One Thousand Wells: How an Audacious Goal Taught Me to Love the World Instead of Save ItJena Nardella, Donald MillerHoward Books / 2015 / Hardcover$21.60 Retail:5 Stars Out Of 5 4 Reviews
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Amy CVAAge: 35-44Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5One Thousand WellsAugust 25, 2015Amy CVAAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4One 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
I received this book from Howard Books in exchange of my honest opinion, which was given.
Tim M5 Stars Out Of 5Honest memoir about a idealistic vision that turned into a humble journeyAugust 25, 2015Tim MQuality: 5Value: 5Meets 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.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5Well written inspiring memoirAugust 23, 2015bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Can 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.
David Sparvero5 Stars Out Of 5Certainly worth your timeAugust 17, 2015David SparveroQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This 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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