That nightmare birthed in Jeff a real world dream to bring clean water to Rwanda. Jeff shared the idea with his good friend Gabe Lyons, who gave it legs. Gabe discovered a foundation partner to help receive money and provide it to their implementation partners on the ground in Rwanda. The idea of bringing clean water to Rwanda was launched at an event of about 10,000 church leaders, called Catalyst, in October 2005. As the participants entered one morning, every person was given a bottle of water: no explanation, no tag, no branding, no cost, just pure, clean water. Then the needs in Africa were shared, with the reality that if clean water in developing countries was available, sickness and illnesses would literally be cut in half. The leaders present responded by giving $134,000!
In the spring of 2006, a group of 15 people, including Jeff Shinaberger, went to Rwanda to report on the first wells that had been dug since that offering. They came home humbled by how many lives were changed and how little was needed to make such a substantial difference for thousands of people in Rwanda. Yet millions more still don’t have the luxury of having clean water every day. They left Rwanda asking themselves: What if we could do more? What if more families had access to clean water?
Since that trip to Rwanda, individuals and churches all over the nation that have grasped the importance of clean water have collaborated together and raised $440,000 toward clean water in Rwanda. Their goal is to raise $1 million.
As this dream has become a reality, Jeff has continually reflect on three powerful concepts he has learned along the journey:
- Common good projects unify people.
Rwanda Clean Water is people of different convictions, theologies, ages, religions, and locations working together to better humanity. Unifying for the common good is a great conversation for Christians to lead in society.
- Clean water creates sustainable communities.
Clean water not only benefits individual Rwandans, but also offers a deep place for developing the Rwandan community.
- Influence is gained by doing something.
Rwanda Clean Water has gained attention from media, churches, and cultural leaders because an idea became action. When creators move from concept to practice, people will follow.
Attn: Clean Water Fund
PO Box 922
Suwanee, GA 30024