MLB, NFL and NHL players attend the Pro Athletes Outreach Increase Conference to engage with a passionate community of Christian athletes, and learn how to use their platform to bring God glory. During the 2020 virtual Increase Conference, Scott Linebrink, a Water Mission stewardship advisor, eagerly shared how athletes and their families could participate in ending the global water crisis by using major assets: their voices, finances and prayers.
PAO President Steve Stenstrom, a former NFL quarterback, spoke with Linebrink about his retirement from Major League Baseball. During their conversation, attendees also heard the story of vulnerable girls collecting water in Kenya, and how Linebrink is advocating for a global issue close to his heart — safe water.
“My wife, Kelly, and I had no idea there was a global water crisis impacting over 2 billion people,” Linebrink said.
As a former MLB pitcher with retirement looming, he and Kelly ran fearlessly toward a second vocation of equal significance. “Retirement doesn’t mean that God is done with us — He still has a plan for us,” Linebrink shared. “We still have gifts and talents that He wants us to use.”
Linebrink was introduced to Water Mission at the end of his baseball career. The Christian engineering ministry quickly gripped him as he saw, for the first time, the dire needs of people in poverty around the world. On their first trip to Haiti, the couple saw the lifesaving impact of safe water and sanitation. Just as importantly, they witnessed how the solutions provided a conduit for the Gospel.
“[The global water crisis] is one of the biggest problems that our world faces, and God wants to use this problem to bring glory for Him,” Linebrink said. “The work of Water Mission has changed my life, my wife’s life, and the lives of so many others.”
To an audience of fellow MLB, NFL and NHL alumni and players, Linebrink shared about a Kenyan community in which middle- and high-school girls walked several miles every day to collect unsafe water. The girls lost precious time they could have spent in school, and were often forced to miss classes as they suffered from waterborne diseases. Moreover, their safety was constantly at risk, as dangerous men roamed their path and impregnated 28 girls in a single year.
According to Linebrink, Water Mission’s work helps to mitigate these injustices. Water Mission engineered and installed, in partnership with local leaders, a safe water system in the community. The water is filtered and chlorinated, and it is close to the girls’ homes. Now, the girls and their families have clean water, and no longer have to walk a dangerous path to collect it.
“I kept thinking of my middle school-aged daughters, and I couldn’t tolerate it,” Linebrink said. “The difference that safe water makes is profound.”
Linebrink gave the listeners several key ways they can make a difference and help fight the global water crisis:
Use your voice. Start by following ministries like Water Mission and share their stories on social media. By doing so, you can use your own sphere of influence to spread awareness about the global water crisis. For Linebrink personally, the pandemic has been an opportunity for him to look past his problems and to see how he can rally a team to combat global injustices together. One way he did this was through Quarantine Questions, a podcast series he hosted in conjunction with Sports Spectrum.
Give. You can give financially to help design, build and implement solutions that break through the global water crisis.
Pray. You can also give of your time by listening to the stories and praying for the critical needs of communities served by Water Mission. As the wife of a nine-year NFL player and board member for PAO shared with Linebrink, “I listened to your story about the women having to walk hours and sacrificing their safety for water. … My heart was broken for each and every girl and their families,” she said. “We will be praying for your entire organization and the people that will benefit from the new water sources.”
Learn how you can partner with Water Mission to fight the global water crisis by visiting watermission.org/jointheteam today.
Katie Kelton is a freelance writer for Water Mission.
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