A Twist on the Challenge

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Jessie Skelly is a follower of Jesus, a sports fanatic, a dedicated husband and a new dad—but if you were just meeting him, perhaps the first thing you would notice about Jessie is his signature moustache. We recently caught up with him to chat about his involvement with Safe Water September—and why it could signal a sudden end to his long-term relationship with the ‘stache.

Thanks for chatting to us about your involvement in Safe Water September Jessie! Can you tell us about how you first heard of it?

Jessie: Sure! There was a young adult’s night engaging people in mission and it was run by embody. I went along and heard about the Safe Water September campaign, and that’s when I first started doing it! That was three years ago.

That’s great. What was it about the challenge that stood out to you?

Jessie: I think for me, I’ve been to a whole bunch of different developing countries and seen the reality of how people live, and also how generous and kind people are, despite not having much. This is a thing I can do to give back and raise necessary funds to see lives changed on the ground over there.

So you’ve been doing the challenge for a few years now. What have you learned from doing the challenge in the past?

Jessie: I’ve really found that it’s given me some perspective and made me more grateful. Something as simple as water, I take for granted—so when I have water, I really stop to appreciate the taste, and as you reflect on it more, you realise it’s really awesome to have clean drinking water. I’m so grateful.

We’ve heard you have some pretty creative fundraising ideas for this year’s challenge! Have you fundraised creatively in the past?

Jessie: Not that I can think of! I’ve done things like funny videos on social media, but not much other than that. 

This year should be exciting then! How much are you trying to raise?

Jessie: This year? $10,000!

That’s a really significant goal! What made you decide on that number?

Jessie: Something large like that really challenges me to get on board. I want to get people engaged in it. I guess I want to put my money where my mouth is and be heavily invested and show that I do care about it, but it’s not really about me at all.  

I want to reach a significant goal because I want to see a significant number of lives changed. It would be really cool to see $150,000 raised for the campaign this year. It helps to have my church on board too.

We heard a rumour that you’re planning to shave off your moustache if you reach your goal of $10,000. Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with your ‘stache and what this means to you? 

Jessie: Me and my moustache have been going out for a few years now—it’s been about three years.

It basically started because I can’t really grow facial hair, or at least I didn’t think I could, and I definitely can’t grow a beard. Then one September, my wife’s family were going to a wedding and her three older brothers and dad decided to grow a beard, and I was like “I’ve got nothing”. But I thought screw it, I’ll grow my moustache that little bit longer and see what happens, and that really kicked it off. That’s how the relationship with the moustache really began.

Now that I’m telling everyone about shaving it off, it’s amazing how many people have said “no, don’t do it”! I’ve been teaching scripture in a high school in Sydney for the last couple of weeks and talking about Safe Water September, and every time I tell them I want to shave my moustache they’re like “no, it’s perfect”! It’s pretty funny. 

It sounds like shaving off the ‘stache is the end goal—so have you got some other challenges up your sleeve for the fundraising journey?

Jessie: That was part of my plan, and I’m still trying to work out how I’m going to go about it. I’ve got a few challenges in mind, and I’m planning on one for every $1,000 raised. Something like doing a silly salmon into water, just dumb things. I also want to get some ideas off people. 

That sounds like a great way to engage the people who are helping you fundraise. Would you encourage others to sign up and get involved?

Jessie: I’d encourage anyone to get on board—sign up, give it a go. You only have to raise $10, $100, something small, every dollar counts. 

Absolutely. Why do you think it’s so important to sign up?

Jessie: At the end of the day, I would encourage people to do it because it makes you appreciate what you have, and realise how blessed we are to live in Australia. It makes you grateful for something as simple as water, and it makes you realise how much water does change lives. So many kids die from diarrhoea under the age of five and man, if something like water could actually change that, who wouldn’t want to do it?

If you want to provide life-changing safe water to rural communities in Zimbabwe, visit the Safe Water September website! Make sure you’re following @embodyau on Instagram for updates on Jessie and his moustache’s fundraising journey.

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