I did not grow up in a faith tradition that recognized the Lenten season, much less urged the giving up of something during the 40 days of Lent. About five years ago we began attending a small Presbyterian church in our community and we were introduced the Lent, really for the first time. This year, Lisa and I have decided to take up a challenge for Lent. We got the idea last year from our friends Will and Lisa. Here is the plan.
We will be "giving up" all beverages but water during the 40 days of Lent. More than that, however, we will be calculating what we would have spent on coffee, soda, beer, wine, and other beverages and then investing that money in an organization that works in developing countries to install water purification systems and educate locals about water-related health and hygiene.
The organization, Living Waters for the World, does this work by training groups of volunteers to do this work. They have been around for about ten years and have installed over 100 systems in 14 different developing countries.
Maybe you are not aware of the magnitude of the challenges associated with the lack of clean water. Consider the following:
- Half of water available for drinking and cooking in the world is contaminated.
- 3 million people each year die of water-related illness – and most are children.
- Water-related illness is the leading cause of death among children throughout the world.
This morning at church, I announced to the congregation our plans for Lent, provided some information about Living Waters for the World, and invited members of the congregation to join Lisa and me in this endeavor. Several have already let me know they are on board.
So blog readers, if you are planning to give something up for Lent, why not consider this or some other idea that could make a difference in someone else's life. Let me know what you have planned.