One Thousand Wells: How an Audacious Goal Taught Me to Love the World Instead of Save It
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One Thousand Wells: How an Audacious Goal Taught Me to Love the World Instead of Save It

Howard Books / 2015 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Ten years ago, Nardella had $1,000 and a lofty goal of building wells in Africa. But after encountering corruption, brokenness, and other faith-testing realities, she learned that she needed to stop trying to change the world and allow herself to start loving it with all its faults. An inspiring memoir! Foreword by Donald Miller. 256 pages, hardcover from Howard.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Howard Books
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 6.00 X 9.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1501107437
ISBN-13: 9781501107436

Publisher's Description

Jena Nardella, cofounder of Blood:Water and one of Christianity Today’s 33 Under 33, shares how her passion for saving the world grew into a humbler long-term calling of loving the world in all its brokenness in this beautifully written memoir.

Ten years ago, Jena Lee Nardella was a fresh-out-of-college, twenty-something with the lofty goal of truly changing the world. Armed with a diploma, a thousand dollars, and a dream to build one thousand wells in Africa, she joined forces with Grammy Award–winning band Jars of Clay to found Blood:Water and begin her mission.

Jena's dream for her nonprofit turned that initial $1 into $20, and then $100, and today into more than $25 million. Working throughout eleven countries in Africa, Blood:Water has provided healthcare for over 62,000 people in HIV-affected areas and has partnered with communities to provide clean water for more than one million people in Africa. But along the way she faced many harsh realities that have tested her faith, encountered corruption and brokenness that nearly destroyed everything she'd fought for, and taught her that wishful thinking will not get you very far. Jena discovered that true change comes only when you stop trying to save the world and allow yourself to love it, even when it breaks your heart.

With a fresh, intelligent, and winsome voice, Jena Lee Nardella weaves an evocative personal narrative filled with honest and hard-won lessons that demonstrate the amazing things that can happen when you fight for your dreams.

Author Bio

Jena Lee Nardella is the cofounder of Blood:Water, which she started ten years ago at the age of twenty-two with the band Jars of Clay. Following her vision and leadership, the organization has brought clean water access to more than one million people in Africa and provided healthcare for more than 62,000 people in HIV-affected areas. In 2012, Jena was invited by President Obama to pray for the nation in front of a TV audience of twenty million. She has been honored as an Epoch Award Winner, as GOOD Magazine's GOOD 100, and as one of Christianity Today's 33 under 33 Christian leaders shaping the next generation of faith. Jena serves on the core team for Praxis, a venture group helping entrepreneurs build high-impact organizations and served on the board for Equitas Group, a philanthropic organization focused on ending child exploitation in Haiti and Southeast Asia. Jena and her husband, James, and their son, Jude live in Nashville and East Africa.

Editorial Reviews

“Original, perceptive, and compelling… In an astonishingly honest voice, Jena Lee Nardella reflects on the questions we ask ourselves when the odds are overwhelmingly against us - why hope that seems foolish is still necessary.”
“Very few people can write a book about how they have already changed the world before they’re even 30. Jena is one of those rare gifts from God. Her story, her heart, and her journey of bringing clean, fresh, life-giving water to the people in Africa is one you will never forget. Read One Thousand Wells and then help her dig some more.”
"This is a book of profound hope sure to inspire dreamers of all kinds. Jena Nardella's story proves that when we pursue audacious goals, we find so much more than we went looking for."
“Captivatingly honest… Her story lights the path for a generation of disillusioned Christians sifting through tough questions about selfless love and unbounded faith in a world of heightened individualism.”
“Jena’s story will inspire you to go out and live a great story. And though the work she does is serious business, she never takes herself too seriously. She invites you into her world like an old friend.”
"Buckle up, you're about to meet one of love's heroes."
“An authentic and inspiring read for those who want to make a difference in the world.”
"This is a story of idealism maturing, step by step, into lasting love—and it's a story every idealist, and every almost-cynic, must read."
"Jena Lee Nardella lives her life with honesty and humility—always learning and always adventurous. In One Thousand Wells, her indomitable spirit shows through! A delightful read that shows what can happen when you love others with your whole life, pursue passion with reckless abandon, and allow yourself to be changed along the way."
"One Thousand Well is the journey of a calling, from start to finish. It's for the ones of us that always felt the call to something "big" in our bones. What's refreshing about Jena's story is that it isn't too massive for us- it gives us hope that the world can be shifted through persistence, a dedication to one's cause, and baby steps. If each of us lived with the plain love and bold obedience of Jena, there'd be a thousand more tales of loving the world-- instead of saving it-- out there. It is so evident-- the world needs more stories like this one."
"Jena’s passionate, reflective and uncompromising journey has inspired me and the team at charity: water for years. Her leadership has not only directly impacted the lives of so many with clean water, but inspired countless others to break from apathy and follow their passions to give and serve.”
“Oliver Wendell Holmes put it best. “Give me the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” That, in a phrase, describes where many social entrepreneurs stall out. They run up against complexity and are overwhelmed by it. Jena Lee Nardella is one of the very few who not only made it through that obstacle but now has the wisdom and skills to be a guide for others.”

