Former Nickelodeon star Kel Mitchell, who's a youth pastor at Spirit Food Christian Center in Los Angeles, says he led several of his fans to Christ amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On Saturday, he will continue to spread hope throughout the world by participating in World Vision's Global 6K for Water.
Mitchell and his family will join countless others worldwide for the largest 6K walk/run for clean water. Running this 6K is for a good cause, he said, explaining that it should be easy for him because he's in good shape and works out “all the time.”
“I love working out. It's very important with me and my family, and health is important too,” he said. “As we're going on our faith walk, it's very important that we take care of our body as well so that we can go and carry the Good News. Because the enemy can get us that way, too, through nutrition and things like that. So we want to make sure that we're healthy.”
"I love the fact that World Vision is doing this because ... drinking water is very important for good nutrition and having a healthy lifestyle,” he added. “In different countries, it's water that's contaminated.”
Mitchell has worked with World Vision for many years to support struggling families.
"What World Vision is doing is that they're bringing wells, and they're building rigs, and bringing clean water to people that really need it,” he explained.
Mitchell is encouraging others to sign up to do the 6K walk for children around the world who need it.
"6K is just a little bit over 3 miles,” he noted. “The thing about the 6K is that a lot of kids walk that far to actually go get clean water. They're walking 3 miles or so with something that's as heavy as a microwave on their back, walking and doing this. And we’re saying, ‘Hey, we're going to help bring clean water to you so you don't have to do that.’ And then we're going to pay homage to you by actually doing a walk on May 22 and just celebrate bringing clean water to others. And it's all about love.”
“In the Bible, they say faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love. So we want to show love to all, all over the world. I love that World Vision is doing that. So I'm all about it,” the comedic actor, known for producing “All That” with Kenan Thompson, added.
The COVID-19 pandemic was devasting for many worldwide, and Mitchell stressed that having access to clean water played a significant role in maintaining healthy communities.
"Everyone talks about how to prevent getting COVID is having a healthy lifestyle and making sure that you wash your hands and clean your hands. But the truth is that if your water is contaminated where you live, how can you wash your hands in that way? he posited.
“World Vision is making sure that there are stations to wash your hands in these villages, and in these countries where they can wash their hands and have clean water so they can prevent the spread of COVID.”
He said he was grateful to be partnering with an organization that is “changing lives.”
"By 2022, we want to make sure that everybody has clean water,” Mitchell declared. “I'm behind World Vision on this. I'm all about kids; I work in the entertainment business with kids. With being on a kid's network for so many years and being a youth pastor, it's just so important to me [that] the kids have a smile on their face. And if we can provide a smile any type of way, I think it's beautiful.”
The iconic “Good Burger” star has 1 million followers on Instagram alone, and during the pandemic, he said he saw God capitalize on his reach. As Mitchell promoted his ministry with Spirit Food online due to gathering restrictions, it opened up an opportunity for people all over the world to come to Christ.
“So what is happening is that now, I got people all over the world and from the U.K., fans that know me from Nickelodeon but didn't know this love for Christ that I have,” he told CP. “Now they're coming over just like 'Oh, I want to come over because he loves orange soda' or 'I want to see him say, 'welcome to Good Burger.’ But when they come, then they go, 'Oh, wow, I see his faith. I see this love that he has, this grace that has been given to him that he keeps talking about.'
"We've had a lot of people give their life to Christ,” Mitchell testified. “We did a virtual baptism at our church for the first time, which is awesome. It's all these kids that are getting salvation and giving their life to Christ online.”
“That's the thing about it. I know where I'm at is because of what God has given to me. I let others know that I'm not anything special, we're all special and God loves us all. It's just that we have to know that God loves us,” he added. “How can He do that if we're not being speakers? So I'm just letting everybody know, being an ambassador for Christ about this love that we're on.”
Mitchell’s coming to Jesus moment came after years of having to grow up in the entertainment industry.
"I had to adult within Hollywood, and that's even deep for any kid and any child, just adulting anyway can be hard. But when you're in the public eye it presents a situation where it's like, 'Can I trust this person? Does this person like me for who I am or is it just because I'm on television? he explained.
"So for me, I went through a lot of different things growing up in Chicago and growing up in LA. And it was one of those things where I created a lot of emotional walls. I made some mistakes and things like that. It was a thing where I was trying to figure out everything on my own, and when we do that a lot, we'll bump our head.”
In the midst of building all these “emotional walls,” Mitchell said God provided a way out for him.
"He's in the middle of it all. He's there while we're going through the trouble that we're going through and what we're going through. In those down times, when people say in the valley, in those down times, I remember who was with me, and who was with me was God. My faith and my hope were made strong by Him,” Mitchell assured.
The entertainer said his wife encouraged him to share his faith openly in his secular environments after he expressed to her that he wanted to tell others about Christ.
"I want to tell others about how faith can bring you through in those hard times. I would be doing people a disservice if I didn't do that when they asked me, 'What are some keys to life? What are some ways to do it?' The most important is me following Christ and what He can do in your life. So I was just like, 'I want to bring that to others,'” he recounted.
The calling had been on his “life for years,” Mitchell admitted.
"I remember talking to my wife, and she was just like, 'Just do it. Even if there's no one else to look at that's doing it, you just do what God is telling you to do.' And I've done it!” he declared.
The second season of Mitchell’s hit MTV show, “Deliciousness,” also premieres this month and he said he shares Christ with his colleagues there too.
"Every time I step on a set and I go places, my main thing is: I'm meeting everybody for a reason. So if I need to pray for that person, or just through my actions, I can be a testimony to others,” he said.
"With actors and entertainers, they're no different than anybody else. We all go through problems and issues and you'll be surprised, there are so many men and women of faith that are in the entertainment business as well."
“My main thing is just helping people focus on Christ, and not the crisis of things that are going on in the world. What I mean by that is finding the joy within everything, finding the joy of the Lord. Because if we're saying we're following a loving God, that means we have to be just as loving,” he maintained.
“Not pointing fingers at everybody, 'Well, you're doing this and doing this.' No! Show that love and love others and then when you do that, it becomes like confetti where it rubs off on other people, he said.
Mitchell encouraged parents to get their children involved in humanitarian efforts like the 6K walk/run with World Vision.
"You have to raise your kids within that way. It's always been important to me. My parents always showed me how to help others. Because before I even got on television, I was always doing that. I was working in the community. My mom is a retired teacher and my dad is a psychologist. So [a] teacher and psychologist who are all about helping. So they've always taught me that,” the father of three said.
"I didn't get on TV until I was a teenager, so it was definitely important in my family that we love one another, and help one another,” he added. “By doing this run, it's so beautiful because you can teach your kids about exercising, being healthy, and while we're doing this, we're helping other kids around the world. We're helping them so that they can have clean water, just like you have clean water.”
To find out more about the clean water initiative, visit World Vision.