Jars of Clay Makes a Difference Through Clean Water Project Blood: Water Mission
Whether you are in school, in your career or taking care of your family, each of us can feel summer creeping up. The warmer temperatures and longer days mean an opportunity for summer vacations, family gatherings and activities. It can also be a great opportunity to serve others with your time off. Throughout May, we are going to highlight some of the celebrities that we have interviewed and the non-profits or missions organizations that they have started. While you may not be able to go for an entire week, hopefully these stories will inspire you to use some of your time to serve others in your community or around the world!
Multi-platinum, Grammy Award winning band, Jars of Clay has spent many of their summers on tour. In 2001, they had been asked by World Vision to start talking about AIDS from the stage because at the time only 3% of evangelicals said they would help someone with AIDS in Africa. They shared statistics with their concert-goers but Jars of Clay just felt like it was information. It wasn’t until they took a trip to Africa for 10 days that their perspectives would change.
Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay shared with us what his experience was like.
“I went and experienced a lot of things, but the one thing that I saw that shocked me [in Malawi] was that while driving from this one community out into the Bush, we drove over a dry river bed and there were people in the river bed digging holes and sticking their faces down into the holes. I thought that was really weird and didn’t know what they were doing. Our driver told me they were drinking. That was the first I had heard about communities that didn’t have access to clean water and obviously it started a line of questions. AIDS is a disease that destroys the immune system, but AIDS isn’t actually killing these people, it’s the water that they are drinking and all the disease that are in the water. If you don’t have clean water in your community and HIV/AIDS is prevalent, then the water is just killing everybody. I realized what the puzzle was; ‘How do you talk to the church or evangelical community about engaging in HIV/AIDS; something that is tied to the sexual culture, which the church can’t seem to handle?’ All of a sudden I realized the answer: water. It’s really hard to argue whether or not a person should have access to clean water. It was the entry point. It meant, ‘Okay we’re going to get them to care and do something about HIV/AIDS, because we are going to get them to care about clean water.’ So we started Blood: Water Mission.”
“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” John 4:13-15
What started on a trip to Africa, has developed into Blood: Water Mission, an organization that since 2004 has raised $27million that brings clean water and HIV/AIDS support to 1 million people in 11 countries.
Dan described to us how it came to fruition.
“I found a statistic from the World Health Organization that had said one dollar can equal clean water for an African or an entire year. Everybody talks about issues form the 40,000-foot perspective; every issue is in the millions of people. There is no way for people to really get a sense for what is going on. I realized the opportunity we had was the human story. All we are asking people to do is care about one person. We can tell that story. We started the campaign with a plan to have clean water in one thousand communities in Africa…”
“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” James 3:10-12
Whether God takes you to another country or to your community for an outreach, our team is praying that God will use you this summer. May your time be used to honor Him.
Take time out to serve. Start with setting aside a day. Check with your local church or non-profit organizations. Many have events and projects already set up that you can simply be a part of. Gather your friends, family or small group and make a day of it. After the project, grab a meal together, share what you learned and pray for the people that you served. Pray about committing to serve the same group of people or area over a longer period of time.
Pray about going on a mission trip. From an inner-city trip to international missions, there are many opportunities and organizations you can be a part of. Pray and ask God to guide and direct you. Check with your local church about trips that they might be taking or find a cause that you are passionate about and research groups that serve that need. Prior to committing, make sure to ask other’s what their experience was like with the organization and in that country. It will help you prepare.
Take your passion and turn it into purpose! Maybe God has placed a unique burden or calling on your heart to start an organization or mission to a new need or people group. Ask others who have started similar things what they have learned. Pray and ask God to order your decisions and bring others alongside who can help you fulfill His vision.
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