Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.
– Robert McKee, professor, author, and story consultant
Living Waters for the World teams burst with stories after visiting with their water partners – stories of cultures exchanged, lives transformed, and Christ experienced. We retell many of those stories here on “The Flow.” However, far more stories get told in person, around dinner tables, at coffee shops, and in church fellowship halls.
People tell us most often that someone’s personal story motivated them to get involved with Living Waters for the World. The ideas they heard were powerful enough to inspire them to take part. That’s how it happened for Jon Hall and First Presbyterian Church in LaGrange, Illinois.
Jon took a small group of middle-school-age youth from his church to attend “A Work of Love” conference hosted by Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church. The conference included a session presented by Ridgefield-Crystal Lake’s Living Waters for the World team. The water team gave participants an experience called “A day in the life of a Guatemalan child.” They sang songs from the Living Waters health education curriculum, showed photos, told stories from their water partnerships, and demonstrated the importance of clean water for saving lives.
Youth at the retreat drew chalk art representing what they had learned about clean water
The information they presented was impactful, but it was something else that captured Jon’s attention the most. He said, “I was drawn in by the passion of the team members. I could feel the impact of the program on their congregation and their sense of pride.”
(Photo: Rick Johnson of Ridgefield-Crystal Lake leads youth in a lesson from LWW's health education curriculum.)
Lois Johnson, member of the water team, recalled her surprise when Jon approached her after the session. They had been delighted by the opportunity to share their Living Waters stories with others. They were thrilled when Jon asked how he and his church could get involved! The water team connected Jon with Kendall Cox, LWW Director of Education. Jon said, “I also brought the idea forward to our mission and outreach committee. It was obvious that there was immediate interest.”
They arranged for Kendall to meet with a few committee members. According to Jon, “Kendall helped to get the foundation of support set at the church.” From there, five members of the mission and outreach committee visited with the Ridgefield-Crystal Lake team to hear their stories firsthand. Since then, the LaGrange church has been steadily taking steps to form a Living Waters for the World mission team. Three members of their church will attend Clean Water U this October, and they plan to send a representative with the Ridgefield-Crystal Lake team to Guatemala in January.
All this grew from one hour of storytelling.
Lois Johnson, reflecting on the experience, said it was an important reminder to “find ways to tell our story and be open to opportunities. One never knows where it will lead.” She also said that this experience reinforced the team’s desire to “notice where God is leading and be ready to follow.” It’s easy to see how the ripples of impact expand outward from this open-hearted stance.
The LWW team from Ridgefield-Crystal Lake in Antigua, Guatemala. From left to right: Bill Weller, Mary Finch, David Theobald, Rick Johnson, Lois Johnson, Ann Legg, Fred Neuschel, Cindy Theobald, and Mark Harter.
God calls people of all walks of life to join the ministry of Living Waters for the World. The voices that issue those invitations belong to people like the Ridgefield-Crystal Lake team members – and you. How will you lift your voice? Your Living Waters for the World story might be the one that God has prepared someone to hear.