Monday, March 28, 2011

Do you QH2O?

The Water to Wine Project is proud to announce the official launch of the QH2O Campaign! QH2O is a network of restaurants across the country dedicated to providing clean water to people who do not have access. In giving dining guests the opportunity to donate one quarter to the clean water cause, the restaurant industry is providing the solution to the global clean water crisis. To learn more about QH2O visit our website or "like" us on Facebook
[QH2O at the Sysco FoodService Show on March 23, 2011(Raleigh, NC )]
[A big thank-you to all the great restaurants who stopped by our booth to join QH2O! For more information on how you can become a restaurant partner, click here.]
[We were so pleased to unveil the new table tents that partner restaurants will be able to use! These feature a QR code, giving dining guests immediate access to information regarding QH2O by simply scanning the code with their smartphones.] 

QH2O, quarters for someone's water

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Individual

In Tanzania, thousands and thousands of children are orphaned each day due to AIDS and other deadly diseases. This is particularly tragic because many of these kids grow up on the streets, never having the opportunity to go to school or to even know what it feels like to be loved and cared for.

One of my favorite things we did while we were in Tanzania was visit Samaritan Village, an orphanage in Arusha. Last year, while my dad and Brian were in Tanzania they also visited the Shalom Center and Brian snapped this photo:
The first time I saw this picture I was greatly moved. Those big brown eyes, full of wonder and hope, pierced right to the center of my heart. But as poignant as the image of his face was, it remained just that. An image. A picture. A nameless face. This is the problem that many of us face. People become numbers, lives become statistics, and little by little we become even further removed, as if the oceans that separate us weren't distance enough. These people become those people and, consciously or not, we begin to regard them as different, separate, or less than equal. At least that's what had happened to me. 

But then one afternoon, I walked into a small orphanage at the end of a dusty, dirt road.  The next thing I knew I was nearly tackled by a rambunctious little boy who wrapped his arms around my legs and completely stole my heart. In a booming voice he announced, “I am Everest.” And my life was changed. 
This is Everest. Hours after he was born his father threw him in a dumpster with a plastic bag over his head. Someone found this precious boy and took him to the police, and he ended up at Samaritan Village. Doctors said there was a 75% chance he would never recover from the brain damage he sustained, and by the time he was one year old he was showing the signs of severe autism. Fast forward 4 years later and you can see the miracle that God has done in this child’s life. He is intelligent, outgoing, and full of life. He is the perfect example of God taking something that man intended for evil and turning it to good.

Meeting Everest was particularly meaningful for me, because he really made the crisis in Africa personal. He was more than a picture. He was a life. With a story. There is something deeply personal about finally putting a name with a face. Everest has a history, and the challenges that he has overcome in his short life are much greater than anything I could ever imagine. It is one thing to connect with the picture of small boy holding up a cup. You can see the emotion in his eyes and be overcome by empathy. But reaching down and holding his small hand was infinitely more moving. 
We will not be able to overcome the debilitating effects of the global clean water crisis until we become acutely aware of the millions of individuals who are affected by it each day. 

Mother Theresa said, "I never look at the masses as my responsibility; I look at the individual. I can only love one person at a time - just one, one, one. So you begin. I began - I picked up one person. Maybe if I didn't pick up that one person, I wouldn't have picked up forty-two thousand...."

The next time you pour a glass of water or donate a quarter to the Water to Wine project, I encourage you to think of Everest and say a little prayer. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


After the trip to Morogoro, we spent one night in Arusha and then headed to Longido. Sunday morning we had the opportunity to attend a Maasai worship service. It was such an incredible experience to hear the beautiful Maasai people sing praises to our Lord in Swahili. I was struck by the fact that even though their lives are so drastically different from mine, they were singing to the same God. 

That's the cool thing about the God we serve- He transcends time, space, and culture. He is faithful to the woman in Longido who cries out when she slices her finger while cutting wood in the bush, just like He is faithful to the girl in Wilmington who cries out when her heart aches.
The Maasai face a multitude of hardships in their daily lives, and they truly know what it means to depend on God. Because of this, they have a deeply intimate and personal relationship with their Creator. Despite their daily struggles, they are so joyful and genuinely grateful for what little they do have. They literally jump when they worship. It was refreshing to see people worship so honestly.

The next day we went to a small school that the Tanzanian Assemblies of God built for the Maasai children in that area.
When we arrived they were singing some songs in Maasai and having a time of worship. 
Again, the jumping continued and we decided that you're not really worshiping until you're flipping benches and kicking up a good cloud of dust. 

We did crafts and played soccer with the kids and then it was time for lunch. Lunch is a big deal because for most of these kids it is the only meal they get each day. Before they ate, they formed a big circle and sang a few more songs. To hear these kids say "I love you Jesus, you are my everything" really puts things in perspective. Again, it was such an authentic expression of faith. 
They closed with prayer, but not just "God is great, God is good..." Simultaneously, each child started pouring out their hearts to God, thanking Him and praising His name. I still get chills when I think about the beauty of that moment. 
We got to help serve lunch and then it was time to leave. It really was an amazing day, and an eye-opening experience, to say the least. 
(I think It's safe to say I'm missing Africa a little more than usual today...) 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Trip to Morogoro

Greetings friends! We made it home safe and sound last night and have spent the day getting settled in. The trip was absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to share details. Since I did not have internet access, I was unable to post, but I have decided to still use the blog over the next couple weeks to share photos and stories. Again, thank you for your prayers and support while we were away, God truly blessed our time in Tanzania. 

