When June began there were very few of these folks in East Texas who even knew about a ministry called Blood:Water. Sure, most realized that there was great need in sub-Saharin Africa...but few felt compelled to try and do something about it. But a few folks caught a vision and it began to spread. The message was pretty simple.
"Isn't it the fact that we are so privilege doesn't that give us the right to help others that are less privileged than us. I mean we have children everyday that take fresh water for granted. But we have children on the other side of the world who are suffering and dying because they can't have something as simple as fresh water," says local volunteer Brandon Schults.
In a matter of days more than 20 churches and businesses had joined forces. Dove Award nominee Sara Groves committed to a concert and best seller Donald Miller would speak... and an event that usually takes month to plan was complete.
The need in Africa was put in simple terms. 4000 dollars would build one well. The organizers hope to raise enough to build 10. Most had hoped for a couple of hundred folks. Before Groves too the stage...close to two thousand people filled the amphitheater at Bergfeld park. Groves says she used to approach events like this with a quite somber attitude...but not anymore.
"There are aspects of the call and character of God that I won't know until I enter the suffering of other people and that is incomparable. There is not a value I can place on seeing the hands of God through this life of service. So for me the message has changed of one of somberness, of guilt, of this is what we should do... to great joy friends, look at what God is doing. Look what we get to do as the body of Christ. That's what I believe we should do and be a part of and then the life of that.... This community here, I mean it gives more and more life. The story about the homeless shelter here in your community that raised money for a well...I mean I'm up in Minneapolis and I'm in tears and I'm thinking this is amazing. Those kinds of stories are noble. Its what we love in a great movie. And we get to be a part of that, we get to be a part of change and redemption," says contemporary Christian Artist Sara Groves.
"One of the most difficult things to do is to care about people you haven't met. And I think what this city, what Tyler has shown is the ability to hear about a need, organize and become active about meeting that need. And that is a rare personality trait in an individual but to find it in a town is very special," says author Donald Millar
By the end of the night...not 40, but 76 thousand dollars had been raised. By the end of the week the number had jumped to 95 thousand. And those so involved in this ministry say it was not only an answer to prayer but an example for others to see.
"An individual can make a dramatic difference. An ordinary can make and extraordinary difference in the life of someone else. I think it is a lie that my effort won't do anything, that is a lie. I've learned that is not true, we can make a difference. Tyler is obviously a town that thinks it can make a difference. I hope other people would be inspired by what you've done here," says Donald Miller.
Clint Yeatts, KLTV 7 News.