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Jars of Clay Encourages APU Students in Service

by McKenzie Feitler '11

When word began to spread of a secret, on-campus concert on Thursday, March 10, most students never guessed it would be Grammy Award-winning rock band, Jars of Clay. In Southern California for the Rock & Worship Roadshow, Jars of Clay stopped by APU’s campus to raise awareness for their nonprofit organization, Blood:Water Mission.

Blood:Water was launched in 2005 as part of the 1,000 Wells Project, a nation-wide effort to raise enough money to provide clean water and sanitation to 1,000 communities in sub-Saharan Africa. The project has expanded to include a variety of clean water solutions and sanitation and hygiene training, as well as funding health clinics, community health workers, and support groups. In 2009, the organization continued to expand their reach by incorporating HIV/AIDS-specific programming alongside their ongoing water programs.

Student leaders from APU's Mexico Outreach, World Missions, and Ministry and Service offices joined the band and Blood:Water executive director Jena Lee Nardella before their concert to dialogue about their project and encourage APU students in their commitment to service.

"We want to encourage you in what you're doing, because it matters," said Nardella, before giving an overview of how Blood:Water began.

“When one person tells this story, other people get excited too,” said Stephen Mason, Jars of Clay guitarist, who shared that its about more than statistics. Telling personal stories helps people connect and get involved. “People don’t necessarily have to go [serve in the field]. It’s about the story telling.”

Jars of Clay discussed with the student leaders the importance of finding your passion and staying committed to it. They shared stories of how approximately $7 million for this project has been raised by young people committing to give up coffee, holding lemonade stands, and even one 3rd grader who raised $3,000 by selling tomatoes.

Lead singer Dan Haseltine challenged students about the intent behind service, whether locally or abroad. "We think we know why we're going, but we don't. The only reason we should be going is to learn," he said. "Do I want to know this person, or do I want to just help them?"

"Jars of Clay really encouraged me to realize that even as one person, I can make a big difference in the world," said Ally Williams '11, liberal studies major and Mexico Outreach ministry advisor. "With my current leadership position, I was encouraged to see that every little thing I do is part of the bigger picture, impacting and changing children's lives for the better. They were very inspiring!"

After their conversation, Jars of Clay joined several hundred excited APU students, faculty, staff, alumni, and university friends for a free acoustic concert in the Amphitheater at the Wynn Academic Center.

“I think it’s great Jars of Clay is here today,” said biblical studies major Ryan Chin '11. “In my opinion, they are one of the few if not the only Christian bands to really progress and grow musically, artistically, and socially. One thing that is great about them is their humanitarian involvement overseas.”

Download the live concert on iTunesU.
Photo by Skyler Russell