International (MNN) — Nearly one third of people in Rwanda do not have access to drinking water, according to Charity: Water. Because of the unsanitary water, families are getting sick.
MSNBC reported worldwide, around two million kids under the age of five lacking clean water die because of diarrhea and pneumonia, These deaths are easily prevented with safe drinking water.
The problem can be overwhelming–disheartening even. But what if it were possible to save thousands that lacked access in a matter of 10 days? That’s the idea behind Living Water International’s (LWI) Ten Day Campaign.
Living Water is challenging college students to take a pledge to drink water instead of pop, coffee, or any other beverage and donate the money they save toward building wells for Rwanda.
“The whole idea with the ten days it that we live in this kind of crazy situation where if we just give up something as simple as coffee, we could literally provide a family with living water,” says Henry Proegler with Living Water. “It’s an idea that really resonates with college students because it’s a place where they’re first kind of conscious of what they’re spending money on.”
The five-year-old campaign was started when a group of college students from Texas A&M University–Proegler included–attended a concert and learned about the water crisis. Wanting to do something, they came up with the idea of donating the money they could save on beverages.
“Christ doesn’t just call us to be with Him on Wednesdays, or Sundays, or whenever our small group is. But He wants our whole life. And I think that includes what we spend our money on.”
This year, Living Water has seen around 1,000 students at 17 universities across America take action. In just several days, they raised more than $20,000; Proegler predicts donations might reach up to $50,000 by November 18.
Their work is saving people both physically and spiritually.
Every dollar donated is hard at work, building wells in Ruhango, Rwanda, where a lot of Living Water’s work has taken place over the years. Because work is constantly being done in Ruhango, LWI staff are able to make and maintain relationships, opening doors and allowing them to share the real reason they’re giving a helping hand: to do the work of God.
But, spiritual growth isn’t just showing up in Rwanda. LWI is also witnessing the spread of the good news on participating campuses. “We would hope that the ten days would build a bridge to our friends who are outside the church, where they would ask the question, ‘Why are you giving up hot chocolate, or coffee, or whatever it is for ten days?’ And we get to tell them our heart behind it.”
This year’s campaign in particular shows a more diversity than previously, because of a new partnership with Campus Renewal at Universities of Texas and Dallas.
“Campus Renewal’s whole mission is to unify the ministries on a college campus, and they’re kind of using the 10 days as a way to do that,” Proegler explains. “They’re engaged with a bunch of different ministries that exist on that campus. And they’re all coming together to do this one thing.”
This year’s campaign is almost done, but you can still make an impact in the lives of Rwandans without clean drinking water. Also be praying the Gospel will reach thousands both on campuses and in Rohango.