This article is written by Board Member Jessica Schwieger. Jessica and her husband, fellow board member Scott Schwieger recently traveled to New Jersey to visit our partners at Sharptown Church. Here is an account of their trip!
Almost three years ago, Cindy Dutton of Pennsville, NJ felt a burden to do something about the millions of people (currently it's 844 million) who lack clean water. She began planning an event to raise money for the cause before she even knew who she would give it to. After a lot of research, she found the Living Water Project and chose this organization because we are completely volunteer run and all but the small amount that Paypal takes goes to the water projects and not to overhead costs.
For the last three Augusts, Cindy has organized and spearheaded The Sharptown Water Walk. It is put on by Cindy and fellow members of the Sharptown United Methodist Church in Pilesgrove, NJ. The Water Walk is an interactive, hands on event. Held at Fort Mott State Park, participants choose whatever size bucket they want - from 1/2 gallon to 5 gallons - walk to the Deleware River, fill up their bucket(s) and then walk a 1.25 mile course through the park and back to a picnic pavilion. Part of the course goes through a semi-wooded area that has the feel of being in the wilderness, an experience many people around the world no doubt have as they walk long distances to obtain clean water. The course ends with an obstacle course that is meant to mimic some of the difficult conditions people have to navigate just to obtain clean water, something we take for granted.
Before August, no one from the Living Water Project had ever met Cindy or her friends. We've been amazed at the creativity and generosity of these people so many states away who have trusted us with the fruit of their labor. In August, right after our 2nd annual fundraising dinner, Scott Schwieger, one of our new board members (and my husband) and I had the pleasure of going to New Jersey to meet Cindy, her husband Stu, the missions committee at Sharptown and many of their fellow church members. Stu and Cindy opened their home to us and took us to Fort Mott State Park to walk the Water Walk course. While we were in South Jersey, we also spoke in their church services, answered questions during Bible Class and had lunch with the missions committee. It was a great weekend and we were blessed to meet Stu and Cindy as well as many others at the Sharptown Church.
Our visit to Pilesgrove and Pennsville was another experience that confirms God is at work everywhere! He loves all of us and will use us to minister to those who are hurting. Also, Stu and Cindy's faith was uplifting and contagious. They are a couple devoted to God and thankful to Him for all He's done in their lives. That faithfulness and gratitude no doubt equips them to do great things like plan and organize the Sharptown Water Walk. We'd all do well to learn from them and mimic their thankfulness as well as obedience to God's leadings.
Please contact us if you are interested in hearing more about opportunities to partner your community with The Living Water Project.