Change Makers

Global 6K for Water creates an unforgettable moment for a California pastor

What are the unforgettable moments in your life? It could have been when you drove a car for the first time or got your first paycheck. Or when your favorite sports team won a game or even a championship. What about marrying the love of your life or holding your baby in your arms for the first time? Or that moment when you realized how much the people in your life love you?

For 44-year-old Nicole Wetmore, meeting her sponsored child, 5-year-old Grace, in Uganda became one of her unforgettable moments.

“Just when you feel your heart is full and you can’t take in another thing because you’ve had so many great experiences, or you’ve learned so much, God has a way of breaking your heart again, but in the best possible way,” says Nicole, the local and global missions pastor at Green Valley Community Church in Placerville, California. “It’s a glimpse of allowing us to feel the love he has for people and the way his heart breaks when he sees his people hurting and in need.”

 

Her unforgettable moment wouldn’t have been possible without the Global 6K for Water. Back in May 2018, the second year Nicole served as Green Valley’s Global 6K host site leader, her race bib featured Grace.

“I walked on behalf of Grace because it’s a small way for me to contribute to a greater cause,” she says.

Every Global 6K participant provides clean water to one person in the developing world through the $50 registration fee, and their race bib has the picture, name, and age of a child who will benefit from World Vision’s clean water work.

“These are real people with real issues, and real hopes, and real dreams, and they are facing real challenges too,” Nicole says.

Green Valley Community Church in Placerville California at the Global 6K for Water in 2018.
Grace was on Nicole’s race bib at the Global 6K. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

Six kilometers, a little more than 3.7 miles, is the average distance round trip that women and children in the developing world walk for water. Imagine carrying 44 pounds of water in a 20-liter jerrycan on the way home from the water source. If that’s not enough, 15 liters is considered a bare minimum water supply for one person, so you’ll need to make a few more trips.

The thought of her three sons walking for water — water often contaminated with life-threatening diseases — puts the Global 6K in perspective for Nicole.

“I don’t think about water at home. I walk to the faucet and turn it on,” she says. “And I’m often complaining if it’s not getting hot or cold fast enough. To think that if we didn’t have access to water, I’d have to send my kids off to go collect water for our family — it would be significant.”

That knowledge drives Nicole to tell everyone she knows about the global water crisis and how they can make a difference through the Global 6K.

“One of the most surprising things for me was hearing how excited everybody else was about rallying around clean water and participating in the Global 6K,” Nicole says. “When it doesn’t affect you directly, you think people are disinterested. But then when you’re able to explain what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, it’s pretty cool to have so many people come together for such a great cause.”

Green Valley Community Church in Placerville California at the Global 6K for Water in 2018.
Participants from Green Valley Community Church pose for a group photo before the 6K begins. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

How many exactly? Nearly 170 people participated in Green Valley’s Global 6K in 2018 — everyone from families with strollers carrying both children and dogs to a marathon runner who helped measure the course so that it was exactly 6K.

“I’m not a runner,” Nicole says. “I’m barely a walker sometimes, but the Global 6K is something anyone can participate in. If you can move, you can be involved — even if you can’t walk it. We had volunteers that couldn’t participate but were involved in the process because they have a heart for people and a heart for kids and it was important to them. So just do it.”

Later that day and the next morning during weekend church services, Green Valley continued to educate their congregation on the global water crisis and how each of them can impact a child’s life in a powerful way.

“With Celebration Sunday, we get to not only celebrate what’s happened with the Global 6K, but also take a look at child sponsorship in a different way,” Nicole says. “We didn’t choose where we were born. Some of us ended up here in Placerville and some of us ended up in countries in Africa.”

Nicole says it’s significant that participants can continue the relationship with the child on their race bib by sponsoring them — an opportunity to develop a friendship with a child on the other side of the world and show them the love of God, which brings hope and lifelong transformation.

 

“When I heard about [Grace’s] story and the needs that her family has, I was really blown away and touched that I would be able to sponsor her,” Nicole says.

That choice to sponsor Grace led Nicole to travel more than 9,000 miles to Morungatuny, Uganda, in October 2018, where Grace greeted her with a beaming smile. Nicole’s smile was just as bright.

“Visiting this community and seeing it firsthand puts a whole other layer on making this relationship very personal,” Nicole says. “Even though I had some information about this little girl and her community on a card, meeting her really brings it home and makes you think about your own family and your own circumstances.”

Nicole couldn’t help but notice the stark contrast.

Not even six months after the Global 6K for Water, California pastor Nicole Wetmore traveled to Uganda to meet Grace, who appeared on her 6K race bib.
It was an emotional meeting for the both of them. (©2018 World Vision/photo by K.T. Vera)

“I can’t imagine sending my 5-year-old, let alone my 5-year-old and my 3-year-old, off to go fetch water in such dangerous conditions,” Nicole says. “It’s heartbreaking to think about, and yet this is her responsibility in her family. And in spite of all that, she’s warm, she’s funny, she likes to play, and she likes to do all the same things my kids used to like to do.”

But despite Grace’s current circumstances, Nicole knows there is hope.

“The work World Vision is doing here is so significant in these communities,” she says. “Certainly, access to clean water is vital, but the dignity and value that they bring to life with issues like sanitation and child protection, it is amazing how the leadership here is investing in the community and empowering community leaders and people from this region to take ownership of their community. It’s incredible.”

Grace is one of 36 kids sponsored through the 2018 Global 6K for Water and Celebration Sunday at Green Valley, contributing to more than 2,000 children sponsored through the 2018 Global 6K. And for Nicole, as she remembers her unforgettable moment meeting Grace, there’s greater meaning behind Green Valley’s Global 6K for Water and Celebration Sunday this year.

“It’s something we’re all called to do — to help, serve, and love those in need,” Nicole says. “Whether it’s in our backyard or across the globe, this is something every church, every organization can participate in. We can all do something together to solve the global water crisis.”

How you can help end the global water crisis

  • Learn more about clean water and how you can be part of the movement to end the global water crisis by 2030.
  • Join us in praying that more and more communities, including Grace’s, would have access to clean water.
  • Walk or run the Global 6K for Water on May 16, 2020, to provide life-changing clean water to one person in need. You’ll walk or run with the picture of the child receiving clean water through World Vision’s water projects.
  • Sponsor the child on your bib from Global 6K for Water. Text 6K to 56170 to sponsor the child on your bib; it’s the fastest and simplest way to sponsor! Or you can check your 6K confirmation email for a link or look up your bib number.
  • Give a monthly gift to provide clean water to communities lacking it. Your ongoing gift creates lasting change in a community.

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