Since I was a little girl, Christmas has been a time of such wonder and joy for me. I love the lights, I love the gift-giving, I love gathering with family and friends, and I love that everyone is a little more kind, a little more generous, and a little more giving.
Last year I decided to take on the challenge to serve for 25 days in 25 ways, the way Jesus would have, in order to have a more meaningful Christmas. To say this challenge was life-changing is a major understatement.
We truly had the most joyful, meaningful Christmas we've ever had because each day we did something little to focus on Jesus and giving to others. We did things like volunteer at a Christmas breakfast for military families at a local military base, we had friends over for a spaghetti dinner dinner who were away from their families, living alone, or a single parent, and one day I shared my testimony of the Book of Mormon which eventually led to this lifelong friendship.
But I also felt closer and closer to my Savior with each day. By the end of the challenge, on Christmas day, I felt like I had a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. I felt like I knew Him because I was trying to be more like Him in some small way for 25 days in a row.
This year I can't WAIT to participate in Light the World again, and have an easy way to serve for 25 days in 25 ways to become closer to Christ and have a more meaningful Christmas. And it starts TOMORROW, December 1st!!
We are SO excited though because for DAY TWO of Light the World, we finally get to share something so special that we experienced this past summer. Something I'm CERTAIN we can make a gigantic difference in the world with, that will affect people for the rest of their lives.
A few months ago I showed you guys on social media some of the behind-the-scenes snapshots of Neil and me going to the Dominican Republic to gain a better understanding of the water crisis there, and what an amazing organization called Healing Waters is doing to solve this global crisis.
We went down with Healing Waters along with a film crew from Bonneville Communications to learn about and capture what's really going on with the global water crisis in other parts of the world, so we could understand for ourselves and then help create some awareness, and ultimately come together on a solution to the problem.
Here are some of the sobering stats we learned and saw with our own eyes:
1.8 BILLION people in the world do not have access to clean water. That's almost 1 in 9 people living today. The global water crisis also accounts for over a million deaths a year. And one of the saddest things I learned on this trip was that many of these deaths are children who don't have access to clean water. In fact, every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease.
We were taken to this site to see for ourselves the type of water sources some people have to live with. You guys, they are bathing in and drinking from this water because this is the ONLY source of water they live close enough to. This type of “water source” is not an anomaly. This is what we're talking about when we say global water crisis.
They also took us to a more remote village where, like many people without clean water, the women travel miles and miles carrying dirty water back to their families each day. This “water walk” gave us the chance to feel what it would be like to get our water for our families like this every day, in a heavy bucket, carrying it back to our families because that's the only option they have right now. SO MANY PEOPLE live like this every day.
Here's the thing though. WE CAN HELP. And not just a “drop in the bucket” that will barely make a difference. The United Nations stated, “no other single intervention is more likely to have a significant impact on global poverty than the provision of safe water.”
The organization we went down to the Dominican Republic with, Healing Waters, have come up with water filtration systems that provide clean water to entire villages. But they need help FUNDING these villages. And that's where we can help.
We got to visit a preschool where children are happy and healthy and thriving, as a result of having access to clean water through Healing Waters. That was a huge highlight of our trip, especially in contrast to the poverty and problems caused by a lack of clean water that we were exposed to during other parts of the trip. These kids were so joyful and healthy and happy!!!
We have partnered with some other amazing influencers who we went to the Dominican Republic with – Cute Girls Hairstyles, The Shine Project, and What's Inside – to join Healing Waters to fund some CLEAN WATER villages and give people clean water this Christmas.
Our goal is to each fund a village by putting this message out as many ways we can, to our followers on social media, readers on blogs, subscribers on youtube, and try to bring a ton of people together who want to do a little good this Christmas season to make a big impact all together.
We all got to help host the inauguration of one clean water village through Healing Waters and again, the joy and happiness expressed by the people receiving this water filtration system was inexplicable!! It's something I will never forget.
Each year Neil and I donate to at least one cause at Christmas, and each year these have been totally random and different, depending on what we're feeling strongly moved to help with. Our first Christmas together it was $100 to a homeless shelter, and that was a big sacrifice to us at the time, but we felt that good Christmas spirit fill us up when we dropped it off on Christmas morning. In more recent years, because of my blog growing and because of all the blessings God has given us, we've been able to give more and give to more causes.
We've never advertised this or shared much about it with our readers because I have never wanted it to be like “look guys, look at all the money we give!” We have just tried to give quietly each Christmas.
But this year we felt strongly that this was right, to open up and share what we're doing and how we can ALL give a little or a lot, whatever you feel you can give.
To put it into perspective of how far each dollar goes through Healing Waters, if you were to give $25 a month for a year, you would give clean water to 25 people for life. That's pretty incredible!!!
I know in the past I've worried about whether my money is really going to the cause I want to help with, or if it's getting washed up in other costs or not really impacting people in need like I had hoped. I can PROMISE you that I saw for myself the impact that Healing Waters is having on community after community, and that the money you donate will go straight to the people who need clean water.
You can DONATE HERE and give the gift of clean water to so many people this Christmas, and watch the video below to see in even greater depth why we feel so strongly about spreading awareness and coming together for a solution.
I know by giving to this good cause, we can give something to Jesus at the time of year when we celebrate His birth, by serving another in need.