Role models matter to young athletes. That’s why former Major League Baseball pitcher Jaime García takes his role seriously as a spokesperson for sports, faith and safe water.
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García grew up in Mexico near the border of Texas. He made his MLB debut in 2008 with the St. Louis Cardinals, and spent the next decade pitching for six different teams before retiring in 2019.
During a Pro Athletes Outreach conference a few years ago, former MLB player and current Water Mission partnerships director Scott Linebrink discussed the global water crisis. García heard Linebrink share about Water Mission’s efforts to build safe water solutions in developing countries, refugee camps and disaster areas. Linebrink also shared that when communities witness Water Mission working to provide safe water for them in the name of the Lord, it opens doors to share the Gospel.
García is now a dedicated Water Mission partner, and his generosity has helped bring safe water and the Living Water message of Jesus Christ to communities throughout Chiapas, Mexico. Recently, he visited Water Mission’s Mexico office. While there, he spread a message of hope to young baseball players, local church members and a community that had received safe water.
When García talked to residents of communities in need of safe water in Mexico, he offered inspiration as someone with a similar story to them. It’s important for children to recognize themselves in the professional athletes they follow, teachers they learn from, and books they read. García knows that when he shares about faith, inner healing and becoming more like Christ, his words carry weight. That’s why he recently spoke at three events in Chiapas on behalf of Water Mission.
First, García attended a youth baseball tournament. Players, families and local dignitaries listened eagerly as García shared about his life’s purpose and working hard to achieve it. He asked the children, “What dreams do you have for your life? Do any of you want to be professional baseball players?”
García urged members of the crowd to build a personal relationship with Jesus Christ instead of simply following a religion. Afterward, he took time to shake hands and take photos with the players. The organizers even asked García to throw the first pitch of the tournament. The young athletes were inspired to meet an athlete from their own country who led a successful career and has a strong Christian faith.
The following Sunday, a church service was held at Water Mission’s office in Mexico. García spoke there about how faith makes way for inner healing, with several references to his own life’s testimony.
Finally, García joined Water Mission staff traveling to Sitalá, where Water Mission is installing a new safe water system. The team drove two-and-a-half hours through the mountains to reach this remote town in one of the poorest municipalities in Chiapas, a coffee-growing region. For a long time, the men, women and children who live in Sitalá have been some of the 2.2 billion people around the world who lack access to safe water. When this project is finished, safe water will flow freely for all 10,000 residents, helping them avoid water-related illnesses and stay healthy.
García had lunch with the municipal mayor before Water Mission hosted a basketball tournament as an outreach event for the community. Teams of extended family members and public works employees gathered to play, chatting with García and taking photos after. Water Mission staff members shared about the safe water project, and García testified once more about faith in Christ.
García’s support of Water Mission has built a legacy in Chiapas that will last for years. His heart for service is changing lives through safe water while also having a Kingdom impact by spreading the Gospel message.
To learn more about Water Mission’s safe and Living Water projects around the world, visit www.watermission.org.
Katie Kelton is a freelance writer for Water Mission.
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