Giving Clean Water

December 13, 2012 • United States
Nathan Craig presents a check for clean water programs to Samaritan's Purse staff member Janet Ausel

An 8-year-old from Greensboro, N.C., donates money to provide clean water through the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog

Eight-year-old Nathan Craig has been packing Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts for as long as he can remember. Each Christmas, he and his parents honor his teachers by giving to education projects in the Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog.

He is familiar with our work, but this Christmas season was the first time he branched out into other projects.

“The Christmas wish list started with ‘I want, I want, I want,’” said Nathan’s mother, Patty. “So the catalog came in the mail, and I said, ‘Let’s see what other kids want around the world.’ He started circling all the things that he was interested in giving to.”

As Nathan and Patty looked through the Gift Catalog, he narrowed his choices down to farming and clean water projects. He was interested in both of them, but when he thought about it, the choice became clear to him.

“A lot of the other things had to do with clean water, like some of them were like fruit trees—they needed water,” he said. “Baby sheep or cattle, they need water. A lot of other things that are in that catalog need water.”

He realized that farming was one of those many things that needed water to be possible, so to him, it made sense to give the one thing that was necessary for all of these other gifts. He knew that clean, fresh water is crucial for life.

“If you don’t have clean water, all you have is dirty water, and dirty water can make you sick,” he said.

Nathan Craig, with his mother Patty, and Kay, the children’s ministry leader in their church, presents a check to Samaritan’s Purse staff member Janet Ausel

Nathan is shy, so the idea of fundraising was a bit difficult for him. However, with the power of God behind him, he was able to go door-to-door asking for change to help. During church, he announced his goal to the children’s ministry each week and received much support.

In addition to the money he raised, Nathan also gave up the money he typically receives for learning Bible verses. He then convinced his friends to donate the money they earned too. On Dec. 1, less than two months after he started raising money, he met his goal of $450.

“Even if I gave up some of my time, it gives health and happiness to other people around the world,” Nathan said.

The money Nathan raised is enough to build a well in Cambodia that will be shared by five or six families. In some areas, that could be as many as 50 people.

“It makes me feel happy to know that they’re going to get some clean water that some people might have never tasted,” Nathan said.

For Patty, happiness comes from seeing her son putting so much time and effort into caring for other people. As he spoke, she sometimes showed surprise that he continually talked about caring for others despite his shy nature.

“God cares more about your character than your comfort,” she said. “It’s important for laying the groundwork for giving his whole life.”

As Nathan continued to think about those who would be receiving clean water as a result of his fundraising, he had a closing thought.

“I want them to know that we are caring for them,” he said.