rebelling against low expectations

African Water Project


Hi, Alex and Brett. My name is Ron Hunt. I’m a pastor in San Jose and have been working with students for about 25 years now. I thought I’d encourage you today with another example of a group of students doing “hard things.” Our student ministry is called X-Force Student Ministries. They’ve done some pretty amazing things through the years.

Alex and I are down in SoCal doing some television and radio interviews, but we received this email the other day and just had to share it with you. Allow it to inspire you — whatever your “holy ambition” may be. Pray that God would give you a vision to serve others and magnify His name in the world!

One example is the African Water Project, a student-led campaign to provide safe, clean water to the people of sub-Saharan Africa. Last year, the day before World Water Day (March 22), they heard about the water crisis in Africa. Inspired by Zach Hunter’s challenge to “be the change,” they decided to take action. They founded African Water Project the next day.

Right away, they decided to conduct an H2O Challenge — choosing to drink only water for two weeks, setting aside the savings, and giving it to the African Water Project. On the day they began this Challenge, they announced their intentions to our congregation and challenged those in attendance to join them, along with other family members and friends.

Next, they decided to change the opening day event of their annual X-Tour (an amazing adventure tour we conduct each year). They would travel to Death Valley, one of the hottest places on earth, to conduct a 15-mile walkathon to benefit AWP.

It was an amazing experience! Temps reached 121 degrees that day! They called it the Badwater for Good Water Walk, since it began in the Badwater Basin of Death Valley (the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere), and it was being conducted to bring good water to the people of Africa.

Together, the students were able to increase awareness of the African water crisis (through speaking engagements, media coverage, etc.), as well as raise enough funds to drill three new wells in Western Kenya, and repair seven more in Zambia! To commemorate World Water Day this year, and to celebrate the 1st anniversary of African Water Project, they sent funds to repair three more wells in Zambia.

This year, the students are preparing to conduct an event they’re calling the Give-Well Triathlon. It will be a three-sport endurance event around the Monterey Peninsula, here in California. They will be paddling sea kayaks for 3 miles, then riding their bikes around the entire Peninsula (about 17 miles), and finishing the last five miles on foot.

We hope to be able to raise even more money for new wells this year! The exciting thing is seeing how many other youth groups and individuals they’ve been able to inspire along the way! Breakaway Magazine just interviewed them a couple of weeks ago, too. We’re excited about what God is doing in our midst and consider ourselves a part of the rebelution!

You might want to check out some of what these students have been up to by visiting their website: Thanks for all you’re doing to inspire and challenge this generation! Let us know if there is some other way we can help. We’ll try to keep you informed about the plans we have for the future. Next year, we hope to be in Africa!

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About the author

Brett Harris

is co-founder of and co-author of Do Hard Things, along with his twin brother, Alex. He is married to his best friend, Ana, who blogs at He is the founder of the Young Writers Workshop — an ongoing coaching program for serious writers.


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  • Wow that is so amazing and awesome! My sister has a heart for Africa and has been asking me to post a poem that she found on and I think now is a good time, it’s a bit long but very good, it opened my eyes to what is going on in Sudan.


    Rivers are full
    with our bodies.
    yet the World has not discovered it.

    The land is white,
    with our bones.
    yet the World has not seen it.

    Our flesh is the food
    of the birds
    of prey,and the wild animals.
    yet the World doesn’t know it.

    Our blood forms streams
    that flow like streams
    of water.
    Yet the World keeps her eyes away from it.

    We cry.
    We scream.
    Yet the World has not heard our Voices.

    Our Mothers are Fourth Citizens
    in the Country
    that they have created.
    yet there are no Women’s Rights.

    The Children of Sudan
    beaten, and worse.
    There are no protections for them.

    The price of a human being that God created
    not to be sold
    brings three times the price of a goat.
    Yet slavery has been abolished.

    The oil that God has blessed us to have
    turn as a great enemy
    toward our lives.
    Even our Government turns out the villagers.

    Westerners brought our grandparents
    Christian beliefs. Now our beliefs are attacked
    with guns.
    Yet the west does not defend us.

    Curable diseases
    claim 100,000 lives.
    Yet our country could buy medicine.

    Hunger starves big numbers
    of young and old
    every year.
    Yet our country has fertile land
    and water to grow enough food for all.

    The Freedom
    that God has given
    to all living creatures
    is denied to us.

    One thing I know :
    the World has forgotten us
    but God has not, has not forgotten
    has not abandoned us.

    We need
    to be free
    like the rest of the World.
    We need
    the rights of our mothers to appear
    like the morning star.
    We need
    the streams of blood
    to stop, to dry up.
    We need
    the long, long tears
    to be wiped from our eyes.
    We need
    to worship
    what we believe
    as we want.

