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Union student raising money for freshwater well in Sudan

Joshua Guthrie is collecting donations to build a freshwater well in Sudan. (Photo by Morris Abernathy)
Joshua Guthrie is collecting donations to build a freshwater well in Sudan. (Photo by Morris Abernathy)

JACKSON, Tenn.Oct. 30, 2008 – Joshua Guthrie has a message for teenagers: they can do something to make the world a better place.

Guthrie, 16, is leading by example. The high school sophomore who’s also dually enrolled at Union University has launched an initiative to raise money for a freshwater well in Sudan, Africa.

Called “Dollar for a Drink,” the campaign also is intended to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Sudanese people through this opportunity.

“The concept is extremely simple,” Guthrie said. “Give up one drink, and instead, give that $1 to the organization to help build a well in Sudan. Our objective is for one well, which is $8,000, by Christmas 2008.”

The son of George Guthrie, the Benjamin W. Perry Professor of Bible at Union, Joshua Guthrie said more than 12 million people in Sudan lack adequate access to clean water. Digging wells is also expensive, because the dry climate requires deep digging to get to the water.

In addition, Guthrie said the lack of water leads to tribal conflicts.

“So, in a way, putting in more wells not only eliminates the thirst, but also wars as well,” he said.

Guthrie is working with Baptist Global Response, for his project. BGR is a Southern Baptist relief and development organization and has set aside a specific well for which Guthrie is raising money. Once the money is collected, BGR will send in a team to dig the well, and the workers will use their time in Sudan as an opportunity to talk about their faith in Jesus Christ.

The project launched in September. Though larger donations are welcomed, Guthrie is asking people to donate $1 – what it would cost them to purchase a soft drink – to the effort. Though some may think their small donation doesn’t matter, Guthrie disagrees.

“I like to think of every dollar as a droplet of water,” he said. “By itself, that droplet can’t do a whole lot of good. But, if you combine them all, you really have this large power source that really can make a large dent in the situation in Sudan.” He has collected about $1,500 so far.

“This is a way that all of us can be doers of the word,” Guthrie said. “Right now, in the next few minutes, we can act on Jesus words’ where he said, ‘When I was thirsty, you gave me a drink.’ Our Sudanese brothers and sisters are the least of these, so we hope that people will not delay giving, but act now if the Spirit is prompting them.”

He especially hopes that teenagers will get involved in the effort, perhaps adopting it as a project for their church youth groups.

“I really hope to be a motivation to other teenagers that it really doesn’t matter what your age is, you can make a difference in the world and overcome the low expectations of the culture,” he said.

Donations can be made online at www.dollarforadrink.org. Or, they can be mailed to: Dollar for a Drink, P.O. Box 265, Medina, Tenn., 38355.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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