One Thousand Wells

How an Audacious Goal Taught Me to Love the World Instead of Save It

One Thousand Wells

Foreword by: Donald Miller
Jena Nardella, cofounder of Blood:Water and one of Christianity Today’s 33 Under 33, shares a “captivatingly honest” (Publishers Weekly) account of how her passion for saving the world grew into a humbler, long-term calling of loving the world in all its brokenness in this beautifully written memoir.

Ten years ago, Jena Lee Nardella was a fresh-out-of-college, twenty-something with the lofty goal of truly changing the world. Armed with a diploma, a thousand dollars, and a dream to build one thousand wells in Africa, she joined forces with Grammy Award–winning band Jars of Clay to found Blood:Water and begin her mission.

Jena’s dream for her nonprofit turned that initial $1 into $20, and then $100, and today into more than $25 million. Working throughout eleven countries in Africa, Blood:Water has provided healthcare for over 62,000 people in HIV-affected areas and has partnered with communities to provide clean water for more than one million people in Africa. But along the way she faced many harsh realities that have tested her faith, encountered corruption and brokenness that nearly destroyed everything she’d fought for, and learned that wishful thinking will not get you very far. Jena discovered true change comes only when you stop trying to save the world and allow yourself to love it, even when it breaks your heart.

With a fresh, intelligent, and winsome voice, Jena Lee Nardella weaves an evocative, personal narrative filled with honest and hard-won lessons that demonstrate the amazing things that can happen when you fight for your dreams.
  • Howard Books | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501110191 | 
  • June 2016
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About the Author

Jena Lee Nardella
Photograph © Kharen Hill

Jena Lee Nardella

Jena Lee Nardella is the cofounder of Blood:Water, which she started ten years ago at the age of twenty-two with the band Jars of Clay. Following her vision and leadership, the organization has brought clean water access to more than one million people in Africa and provided healthcare for more than 62,000 people in HIV-affected areas. In 2012, Jena was invited by President Obama to pray for the nation in front of a TV audience of twenty million. She has been honored as an Epoch Award Winner, as GOOD Magazine's GOOD 100, and as one of Christianity Today's 33 under 33 Christian leaders shaping the next generation of faith. Jena serves on the core team for Praxis, a venture group helping entrepreneurs build high-impact organizations and served on the board for Equitas Group, a philanthropic organization focused on ending child exploitation in Haiti and Southeast Asia. Jena and her husband, James, and their son, Jude live in Nashville and East Africa.

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