World Water Day Focuses on Millennials

As millions mark World Water Day on March 22, a Christian organization is pursuing the key group it believes can play a major role in bringing two kinds of life-giving fresh water to those in need—millennials. Fill_My_Cup_child_clean_drinking_water

Missionary group Reach Beyond’s “Fill My Cup” project is focused on this passionate, cause-centric group of  Christians, believing that their strong social conscience can be channeled into a new wave of support for efforts to bring lasting spiritual change to people thirsty for God.

Founded in 1993, World Water Day brings attention to the plight of the 660 million-plus people living without a safe water supply close to home. As a result, many are forced to devote hours to trekking to distant sources, or waiting for their turn to collect some, and face the health challenges of using contaminated water.

With three decades of helping with clean water systems behind it, Reach Beyond is now seeking to expand its efforts through “Fill My Cup,” raising money to drill a clean water well in a part of Africa where people have been resistant to the gospel.

Organizers believe that, as similar efforts have done in other places, the better health project will open doors to share the gospel, and that by demonstrating how such practical projects can become a bridge for evangelism—sharing the good news of the “living water” of which Jesus spoke—more young Christians will be inspired to rally behind similar programs.

“We admire how so many millennial Christians have a high concern about issues of social justice,” said Reach Beyond President Steve Harling. “But they also tend to be less invested in sharing the gospel. We want to help them learn more about how the two can go together—a practical demonstration of God’s care naturally leading to opportunities to share the gospel.”

Through its longtime media- and medical-based ministry, Reach Beyond is well aware how much a lack of clean water negatively affects thousands of communities in the developing world, from poor health to the loss of educational opportunities for young people, especially girls. They are often forced to miss school to instead walk long distances to hand-carry home water for cooking and washing.

Over the past few years, Reach Beyond has worked with partners to provide more wells in four countries in Africa as well as in parts of Central Asia, Haiti and Nepal. In 2016 alone, Reach Beyond helped complete 15 clean water projects, in Benin, Ghana, and Ecuador.

“We have been able to use the opportunity of providing life-giving physical water to share about God’s great gift of eternal living water,” said Harling.

The 60-day “Fill My Cup” campaign focuses on millennials and aims to raise at least $12,000 to fund a well-drilling project in a predominantly Muslim area historically resistant to the gospel. Targeting social media platforms favored by younger people, the campaign launched March 1 to incorporate two important dates on the calendar—World Water Day (March 22) and World Health Day (April 7).

Donors receive a thank-you gift for their support: a handmade African keychain, a T-shirt bearing the message “Nsupa ye de,” which means “Good water is tasty” in the Akan language, or an exclusive signed African-themed print from Reach Beyond staff member and artist Brian Mellema.

“We believe that many young Christians will want to be part of this kind of two-handed presentation of the gospel, when they see how providing practical, physical help in God’s name can become a vehicle for sharing the wonderful message of the gospel,” said Harling. “By bringing people clean water, we can also introduce them to the source of living water.”

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