The LifeStraw is a portable water purifier in the form of an oversized straw that filters out most water-borne illnesses. At a cost of approximately three dollars, the LifeStraw will provide a person with safe drinking water for about a year. The LifeStraw was voted one of Time magazine’s Best Inventions of 2005.

According to the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report 2006, 1.2 billion people worldwide do not have access to safe water and 2.6 billion people do not have access to sanitation. The report issues this sobering fact, “In a world of unprecedented wealth, almost 2 million children die each year for want of a glass of clean water and adequate sanitation.”

Many of us suffer from “compassion fatigue.” In the last couple of years, we have lived through terrorist attacks, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and floods. And, after each of these catastrophic events, our inboxes are filled with urgent pleas to donate and make a difference. Even late at night, when we’re trying to watch SportsCenter for the third time in a row, we are bombarded with images of hungry children and earnest spokespeople asking us to help. I worry when my heart grows hard to the fact that four thousand kids die every single day from drinking dirty water. It’s easy to rationalize: I give to the church (I mean, I work for the church), we already sponsor a child and his family every month, leave me alone already, etc.

Fortunately, there are groups like Living Water International, blood:water mission and WaterAid who are hard at work to create a world in which people — every single one of them made in the image of God — have access to safe water and sanitation.

I am so proud of our youth group here at church. On Saturday, September 29th, we will participate in walktheirwalk — a twelve mile walkathon to raise money to build a school in the community of Twachiyanda, Zambia and to help provide safe drinking water throughout rural Zambia through Zambia Fresh Water Project. The twelve mile route of walktheirwalk symbolizes the distance children from Twachiyanda walk every day in order to attend school. We are privileged to be a small part of building a better life for these children, their families and their community. If you are moved to partner with us, you can donate online at our youth group’s walktheirwalk donation page.