Water changes everything
Published 10:40 am Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Brandon Gossett and family join Neverthirst to provide clean drinking water across the world
By Heather Skaggs
Photos by Dawn Harrison and contributed
Imagine walking miles to collect water from a river not suitable for drinking instead of turning on the faucet and reaching for a glass. Not sparkling spring water, mind you, but dirty water.
Water that is unclean and potentially dangerous. That is the reality for so many in other parts of the world, and it was the call to one Hoover man to change the course of his career to help these people.
While serving in Sudan in 2010 with Neverthirst, an Alabama faith-based nonprofit that works to bring clean drinking water to areas with no access, Brandon Gossett met a woman from a Sudanese village who used to walk over three miles to collect river water. It was her only source of water.
Through a translator, the lady showed Brandon the grave of her one-and-a-half-year-old child who had died from diarrhea after drinking the dirty water.
“I had a 4-year-old at home and one on the way,” Brandon recalls. “The Lord just broke me at the moment, and I knew that I could not go home and continue to live the same.”
Brandon and his wife Kim, long-time Hoover residents, started early on in the life of Neverthirst as advocates and volunteers, but it was during that first mission trip with Neverthirst in 2010 and his conversation with the Sudanese woman that Brandon says he truly understood the staggering impact to those who do not have access to clean drinking water. They were no longer just numbers or statistics. They had names and faces and stories.
“While I was in Mundri, Sudan (now South Sudan) we visited villages seeing projects that my family and friends had sponsored with Neverthirst,” he said. “We witnessed first hand what clean water coming to a village like that meant to the people living there. It meant life.”
After this personal life-changing trip, the Gossetts became even more involved with Neverthirst by seeking donors, speaking to groups and telling the stories of those who lack access to something so readily available in the United States – clean water.
According to The World Health Organization and UNICEF, there are around 663 million people around the world living without safe water. Neverthirst partners with local organizations, pastors and communities in countries like India, Cambodia, South Sudan and others to empower local communities to access and filter clean water that will continue to flow.
Each project and solution is unique to the situation. Most projects involve building shallow rope pump wells, deeper wells, piped water systems or household rainwater collection systems, to name a few.
Filters called Bio-Sand Filters are also used in many locations where there is access to water, but that water is contaminated and undrinkable. The device can filter bacteria and pathogens, making water safe to drink. From Neverthirst’s beginnings in 2008, their work has provided over 300,000 people with safe drinking water.
As Brandon and his family continued to volunteer and go on mission trips to bring the essential water of life to countries around the world, the director of Neverthirst took notice of the commitment and passion the family had and in 2012 approached Brandon to see if he would consider coming on board and joining the nonprofit.
“I had given my life to achieving my ‘dream job’ in medical sales, but I remember him asking me to pray about the decision. I would be leaving a steady, corporate job to go work at a three man nonprofit – a scary leap to make,” Brandon says.
As the Gossett family took the time to prayerfully consider if the move was right for them, Brandon says the Lord made it clear that He was leading him to leave his medical sales career and join the Neverthirst team.
“While it was scary at first, it has been one of the biggest blessings in our life and we haven’t even looked back,” Brandon says.
Recently his work with Neverthirst brought Brandon, now Director of Development with the company, to Cambodia where they spent the majority of time in a village with a local pastor, Pastor Deng.
“We had the opportunity to build water filters with many of the local villagers, go install them in their homes with Pastor Deng, and educate them on the proper usage of the filter,” Brandon recalls.
Many of the villagers expressed immense gratitude, and one villager shared with the Neverthirst team that she had prayed that the God she heard about from Pastor Deng would answer her prayer in bringing clean water to her village.
When Pastor Deng was able to help her get a filter, she knew that the God he worshipped must be real and that brought her to his church.
Not only is Neverthirst able to assist in bringing clean water to areas where there no is no safe drinking water, they also equip local church planters with sermons that they can use in their outreach to local villages.
“It is our desire to mimic to the best of our ability the ministry of Jesus and how He often met both physical and spiritual needs,” Brandon says. “Neverthirst works to meet both needs as well, and it means the world to the people there to see others who would come from the other side of the world just to spend a week with them.”
Ironically, Brandon says his recent experiences in Cambodia are not all that different from his first mission trip in 2010.
“It is still so shocking to me every time I go overseas that in 2016, there are still people who do not have clean water to drink,” Brandon says. “It reminds me of why I do what I do, and why I come home and tell their stories.”
Brandon also says that he has learned that we all have a role to play. Whether you work at Neverthirst, or you are a CEO, an engineer or a mechanic, we all have different skill sets that can be used to help people.
“Through telling the story of the thirsty, advocating, praying or giving, we all can play our role in the body of Christ to make His name known amongst all nations. I’ve learned my role is simply to tell the story of the people we serve at Neverthirst,” Brandon says.
By sharing stories like the woman who lost her child after drinking unclean water, Brandon hopes people here at home become aware, and get involved by however they can.
“God may be calling you to something else, go pursue it. Maybe you’re called to help with a refugee crisis, trafficking, Bible translation, systemic problems in the U.S., homelessness, etc. Whatever it is, find something to get involved in that is meeting a physical and spiritual need,” he says.
For more information on Neverthirst, visit their website at Neverthirstwater.org and follow them on social media at Facebook.com/neverthirst/.