by Ruthann Cross, Spartan Chick

A little over a year ago my family and I were given a challenge to only drink water for a defined period of time and donate any money that we would normally use on coffees, sodas and sports drinks to digging clean water wells in Haiti. This was easy for us to do for a few different reasons. One, we already drink mostly water as it is. And two, most children in Haiti do not live past the age of five because of contaminated water diseases.

Two of my children at that time were both under the age of 5 so this really tugged on my heart. It was easy for us to give. It didn’t require us to step out of our comfort zones, it didn’t require us to live outside of the ease of our everyday life. Little did I know that less than a year later I would have the honor and privilege to travel to Haiti with Living Water International and be a part of giving hope to a community. (Bonus: I would also have the opportunity to get really, REALLY muddy while I was there. Seriously, what chick would want to pass that up?)

Our travels took us just outside Cap-Haitian. We arrived in a small village full of cement block and thatch walled structures with corrugated metal roofs. Many of which did not have four walls or doors! We saw people who appeared hard and calloused and knew they were very familiar with a great deal of death and hunger, but as soon as we smiled and said hello in their language these beautiful people quickly welcomed us with great smiles and warm hearts. They knew why we had come. They knew we were there to offer hope.

This entire week had nothing to do with me, my life, my family whether or not I had the time to fit a workout in or even connect with friends through the internet. It was all about the people of Modje and the little children who followed us around as if we were the Pied Piper. It was about the women of the community who were so proud to show us the few possessions they had. It was about the homeless widow and her six children who asked us to take her youngest with us in hope of a better life. Our task was to come in and drill a clean sustainable well for this community and educate them in proper hygiene so they could hopefully have a better life, but I believe I am the one who received the greater gift. To offer the gift of hope to someone who has none was the greatest blessing of all.

Before and after this week I have had several people express how difficult this must have been to go. Some even indicated they could never do something like this as it would just be too hard. Comments like these made me realize it is not a case of whether or not we can do something but whether or not we have a willing heart and a determination to make a change. We may not all be called to head off to the jungle of some foreign land and experience the same things but each one of us has the ability to take a stand alongside others and lend a hand. It just takes stepping out of our comfort zone and making the offer. We would all probably be surprised who accepts.

Who can you offer that “sparkle” of hope to today?

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