I originally applied for this position because it matches my major and it was for a good cause. It turns out that I understood very little about what makes Blood:Water so special. When I got the job I was excited because this internship would be a great chance to add to my resume, build my portfolio, and learn some technical skills. My three months at Blood:Water met those expectations, but the amazing perspective I have gained here is going to impact my future more than any resume builder. I am leaving with a more realistic idea of what it requires to truly do good.
When I started working here in May, I was given a copy of Jena’s book, One Thousand Wells, and invited to have discussions with Aaron, the Director of Operations, and Allie, my fellow intern, about Blood:Water’s earliest days. As I read the story of Jena, Blood:Water’s co-founder, I saw a lot myself in her. She was a college student who loved the Lord and wanted to help others. She didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do, but she pursued her passions, stepped out into the unknown, and persevered through difficult times. Jena sums up her story very well when she said, “The greatest challenge is to attach yourself to the cares of the world and still keep going. To know the world and love it still.” Every chapter of the book revealed a little more about the difficult reality of non-profit work and a little bit more about the heart and vision of Blood:Water.
When we finished One Thousand Wells, we started reading When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. I learned that what we Americans classify as effective aid is not the same standard anyone else uses. To my surprise, the help I have grown up being encouraged to give actually isn’t doing much for the long-term alleviation of poverty. Sustainability and community involvement will do more for people than charity and good intentions ever could. Thomas Merton said, “Do not depend on the hope of results… Gradually you struggle less and less for an idea, and more and more for specific people.” Blood:Water remains an excellent example of this. It is an organization that fights for people and their God given dignity over results.
Although my time at Blood:Water has been short, it was packed full of learning. This internship has educated and inspired me. I have reevaluated my intentions and expectations in my relationships, faith, and vocational calling. Success rarely looks the same as we hope or expect it to, and I’m excited to go forward in life with that in mind. I am leaving Blood:Water with a desire to step into where I am today and see God working where others may miss it.