Imagine being convinced that God wants you to make a difference in the lives of other people by giving up your wedding ring. My friend Ali Eastburn was faced with just that situation. Ali learned about the desperate need for clean water in western Africa. People were dying every day because of unclean water when a well could be drilled and save lives. She also learned that the cost of her diamond ring could possibly drill a well and save an entire village. Then she was confronted with the fact that many so called “blood diamonds” come from that region. Blood diamonds get their name because so many people die in the mining and trafficking of illegal diamonds. It only seemed right that her diamond should be redeemed to drill a well and save a village.
As she thought more about it, Ali was inspired to begin a ministry called “With This Ring”. The concept is brilliant in its simplicity. She sold her ring and partnered with a ministry that drills wells for villages in need. She then began talking to others about her idea and people began to give her their wedding rings to turn into cash for wells. I saw Ali speak to a group of people a few months ago and after she was done, women started walking up to her with tears in their eyes. They took of their rings and asked her to use them to save the lives of people in Africa.
A few weeks ago she returned from her second trip to Ghana in less than a year. She was there to insure that the next few wells were drilled but more importantly to tell people about Jesus. She got more than she bargained for. Hygiene is almost non-existent in the area were she was. She said it was the most unhealthy environment she has ever encountered. People suffer from serious cases of Guinea Worms which infect open sores, the local shaman practices “bleeding” of people as a way to “cure” them. She was faced with at least one case of leprosy and a young girl with a broken foot who the shaman kept bleeding in order to heal. Ali ended up providing basic medical care to clean the girls open wounds made by the shaman and within a few days was overwhelmed with parents bringing their children to her. As a result of her being there she was able to make a connection with a medical college that is now adding that village as a required place for students to do volunteer work.
In little over a year With This Ring has raised 100,000 dollars and drilled numerous wells and started several churches in northern Ghana. The goal is 160,000 and 30 wells. The ministry of church planting, medical care, hygiene training and loving people in Jesus name is making an impact. It is saving lives and bringing people to Him.
Oh and if you were wondering, Ali replaced the diamond ring she gave to drill a well, with a plain band bought at Target for less than $20. It works just as well and actually means more to her than the original diamond did.
One thing I love about what Ali has done is that a ministry like this is truly provocative. People will want to know why you sold your ring. They will want to know what motivated such a sacrifice of something that has not only monetary but also emotional value. It is that kind of provocative behavior that opens the door for conversations about Jesus. I think it is the kind of thing that makes Him smile. I wonder, what provocative thing is God whispering in your ear that will make a difference for Him.
Please check out Ali’s web site and see if God doesn’t touch your heart to get involved.