January 1, 2015 I made a decision (and wrote about it here), I was going to walk 500 miles to focus my mind and attention on a metaphorical location that is wiped from the earth every year, ( 469 square miles /  the size of Los Angeles) the population of children under five who die and never get to grow up because of preventable diseases related to water, sanitation, and hygiene. And, because the Proclaimers said so, I decided to also walk 500 more.

The goals:

  • Walk 500 miles.
  • Plus 500 miles.
  • Drink water. Only water.

The reality of January.

74.2 miles

60+ SIGG water refills

I didn’t quite hit the 83 miles I need per month to reach 1000 by December. But I was hitting on some other things while running, hiking, walking, and pushing through.

Hitting on wonder you feel when you sign up for something a little too big for you.

Hitting on hope. I could feel ideas and questions forming around the “why” of this walk.

Hitting on community. People notice and are curious when you do something weird (like deciding to drink only water for an entire year–no coffee–only water) And, they want to talk to you about it. I saw the power of advocacy at work. Walking. Running. Hiking. One “just water please” request at a time I was entering into a world where we can talk about suffering in ways that give us hope. I didn’t expect my singular decision to effect so many of my friends.

Since this decision, a few friends have energetically joined #JustWater2015

Now we have a group that can party over our ability to politely turn down a lattè and who can shout at the moon together when we really just want that lattè more than air. We can encourage each other when the winds of doubt begin to push on us and beg us to think that none of this will ever make a difference. We have each other.

“It’s easier to be brave when we aren’t alone.” – Amy Poehler

If you want to join us, let me know. Each of us has a different goal. And some of us are contributing to a global water fund in lieu of countless trips to Starbucks. In a few months, I’ll be sharing ways that your churches and youth groups can get involved. Stay tuned for that.

Carlee – On tour with the Daraja choir texted me the day I posted my blog. Just Water. I’m in.

Jes Hindly – Youth Pastor- Virginia. Just Water I’m in.

Liliana Reza – Missionary, Argentina. We talked about it for a few days in Costa Rica. I could see her desire. Then she made the decision. She was in.

Hannah Sparks – Teenager who works at Chic-fil-a in Arkansas. Can you imagine turning down sweet tea, day after day after day? She can.

Tricia Broomes – Self described “Waterholic in Trinidad” for 2015.

Josias Yair – He’s not drinking anything but water until 1.16.16. Shout out to Veracruze Mexico

Abbie Hathaway- Teenager from Monterrey, Mexico. Whoo hoo.

Josuè Villatoro López – He’s a coffee loving youth pastor, a precious colleague in youth ministry. His decision. This year, just water.

Angela Yracheta – She’s the mom of two little ones in Fresno California who said she takes her access to unlimited clean water for granted. Her goal, water for a year, possibly life.

Kerese Harrinandan – Youth pastor and church leader who is staying away from her mama’s delicious cherry juice in Guyana. I have no human idea how she is doing this.

Ade Pinder – Water with her friend Tricia. Teenagers saying, “I’m in” in The Bahamas.

Leslie Blondell – I learned that she’s been on this path for a long time. It’s a lifetime decision for her.

Just Water, please.

It’s a phrase that’s teaching me.

What could it teach you?


Palm Trees - Brooklyn Lindsey - Lakeland, FL - Speaking

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