were so impressed by Mary's hard work and skills that they asked the headmaster to allow Mary to stay.  Mary is now married with a daughter, and she runs a school in Kisumu, Kenya.  She has about 300 orphaned or at-risk students in her school.  A while back, the borehole at the school collapsed, causing them to have no water.  LWI was able to drill a well for the school to restore their water supply.  Mary and the school are also able to sell water to the surrounding community to help meet the school's monthly expenses.

If these stories weren't testament of God at work, Lucy herself closed out the evening.  She's a 13 year old Kenyan who has to walk miles into the mountains for water each day.  Attacks from snakes, baboons, and other monkeys are a constant threat.  Lucy wants to be a newscaster when she grows up.  Lucy came and spoke to us on a make shift news set.  What a happy middle schooler!  Many of us 'walked with Lucy' that night, carrying full jerry cans of water to catch a tiny glimpse of reality for so many women and girls.  A bit of me felt that the water walk was a bit of a slap in the face to these heroes of water.  We were walking just a short way in an air conditioned building with no threats around us.  Yet for so many who've never left the USA, that will be the closest they coming to seeing the reality of what so many face each day.  I'm grateful for that experience and pray God uses it to open the eyes of those who are able to help.

 Alex and Ani donated gifts to all of the women, The Living Water bangle.  Alex and Ani began making the bracelets in 2012 and donate 20% of the proceeds to LWI.  It's beautiful!
Aside from being a beautiful night of worship, it was a terrific time of fellowship as well.  We were there as the guests of my friend Emily's family, so much laughter was to be had.  Emily is my friend that reminds me not to take myself too seriously!  We had a great time hanging out on the pool terrace on the 24th floor at the little after party.  We had a gorgeous evening with a nice view of downtown!

Check out LWI.  Pray about how you might be able to help them, whether financially or going on one of their trips.  This is a place were God is greatly at work!

1 comment:

Nikki Cotton said...

What a great experience! Thanks so much for linking up to WYWW!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...