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Guest Post #5: Lauren & Water

December 5, 2011

When I returned from my first trip to Ethiopia, I recall praying to God and being very upset. Through my tears I remember asking and pleading to God what I was to do with my experiences and I simply felt Him say, “see them as I see them…”
The truth is, is that I don’t believe we see most people, not just people in a developing world, as God sees them. We see our neighbors as annoying or people that we don’t really need to get to know. We see the homeless on our own city’s streets as beggars and a nuisance. So, “see them as I see them” took on a whole new meaning for me. I could no longer look at the homeless man that sat outside the Safeway store in Tucson as a “nobody”. I had to know his name. When I moved to Columbia, I knew it was important for me to actually get to *know* my neighbors. To actually have a relationship/friendship with the people that live only a few hundred feet from my front door. And Ethiopia, well, it’s a country that I view as a gift. It was my invitation to change and I will forever be grateful to God for using the people of Ethiopia to change my heart.
Today’s post from Lauren convicts me, once again, and serves as a reminder that we are here to live *relationally* with one another; to give of our time, our resources, ourselves. We do all of this because this is where change begins; not only a physical change in people’s livelihoods, but a change in our own hearts (for the better)…

Reflections on Ethiopia: Water

It bothered me that my kitchen is kind of small. Every morning I fill the coffee pot using clean water straight from the tap, turn around, take one step, and dump it into the machine. A little too convenient. I then have to walk to another room to press a button to turn on the water heater to take a hot shower and wash dishes. And yes, I have to wash dishes by hand because I don’t have a dishwasher (besides Paul). I also have to deal with the loathsome, mundane task of loading and unloading laundry into the washing machine. How inconvenient!

But then again I’m not one of the 884 million people in the world that does not have access to safe water (WHO-UNICEF). I don’t have to wash my clothes in a river that a goat or man just urinated or crapped in, and then fill my water bottle downstream. I don’t ever have to worry about my children drinking contaminated water like the Hamer girl we met below, and wonder if they will be one of the 1.8 million children who die every year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation (UNDP). I don’t have to walk several miles just to get any water and carry the 40lb weight of it on my head like most women in Africa and Asia (UNDP). I will never have to ration and prioritize every precious drop of water.

Instead, I am one of the average North Americans who uses 400 liters of water a day (UNDP). While the average person in the developing world uses 10 liters of water every day (Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)).

But these were just facts that I could emotionally and physically distance myself from. That way I could voice my every complaint about daily inconveniences without guilt or perspective. That’s why Facebook was invented right? The problem is that I went to Ethiopia and these facts took on faces. And these faces became friends. And now it’s downright PERSONAL.

In the face of tragedies, injustice, and crises like the water problem, we tend to ask “Where in the world are you God??” I’ve heard it said that God is likely responding with “Where in the world are My People??”

The greatest tragedy would be to stand before Jesus and hear him say:
For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink…whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. (Matthew 25: 42, 45).

Tom and Teresa Rieder see Jesus in the little girl below. Do you see Him too?

Pray, Give, and Get Involved at

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mary Erickson permalink
    December 5, 2011 5:29 pm

    Lauren, thank you for the reminder that eventhough our gift of salvation was a free gift it does not remove our responsibility to now act as the children of God, brothers and sisters in Christ! God’s perfect Shalom peace to you and Paul and of course Motto. Mary

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