Never let go before the miracle happens...

It was a perfect sunny winter day in Bend, Oregon and my family was headed to the mountain to ski.  The memory is as fresh as powder because it was the day a dream was planted in my heart and would begin a two-year journey of faith that has forever changed my life.  

The dream was this: Raise 40K for my 40th birthday for clean-water wells.

This was a dream beyond my talents and resources. (The most I raised in campaigns past was under 9K.)  This dream placed fear in my heart. This was a God-sized dream!

So I did the only thing that I know how to do when things are impossible--I started praying.  I prayed over this God-sized dream for 2 years! It took me a year and a half to even voice the dream.  I was so afraid, afraid of failing, afraid of looking foolish, afraid of this huge number. But when you have a dream like this, it can’t be contained!  You won’t have any peace in your life unless you pursue it. It consumes you. It drives you. It’s always on your mind and heart.

Stronger than the fear was a desire,  a desire to help, a desire to do.

I thought the way that this dream would be fulfilled was to host a charity concert.  As it turns out, I’m not so good at getting famous people to drop their busy schedules, fly (not so direct) to Bend, OR, and sing their hearts out for clean water (I know, I was surprised too). But anyway ...

So here I was, a month before my big birthday and no plan to make the dream a reality.  I shed heaps of tears, trying to pray bold prayers and trust that God would fulfill this dream that wasn’t even for me.  

Completely at a loss and out of ideas, I decided to host a birthday/charity:water dinner for my friends.  I like to keep things exciting, so a few days before, I had asked God to disrupt my plans because I don’t want to miss out on “The” plan!  Little did I know what was about to happen. Monday morning, I was about to hit send on 25 invitations, when BAM, just like that, I received the email of my life.

From : Scott Harrison (founder of charity: water)

Random thought:

But would you want to come to Ethiopia this Saturday - next Saturday?

- sent on the run

It didn’t take me long to figure out this was “The” plan.  Wow. A few days later I flew to Ethiopia with an amazing group of Charity:water supporters.  I had worked years for this moment.

I met women who spend large amounts of their day collecting dirty water.  I struggled to carry one girl’s jerry can, when she does it multiple times a day.  I witnessed a village getting clean water! I met children who are benefitting from sanitation and hygiene education.  To top it off, I visited a well my family funded in memory of our dear friends who lost their son at the tender age of 12.

I saw smiles, and dances, and light.  My heart will never be the same. The fire and passion in my heart was confirmed.  I was so privileged to see first hand the amazing way water changes lives. Water changes everything.  Water is life.

Before I turned 40 my campaign had reached $41,000. After my birthday it continued to climb closing at a whopping $61,100!

My advice to you:

Never let go before the miracle happens!

Dare to dream big!


With love,

Jen Renton


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