This August, a team of students from Olivet Nazarene University took to the waters of Lake Michigan for kids in need of clean water.
Here’s how it went down:
- 10 swimmers
- 40 miles
- 2 days
- 150 lives changed through access to clean water
Two years ago, an Olivet swimmer was moved by the purpose of Team World Vision, but unable to run a marathon because of his training schedule. So he dreamed up a new event that he and his swimming teammates could do on their own. They called it Water 4 Water, a relay-style swim across Lake Michigan.
This year, a group of Olivet swimmers decided to bring back the event and carry on the tradition. So they swam a 40 mile relay from Michigan City, Indiana to New Buffalo, Michigan, and back to Michigan City.
Austin Bennett, a junior at Olivet who led the effort, said, “This was a cool opportunity for us to be able to make a difference with what we do every day. We swim so much. This is a cool opportunity for us to branch out and do something really different with our talents.”
Trust us, this was no small feat to pull off. The team needed to coordinate boats, drivers, safety measures, housing and food for 10 swimmers over the course of two full days, all while keeping a focus on fundraising.
Team member Todd Sutter said that trusting God was the biggest lesson he learned through the whole process. “There were a lot of logistics that needed to be figured out, praying through the summer that we would be able to pull it off,” he said. “The weather was perfect. The boat situation came though. The housing came through. God provided for us. He leads us in the right direction.“
The team has so far raised enough money to provide clean water to 150 people in Africa. But they’re not done yet. Austin and Todd dream of what the event could become: doubling the number of people involved and the amount they can raise, swimming a farther distance, and getting more college swim teams engaged. Stay tuned to see what can happen in 2017!
Thanks Water 4 Water team for giving us an amazing example of creatively using your talents for the sake of others. You fought through logistical challenges, waited out literal storms, and infected those around you with a desire to help end the clean water crisis. We’re thankful for your leadership and can’t wait to see what can happen with your vision and desire to serve those in need.