Thirst | Scott Harrison

Summary of: Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World
By: Scott Harrison


Embark on an inspiring journey with Scott Harrison as he shares his transformation from a New York nightclub promoter to a philanthropist in his book, ‘Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World’. Discover how Scott overcame personal challenges and used his talents for promotion and networking to create one of the most innovative charities, charity: water. Venture onto the Mercy Ships, where Scott first discovered his passion for making a difference, and learn about the power of clean water in improving lives around the world. This book summary offers a glimpse into the incredible impact of determination and compassion, coupled with radical transparency, in making a significant change to the world.

Unusual Beginnings

Scott Harrison’s strenuous childhood marked with his mother’s chronic illness, intense allergies, and stringent religious background are shedding light on his fascinating journey.

Scott Harrison’s life was abnormal and unpredictable ever since he was a child. The family’s carbon monoxide poisoning incident marked the beginning of his mother’s chronic illness. She developed intense allergies to almost everything and soon became sensitive to electromagnetic radiation in the air. This led to the removal of gas oven, TV, or radio from their home, affecting their everyday lives. Additionally, the family’s strictly religious background saw Scott enrolled in a small Christian school with very few students. As a teenager seeking normalcy, Scott abruptly demanded to enroll in a larger, public high school, where his piano skills helped him overcome social isolation.

Despite the challenges Scott encountered in his childhood, he developed an energetic nature that helped him strive towards productivity. He managed to establish a successful career in his twenties before launching a nonprofit organization to help bring clean drinking water to underdeveloped communities worldwide. His life’s experiences have shaped him into an influential leader in humanitarian efforts, and his memoir highlights these turning points.

From Playing Piano to Producing Music: The Journey of Scott

Scott’s passion for playing the piano began at a young age, leading him to join a band called Sunday River. He became proactive in promoting the band, skipped classes and graduated with difficulty, causing his parents to want him to attend a good Christian college. Nevertheless, he moved to New York, worked at a music shop, and was introduced to the music scene by managing guest lists and helping with events. With hard work and dedication, he began producing “Voices at Nell’s,” a blues music open-mic event. Scott’s journey exemplifies the importance of perseverance and taking opportunities as they come.

From Club Promoter to Spiritual Seeker

Scott becomes an accomplished promoter in the nightclub scene until an encounter leads him to question his lifestyle and pursue spiritual fulfillment.

Scott starts as a newbie promoter with no experience and gains the attention of the management of Lotus, an upcoming club. With his chance to promote on slow Mondays, he quickly proves to be one of the best in the industry. Scott’s job involves treating clients to meals at restaurants, attracting other clients who want to be seen as fashionable, ushering them into the club where they spend hundreds of dollars on champagne. The party usually continues long after the clubs are closed, with more booze and illicit substances.

While all of these are happening, Scott grows increasingly tired of the routine as he starts questioning his satisfaction in life. He decides to find spiritual fulfillment to lead him in a better direction. After reading The Pursuit of God that his dad had given him, Scott becomes aware of a symptom of spiritual defectiveness, which he is experiencing. He realized that his current way of life would only lead to endless pursuing of more but not satisfaction.

Scott decides to seek balance and purpose in life, leaving his former promoter lifestyle behind.

From Nightlife Promoter to Humanitarian

Scott, a successful promoter, makes a life-changing decision after a frightening experience and takes on a new journey in Africa with Mercy Ships.

Scott was at the peak of his career as a promoter. With Budweiser and Bacardi paying him hefty amounts to be seen drinking their products, it was hard for him to cut down on smoking and drinking despite trying to reconnect with his faith by listening to sermons from Chuck Missler. One fateful night, a complaint about a bouncer almost cost Scott his life, and he decided to go on a road trip to get away from the city.

During his trip, Scott listened to the Bible, and the idea of tithing caught his attention. He applied to several charities, but only Mercy Ships responded to his application. Despite initial concerns about his suitability, Scott was appointed to the Communications department on a big ocean liner that had been converted into a floating hospital for the African people.

Scott’s transition from the VIP section to serving as a communications officer was precisely what he needed. His faith and drive to serve others led him to make a life-changing decision, leaving his glamorous nightlife career and taking on humanitarian duties.

A Life-Changing Journey

Scott’s journey to Benin aboard Mercy Ships taught him the importance of living a purposeful life and giving back to those in need.

In October 2004, Scott embarked on a life-changing journey aboard Mercy Ships, bound for Benin, Africa. With only a vintage Louis Vuitton bag as his luggage, he joined a team of over 300 workers responsible for operating the boat and onboard hospital. As they traveled to their destination, Scott learned about the shocking healthcare statistics of Benin, where the average life expectancy was 51 years, and residents had limited access to doctors.

Scott’s task on the ship was to take before-and-after pictures of patients, write their stories, and assist with recruitment, fundraising, and marketing. He was deeply moved by the people’s determination to receive treatment, some walking for days and spending their last penny to reach Cotonou.

Mercy Ships specialized in maxillofacial surgeries, and Scott met many patients with facial tumors, including 14-year-old Alfred, whose tumor had grown to the size of a volleyball, making it difficult for him to eat and breathe. Scott witnessed how their surgeries transformed their lives, but he also encountered devastating moments when patients were beyond help, like Serafin.

Scott’s journey inspired him to put words to his pictures and share the stories of his Mercy Ships experience. He discovered the fulfillment of living a purposeful life, giving back to those in need.

Scott’s Journey of Transforming Lives

After witnessing the suffering of people afflicted with different diseases, such as cataracts and noma, during his time working with Mercy Ships, Scott decided to use his skills and experience in promoting for a good cause. He organized a successful exhibition to raise funds for Mercy Ships, which earned them $96,000. However, Hurricane Katrina happening on the opening day brought an unexpected challenge. Nevertheless, this experience showed Scott that he could make a difference in people’s lives by using his talents in a meaningful way. During his second tour with Mercy Ships, Scott realized that one of the best ways to help people suffering from waterborne diseases was to provide clean water. His journey of transformation taught him the value of access to clean shelter, medical care, and safe drinking water and inspired him to work towards changing people’s lives for the better.

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