Luke Weaver, a starting pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks, had an eye-opening experience the first time he visited Haiti.
>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<
After supporting Water Mission’s work building safe water solutions in developing countries, Weaver and his wife, Olivia, joined Adam Wainwright and Scott Linebrink in Haiti to witness the impact firsthand.
Weaver recently reflected on the experience with Linebrink, who now works with Water Mission, on Sports Spectrum’s “Get in the Game” podcast.
“[Being in Haiti] was the first moment that really … opened my eyes to a different world,” Weaver shared. “I came outside the bubble that I lived in.”
Upon arriving in Haiti, the group climbed into the back of an old pickup truck and headed along the coast, observing trash piled up to 30 feet high. When they hit the dusty neighborhood roads, they saw hand-constructed houses, kids playing with an old soccer ball, and, alarmingly, people drinking out of brown water puddles.
Access to safe water can change lives, building health and hope. Water Mission’s vision is that all people have safe water and an opportunity to experience God’s love. Thankfully, the safe water charity had begun installing a project in the community.
“In these people [that Water Mission serves], we see so much life and dedication in their relationship with God and their faith because that’s all they have,” Weaver said. “Sometimes, I look back and become envious of how dedicated they are. It humbles me and makes me think, ‘I gotta step it up.’”
One-third of the world’s population lacks access to safe water. One person dies every 37 seconds from a water-related illness. Women and children walk an average of more than three miles to collect water, missing out on educational and economic opportunities. Unfortunately, the water they collect is often contaminated and makes them sick.
Weaver and his wife left Haiti with a broader perspective on the global water crisis — and a deeper commitment to making a difference. When Weaver puts his mind to something, he succeeds.
Weaver stood out among his peers while playing baseball at Florida State University. He was a first-round draft pick for the St. Louis Cardinals. Once he made it to the big leagues, he was traded in early 2019 and has been with the Diamondbacks ever since. Weaver does not take the platform he’s been given for granted.
“With my platform, I can make a positive change,” he says.
Weaver shares that people watch every move you make — on and off the field — when you’re a professional athlete. Athletes can share the news about the Kingdom with their audience. Weaver also wants to lead by example. So, he invites his teammates and fans to join him in fighting the global water crisis.
“You could go through being an athlete with a checklist,” Weaver explains. Athletes work out, eat healthy, travel and play ball. But Weaver strives to do more. He challenges his teammates to join him in volunteering in whatever city they’re playing. He explains it helps him and other players feel more refreshed when they go out on the field. The paradox of generosity is that the more you give, the more you get back in return.
“I don’t want to lay my head down at night … and feel like I wasted an opportunity [and] didn’t make the impact I thought I should,” he says.
When Weaver saw how unsafe water affected communities in Haiti, he was moved to use his time, treasure, talent and influence to help end the global water crisis. He encourages others to do the same. No matter the size of your platform, you can make a difference. Join Weaver in supporting Water Mission and encourage others to do the same!
Katie Kelton is a freelance writer for Water Mission.
— Former MLB pitcher Jaime García helps Water Mission share safe water, God’s love in Mexico
— Water Mission’s ‘Walk for Water’ events help raise money to end the global water crisis
— Former baseball player Kyle Hanlon using time, treasure to serve others with Water Mission
— Friends, teammates honor Adam Wainwright by investing in safe water project in Haiti
— Former MLB pitcher Jason Standridge helps Water Mission to bring God’s love to refugees
— Former MLB pitcher Blaine Boyer finds his purpose off the field through Water Mission