How one church raised $14,000 for safe water in Rwanda
While most 10 Days participants are college students, we welcome and encourage local churches to get involved, either by doing the 10 Days on their own or partnering with a university in their community. When students and churches work together to help end the water crisis, incredible things tend to happen.
A few years ago, Robert Ewing, the Vice President of Community Outreach for the 10 Days at Texas A&M, wanted to find a new and creative way to engage the community. “Up to that point, we only worked on campus with student organization or with friends of friends, and I thought to myself, ‘Why would we not reach out to the hundreds of churches in the area?'”
Robert started with his home church, First McKinney, and laid out a vision for the 10 Days with the missions pastor. “I came in not knowing what to expect or what to ask for,” Robert said. “What I learned, though, is that I didn’t aim or ask high enough.” First McKinney committed to a three-year partnership. “It sounded like a great fit for us, the group of students at A&M, and most of all, the people helped by the wells,” said First McKinney’s John Shapiro.
Last year, First McKinney hosted a three-mile “Walk for Water,” a group event where participants walked to a small lake, filled up buckets, then hauled the water back, all to better understand the realities our neighbors in Rwanda face every day. Thanks to the Walk for Water, “our church had a deeper understanding of the role of water in the world,” John said.
“Two little girls under the age of 10 went door to door in there neighborhood asking people to donate,” Robert said. “They collected over $900 for clean water.”
In total, First McKinney’s Walk for Water raised more than $14,000 for the 10 Days.
When it comes to partnering with churches, Robert has learned two key lessons. “It’s never too early to get in contact with churches. Most churches created yearly budgets, so the sooner you can get on their schedule, the more likely it is to work out.”
The other lesson?
Never underestimate children. “On three separate occasions we worked directly with the children’s ministries at three different churches,” Robert said. “On every occasion, simply by collecting spare change, the kids raised over $500 for clean water.”
If you’re interested in learning more about how your church can get involved in the 10 Days 2017, check out our Church Partnership Guide!