We just wrapped up our first Clean Water U training of 2017 and holding true to the past, this session was filled to the brim with passionate folks, coming together to serve God and God’s children. 45 students and 17 staff members gathered at Camp Hopewell in Oxford, Mississippi to share and learn from each other. Here is our obligatory class photo, all of us in our matching white CWU t-shirts.
We were a diverse group in several ways, from age (early 20s to 75+) to faith background (including non-denominational community church, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, and Mennonite) as well as geographic location. We journeyed from across the north (New Jersey), south (Mississippi), east (North Carolina) and west (California) and many places in between in the U.S. And while we are often blessed by the presence of students from abroad at our trainings, we had five international students who were able to join us in April! That represents a lot of planning and logistics by them, their partners and the LWW networks in which they are partners—visas applied for, visits to embassies, airline tickets purchased, bus and car trips arranged. We are grateful for the commitment, hours, and funds invested for our brothers and sisters to be with us.
(From left) Jacobo, Dany, Omega, and Carlos traveled from the Yucatan, all representing Operating Partners there (Carlos is also an In-Country Coordinator). Leni joined us from Honduras.
What do you see when you look at this photo? I see joy, accomplishment, and welcome. I also see a humble confidence. In a word, service.
One of the things I hold most dear about this work God has called us to is that we are not called to go it alone. We are, as the favorite hymn states, called as partners to be together in this work. We had several “firsts” at this session as well. A big one was that with so many international students, interpreters were key. We had several students who assisted us with this important task and we’re thankful for Doug, Sandy and Patti for being bridges across languages for us. Through a grant, LWW was able to purchase equipment that makes simultaneous translation at conferences possible. We put this new equipment to use at this session and it worked beautifully! Doug Depies, an In-Country Coordinator in the Yucatan, was on the main headset for all of our plenary sessions, translating in real time for us.
This was also the first time we’ve had a drone show up at Clean Water U—thanks to Doug again for some very cool and unique aerial shots.
Our coming together represents faith in the vision that clean water will flow for all God’s children. Amen and amen.