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Clean Water U: Bicycles, Training Wheels, and WD-40

Remember your first bike? Mine looked something like this. I went downstairs Christmas morning, before anyone else was up, and there it was, leaning up against the wall next to the Christmas tree. I was so excited, I took it outside and started practicing - my first two-wheeler! I ran upstairs to wake my big brothers so they could look out their window to watch me practice. I smile thinking about that five-year old, jumping on that bike, anxious to learn something new!

I’ve been thinking a bit about bicycles lately. Perhaps because I just got my bike out of the shed (where it had been for a while) so I could start riding around the neighborhood again. Turns out it was in pretty good shape - a little air in the front tire and I was good to go. I pushed off, started peddling, and it turned out I hadn’t forgotten how to ride! I had to make a few gear adjustments but other than that, the old saying, “it’s like riding a bike” turned out to be true - I just needed to make sure everything was in proper working order before getting back on the bike.

That got me pondering about bicycles and water partnerships. If your water team is like mine, it’s been a while since you’ve been able to visit your partners or begun working with a new partner. Some training wheels and a little WD-40 might do some good right about now.

Clean Water U workshop classes in April (from left): Water Project Management (101), Health Education (102), and Water System Installation (103)

Clean Water U (CWU) training is the training wheels and WD-40 we all need - our staff included! At the April session, we had several new teams with us, some already established teams sending new team members to be trained, and several students returning to get more training. Denise Aylesworth, a helicopter pilot who is about to retire, was one of the returning students. Her team from South Alabama Presbytery will be partnering in Guatemala soon and she wants to be ready to lead the water system installation training. “The more I learn, the more there is to learn,” she said. We couldn’t agree more: There is always more to learn when it comes to every single aspect of water partnerships. No matter how many water partnerships we’ve been part of, we are always practicing - all of us.

Jackie (left) and Denise (right) explaining to 101 and 102 students how the water system works

Jackie Wagner is a 27-year-old bakery owner who lives in Ohio. She recently joined the Elizabethtown, Kentucky team that partners in Guatemala. She attended the April session right before heading to Guatemala to assist in a water system installation with a fire department. Here’s what she had to say about CWU: "I can’t recommend attending CWU enough! I arrived at camp with little idea what to expect, no missionary experience, and zero history with the Presbyterian Church. I left with friendships I am confident will last a lifetime, tied together by the unifying mission for purified water and the love, acceptance, and empowerment that envelops all who are involved with Living Waters for the World. I can’t wait to return this coming April for my second year of CWU - this time as a partnership management student!"

Lakeisha Glaspie (left), a school teacher and member of the new team at Good News Free Will Baptist Church in Chesterfield, Virginia, attended the health education workshop in preparation for their upcoming visit with their partner in Cuba. Our health education students wowed us with their presentation explaining what they’d learned during the training! As a “first-timer,” Lakeisha shared, “I really enjoyed my time at CWU. The whole staff was amazing and they did an excellent job conveying the information so that it was memorable and reproducible. Also, I valued the time spent in the group sessions that were specifically divided according to the countries where we would be partnering. It was helpful to talk to and learn from other individuals who had already been through the process. Thanks again for investing in me!”

April 2022 Clean Water U Graduates

As we all begin to slowly and safely venture out again, Living Waters for the World is here, whether you need some training wheels, a little WD-40, or someone to help steady the bike and run alongside you as your team starts peddling. We can’t wait to hear where God, pure water, and peddling takes us all.


Kendall Cox is Director of Education for Living Waters for the World. She is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Greenville, Mississippi where she is an elder and sings in the choir. Her church partners on water in Cuba.


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