  • Thank you to the African Water Project members, for your hard work and dedication. Without all of your efforts, so many people would go unnoticed and unhelped. What you are doing is the type of things Jesus wants His followers to do.

    Matthew 25:34-40

    34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
    35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
    36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
    37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
    38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
    40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

    In His Service,
    Elisabeth J. Gruber

  • Awesome work guys! We are called to be, like Christ, “living water.” We can do that in many ways, and one, as this project shows, is to provide for the physical needs of our fellow man.

    Isaiah 49: 8-10
    8 ‘Thus says the LORD,
    “In a favorable time I have answered You,
    And in a day of salvation I have helped You;
    And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people,
    To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;
    9 Saying to those who are bound, ‘Go forth,’
    To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves ‘
    Along the roads they will feed,
    And their pasture will be on all bare heights.
    10 “They will not hunger or thirst,
    Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down;
    For He who has compassion on them will lead them
    And will guide them to springs of water.”‘

    (to be a spring of water to YOUR community, open your mind to ministry oppertunites every day. See someone standing alone in youth group? Notice a clump of kids at a conference, and one on the outside looking in? Were you waved at by a person you barely know in church? Bring some “water” into their dry day by smiling, saying hi, asking about their day, talk about their walk with the Lord, or just plain wave back and smile. You may be the only refreshing drink of their day [because, yes, being a Christ-like “spring of water” is hard.] DO HARD THINGS!)

  • WOW! :0 I have a freind who is leaving for Mozambique Africa, this thursday, with her family. Please pray for her. Her name is Esther. She had been very homesick and lonely, she’s not been so bad lately. Her 13 birthday was a few months ago and she was in Brazil, where they had language trainning.

  • Africa has got to be one of the neediest places in the world, at least from the things you hear. It’s great to see that Christian teens are helping to fulfill that obvious need.

  • I read this… and had a comment in mind, but CJ already left a comment with my words! hehe I guess they were his words first. 😀
    I also agree with Emily… “Very inspiring!”
    Since I don’t have anything original to say, I’ll shut up!

  • Oh, are there any links to your radio/television interviews? I’d like to see them! (Of course that’s probably a dumb thing to say. I’m assuming that you’ll post the links [if there are any] as soon as possible!)

  • oops, I put this on the t-shirt post accidentally…
    Alex & Brett,
    I’m in SoCal. What radio stations are you being interviewed on? I’d like to tune in and tell my friends, too!

  • Hey Heidi… We were on KKLA on the Frank Pastore Show on Monday. It was aired live, but it might be available as a podcast online. The other shows were pre-recorded, and we’re not sure on the exact date they’ll be airing. 🙂

  • That is the greatest ministry ever! Talk about really meeting a need. I will definitely be praying for it and for the African water crisis.

  • Hey, everyone! We just wanted to say a big thank you to Alex & Brett for posting information about African Water Project on The Rebelution website. Over the last couple of days, we’ve seen more than 30 times the average number of visitors to our website! The additional traffic is helping us get the word out about the water crisis in Africa, and inspire others to do something “hard” that will impact thousands of lives.

    We also want to thank all of you who have signed our guest book ( and posted these encouraging comments on the Rebelution blog. All of us at X-Force Student Ministries and African Water Project have been blessed by your kind words and inspired to continue to rise above low expectations and choose to do hard things!

    We are currently using Alex & Brett’s book at our youth meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday nights to help prepare us for our next challenges, including the upcoming Give-Well Triathlon. We’re excited to be a part of the Rebelution! Keep doing HARD THINGS. We’re praying for you all, and we look forward to reading about the many ways God is using you to make a difference!

  • Wow — these students really Do Hard Things! Very inspiring!! I’ll definitely be praying about the hard things God has planned for me to do in the future — if it’s anywhere near half what these people are doing I’ll need a lot of help!
    Thanks for sharing this! May we all have this measure of zeal in pleasing God. =)

    Andie: Thanks for sharing about your friend Esther! I will definitely be praying for her.
    I used to get homesick a lot and something God has used to help me has been the verses in John 15 about abiding in His Love — through them He’s taught me to find Home in Him.
    I’ll be praying for Esther to learn to abide as Jesus spoke of so that instead of being homesick and lonely she’ll feel completely at Home in God wherever she is and will also be a “home” for Him to abide in and be loved everywhere she goes.

  • Hey,
    I’ve just started exploring the Rebelution site! It’s so cool! I didn’t know there were so many people out there that felt the same way! I think the water project is awsome! I just wish our youth group would get a hold of God. We could do so much more! Thanks again for the encouragement!

  • Aww, that is quite a list of things to do. I only have 2 years to do all of that!!! I mean, I have done maybe four of them in just 16 years, but how am I supposed to complete the rest in just 2? I feel so discouraged…

    Haha, just kidding. Y’all are so funny! This was a good one. 🙂

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By Brett Harris
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →