In the venture of bringing water to all people in Darfur region, Doc Hendley had come to the edge of a violent death at the hands of bloodthirsty men. In the midst of incredible beauty he had also encountered the foreboding power accompanying the wildness of nature. His spiritual journey evident throughout his book, Wine to Water, A Bartender’s Quest to Bring Clean Water to the World, takes another turn. He writes:
I started reading the Bible–it’s pretty much unavoidable when your dad is a preacher man–but when I was a kid, reading the Bible was always something we were required to do. This time, reading the book again smack in the middle of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges I’d ever seen, I began taking something different away from the Bible.
I loved reading about how Jesus hung out with drunks and hookers, and that his first miracle, as I could best calculate, was making approximately a hundred and twenty gallons of wine so that a wedding party could continue rocking out instead of ending early because there was no more booze. And I was fired up when I began to learn the uncensored versions of those Bible stories that I heard as a child, like when David, after knocking Goliath out, took the giant’s sword, cut off his head, and proceeded to carry it around for the rest of the day, wielding it as a trophy.
Instead of making me feel like I as being preached at or judged, the stories spoke to me. And what I read made me feel hopeful. It encouraged me that I didn’t have to be a perfect do-gooder to actually do something good in this world.
It also made me yearn for the opportunity to one day become a husband and a father. I can’t explain why exactly. Maybe it was Ismael hounding me about why I wasn’t married yet, or seeing Amir playing lovingly with his children. Or maybe all that desert living just finally gave me some clarity, telling me it was time to grow up. Whatever it was that last night in Jebel Marra, I prayed out to God, asking him to spare my life and to get me out of that crazy place so I could one day experience firsthand the love of being a husband and a father. What I didn’t bargain for was the fact that from that day one, I was for the first time legitimately scared whenever I went back into the field. Before, I was younger and reckless. Suddenly, I guess, I had a real reason to stay alive. p.212-213