Spring 2021 Magazine

Pro athletes support lasting safe water solutions, advocate for others to do the same

“Ever since I retired from baseball, I’ve found true passion in my calling to help those affected by the global water crisis,” said Scott Linebrink, former MLB pitcher and Water Mission Partnerships Director.

He recently spoke to current and former professional athletes at the 2021 NFL Pro Athletes Outreach (PAO) Increase Conference. He discussed how to leverage their powerful platform, raise awareness, and invite others to support Water Mission’s work around the world. Linebrink shared that one of the first stories he heard about Water Mission was that of small community in Honduras without access to safe water. Because the infant mortality rate was so high, parents waited to name newborn babies until they reached their first birthday.

However, there is a solution to unsafe water. After Water Mission installed a safe water system in the community, the infant mortality rate decreased. Children are healthier. Linebrink emphasized the peace of mind that safe water brings to parents.

He then shared several stark realities:

2.2 billion people across the world lack access to safe water. Clean, safe water is free of contaminants and will not make you sick. It is the water that flows freely from faucets around the United States. Although we often take it granted, easy access to safe water is not the reality for a third of the global population.

One person dies every 37 seconds from water-related illness. That is more than 2,300 people every day. Nearly 50 percent of the developing world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water-related illness. The need is urgent, and we need to pay attention.

John 10:10 promises life in abundance. Right now, billions of people are robbed of that opportunity. As Christians, we have a responsibility to help meet the needs of our global neighbors.

Water Mission, a Christian engineering nonprofit, is addressing the global water crisis. Water Mission provides water treatment systems, sanitation solutions and hygiene education to people in developing countries and disaster areas. This essential work makes a lasting impact in three major ways:

Water builds solutions. Water Mission has more than 400 staff members and has served nearly 7 million people in 57 countries. Its programs provide safe water, sanitation and hygiene solutions for communities around the world. Disaster response provides support after natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

Water builds faith. There are 5.4 billion people who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Water Mission staff brings safe and Living Water to communities, accompanying innovative safe water solutions with the good news of the Gospel. Just as Jesus healed people, Water Mission believes that meeting people’s basic needs is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate God’s love.

Water builds partnerships. Pro athletes like Benjamin Watson, Drew Stanton and Justin Forsett have been moved to action in addressing the global water crisis. These Water Mission ambassadors support lasting safe water solutions and advocate for others to do the same.

Advocates who join Water Mission’s team can make a lasting impact in a variety of creative ways:

Pray for the mission. Justin retired from the NFL after playing running back for nine years. He and his wife, Angie, are now on the PAO board and are new supporters of Water Mission. Sharing what drew them to our mission, Angie said, “I listened to your story about women having to walk hours and sacrificing their safety for water. My heart was broken for each girl and their families. We truly want to be the hands and feet of Jesus.” Justin and Angie intentionally pray for Water Mission and the communities we serve with safe water. “Thanks, Water Mission,” said Justin, “for leading the way.”

Inspire others. Drew, most recently a backup quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was on the NFL PAO Increase Conference panel. He explained why his family supports Water Mission. “We were automatically drawn to what Water Mission represented,” he said. “Obviously, the parallels to the Gospel: the renewing, cleansing, and all of those things that you look for in a ministry. You realize that 2.2 billion people go without clean water … 2,300 people a day are dying because of this global water crisis.”

Raise awareness. Athletes can also share Water Mission’s story on social media. Benjamin, former NFL tight end and Super Bowl XXXIX champion, and his wife, Kirsten, are dedicated supporters of Water Mission. During Water Mission’s disaster relief efforts in the Bahamas, for example, Benjamin tweeted to his 100,000 followers:

“I can personally speak to the integrity [of] @water_mission, having partnered with them in the past…Let’s raise another $1M for the clean water for the Bahamas.”

It received 90 likes and 29 people retweeted it to their own networks. This is a great example of the ripple effect that occurs when public figures use their social media platforms to inspire others.

Best of all, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to help provide safe water! Anyone can make a difference by engaging on social media, learning about the global water crisis, encouraging others to support the cause, and keeping Water Mission’s work in your prayers.

Are you ready to help support Water Mission’s work around the world, like Benjamin, Drew and Justin?

Join the team today to respond to God’s call to protect and restore the health of individuals, families and entire communities.

Katie Kelton is a freelance writer for Water Mission.

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