This first post was actually one that I drafted while we were in Longido, but I wasn't able to get online to post! It details our time in Morogoro:

The trips to and from Morogoro took a little longer than the eight hours we were expecting, and our travel days ended up being about 12 hours each. But God is so faithful and blessed us with a safe trip both ways. You wouldn't believe the roads in Tanzania. Not only is the infrastructure poor throughout most of the country, but the way people drive is absolutely borderline ridiculous. Seriously, things get crazy. But God blessed us with a beautiful sunrise, a cool morning breeze, and a clear view of Mt. Kilimanjaro (which is ususally covered in clouds) on the trip down there.

On Day One, we went to visit the site of the first well! It was such an incredible experience. We drove about 45 kilometers outside of the city to a remote village nestled right in the beautiful mountains of Tanzania. We had to park about 2 kilometers from the site and walk the rest of the way. As we made our ascent up one final hill we could hear the townspeople singing in celebration before we could see them. A crowd had gathered in the shade of a big mango tree right beside the well to witness the pump installation and to share their joys with us. It truly was an unforgettable experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. As easy as it is to get caught up in the celebration and the hype, I do not want us to lose sight of what this day was truly about. It all comes down to one thing: water. Clean water that these people have experienced for the first time. And more importantly, the Living Water that they were introduced to through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Day Two was equally exciting. We spent the morning visiting several traditional wells and I even got to try my hand at fetching water- not as easy as it looks. I can't imagine having to fill up huge buckets and then carry them several kilometers, my arms were tired after filling up half a bucket.
We had the opportunity to visit the site of well #2, which is still in progress. It was so incredible to see how they do these wells. This one was about 60% completed and should be in action this week. We also got to see where the people who will be using this well are currently fetching water.
We made one last stop at a school for orphans and the poor. The kids were adorable and when I close my eyes I still see their precious faces.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Posting tonight from Dragonairre, our restaurant of choice in Morogoro. Finishing up an incredible three days with new friends and heading back to Arusha in the morning. Here are a few photos from our trip so far!
Day 1 in Morogo... Maji safi! Clean water! W2WP well #1. The first of many.

Blogger is done with uploading pictures for now ("Welcome to Africa!" is what they say here when something goes wrong.) More to come tomorrow night when we get back to the CTS House (if we have internet and electricity)

Still no luggage, but God provides. :)

Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We have arrived!

So thankful to have made it Tanzania safely! Traveling has been pretty exhausting but being here is absolutely worth it.

Unfortunately, my luggage didn't make it. We are trying to work things out with the airline, but things just don't work the same here as they do in the US. So, that means they cannot tell me where my bag is, or when it will be here, or offer any sort of solution. It wouldn't really matter if it was just clothes, but my camera battery charger is in there and I hate the thought that my camera could die before the trip is even halfway over. So, we are praying that it is on the last flight out and will be here at 3:30am. That way we can pick it up before we leave town tomorrow at 6:45am. Speaking of which, please pray for safe travels tomorrow. Also, please pray for me to have strength and stamina. I am absolutely mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. And we just got here. I don't think I was prepared for how hard this trip is going to be. Don't get me wrong, this is such an amazing opportunity and I am so thankful. But just taking it all in and processing it can be a little overwhelming. I guess I'm just feeling a little culture shocked. Throw in the lost luggage, the sleep deprivation, hormones, and about a million other things and it can start feeling a lot overwhelming. 

What really matters though, is that people who don't have clean water today will have it before the week is over. And that is incredible. God is so good!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trip Itinerary

Here is the tentative schedule of how we will be spending the next two weeks!

Monday, November 1: 6am- Depart from RDU

Tuesday, November 2: Arrive in Tanzania. Go to Called to Serve house.

Wednesday, November 3: Travel to Morogoro where first well will be located.

Thursday and Friday, November 4-5: Visit well site; Meet with Safe Water for Life and Dignity(SWLD), the organization that is doing the well.

Saturday, November 6: Leave Morogoro and return to Arusha; Spend night at Called to Serve House. 

Sunday, November 7: Travel to Kimokouwa near Longido; Attend worship service

Monday and Tuesday, November 8-9: Visit potential sites for wells near Kimokouwa; Visit a Well in Longido; Travel back to Arusha Tuesday night.

Wednesday, November 10: Visit Shalom Center, Home for Street Children in Arusha

Thursday, November 11: Meet Serving Friends, an NGO out of Korea that does wells throughout Tanzania and India. Visit Francis' nyumba and meet his family

Friday, November 12: Visit Curio Craft dukas and the Cultural Heritage Center; Go to airport; Depart for US