Product Reviews

4.8 Stars Out Of 5
4.8 out of 5
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(1)
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Quality:
4.8 out Of 5
(4.8 out of 5)
Value:
4.8 out Of 5
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Meets Expectations:
4.8 out Of 5
(4.8 out of 5)
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Displaying items 1-4 of 4
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  1. Amy C
    VA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    One Thousand Wells
    August 25, 2015
    Amy C
    VA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    One Thousand Wells is an interesting read. It tells about how Blood:Water came to be. I found it to be inspiring and full of faith and grace. I admire the author's determination to do something wonderful in the world at such a young age. Recommended

    4 stars

    I received this book from Howard Books in exchange of my honest opinion, which was given.
  2. Tim M
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Honest memoir about a idealistic vision that turned into a humble journey
    August 25, 2015
    Tim M
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    "One Thousand Wells" by Jena Lee Nardella is a gripping and heart-tugging memoir about co-founding Blood:Water Mission on youthful idealism and a thousand dollars. Since my wife and I have been supporting Blood:Water Mission in a small, but consistent way since nearly the beginning, I knew many stories about the work of Blood:Water. But I wanted to learn about Jena's story, her passion, and her journey.

    I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of "One Thousand Wells", and I can unequivocally recommend it. The story arc is nearly chronological through Jena's narration, but what stood out to me is the honesty through which Jena writes. It's an honesty of experience, maturity, and commitment that only pulls you into the story more rather than scares you away. Jena takes us on so many journeys, realistically describing the uncomfortable, the fearful, the exciting, the thrilling, and even the heartbreaking experiences she and others have had while trying to partner with local African communities to build a thousand wells.

    The book is written in three parts and the chapters are short, which allows for fast reading, as well as reading in short bursts. Jena's writing is very accessible, and her emotions - of all varieties - are evident throughout the book. There are aspects of youthful navet, the coming of age, love lost, love gained, trust love, trust gained, the ebb and flow of relationships, deep sadness, overwhelming joy, questions of faith and pangs of doubt, and about all hope: all characteristics of a story worth living. Jena took a risk of a lifetime to co-found Blood:Water Mission with Jars of Clay, and we literally get to read how the lives of thousands upon thousands in African have been saved because she accepted the risk. Truly, truly inspiring.
  3. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Well written inspiring memoir
    August 23, 2015
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Can one young woman change the world? Can she change living conditions for thousands of people?

    Jena was a young girl on the way to a restaurant with her mother for lunch when she encountered a homeless and hungry man begging on the sidewalk. She was shocked, having faced the brutal reality that not all people were blessed with food and shelter like she was. After lunch, her uneaten burger was boxed up. She and her mom went back to the place where the man had been but he was gone. She never saw him again but that experience gave her the insatiable desire to have her life matter.

    As a teen and college student, she worked in soup kitchens, feeding the homeless. Her life took a turn when, through another, she met with Jars of Clay, a contemporary (Christian) music group who had a desire like hers. They were concerned about the lack of clean water in Africa, as well as its untreated HIV-positive people. Blood:Water was born when Jena was twenty-two. Their audacious goal was one thousand wells.

    She writes of her trips to East Africa, observing groups with which they would partner in work. Some projects would be fixing existing wells. Other projects would be transporting clean water from a distant source. They helped build a clinic. They struggled with their identity as a Christian organization and what that meant.

    I was especially interested to read of the insights Jena gleaned about this kind of development work. There had been many previous attempts to provide water to African villages. Many of the projects failed. Some well projects succeeded only to have the well or machinery fall into disrepair. Jena realized that the local people needed to be involved in the project and take ownership of it. Partnering with grassroots organizations in Africa would be the way forward.

    What an encouraging book! Nardella's writing is well done, much of it in an almost poetic voice. She is very honest about her dreams, questions and struggles. She shares the hard lessons she learned about life, service, and marriage. At times she was overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness, betrayal and disillusion. At times she was celebrating a glorious victory.

    It is better, her mentor said, to be doing something than be doing nothing. Jena's book is a challenge to be doing something, to be honest about the world yet live in hope. It reveals that even a small group of people dedicated to helping others can initiate a work that has helped millions. I highly recommend it.

    I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
  4. David Sparvero
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Certainly worth your time
    August 17, 2015
    David Sparvero
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book is written by a sincere Christian who took a risk and used all that God put before her. There is no sugarcoating the story or the realistic doubts she overcomes and still deals with. This book is not a product of the Christian media market. It is a honest memoir by a honest Christian. And the patient, faithful work of God is seen in the story. So no matter what one might find issue with in the little details of this story, the clear reality remains that God is more than willing to use any of us if we are willing to trust Him in an imperfect world.

    One Thousand Wells thoroughly teaches the reader that the world is not perfect nor are the people that can impact it. But no difference can be made without a love for the world that sees beyond the overwhelming issues that exist. This book also serves as a fantastic introduction for a Christian to properly comprehend third world issues. If nothing else, read this book as an icebreaker to the complexity of different cultures, economies and social issues. But also allow yourself to be introduced to one of the universal elements that people can share across the continents for each other: respect. This respect is rooted in love; a love that is compelled by the unrestricted love of Christ.
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