Although there was a time when I wrote here on this blog of my son's death and the subsequent feelings of pain and grief that I feel from losing him, I made the choice to make public my grief blog and write there instead of combining such personal feelings here with my farm blog. I felt that this would give me more freedom to express myself in both blogs and that it would help folks not feel uncomfortable about visiting the farm blog. At this time, I am going to digress from these self imposed rules and post here about the memorial that we are trying to raise to honor my son's memory. This memorial will be a tremendous undertaking and will only happen in it's entirety if a number of people get involved. If you read the following information and you feel the need to run in the opposite direction because you don't want to have anything to do with it, have no fear. I am aware that most folks will not be able to help nor would they have any reason if they did not know Joshua personally. Do not feel pressured. Just consider that you are being presented with an opportunity to help and if you do not wish to help, then no one will ever be the wiser. Unless you wish to let me know that you have contributed, I will never know who did and who did not because the donations will be anonymous to the family.
I received a telephone call from Josh and Alissa's paternal grandmother this week. We talked for a few minutes and then she began to share with me what was on her heart. As she began to share, the tears began to flow down my face. For over two years now, since Josh's death, I have searched my heart for a cause that would be a lasting tribute in memory of Josh. I have donated to various charitable organizations including Heifer International and also SHIP (Safe Harbor International Philippines) a non-profit, residential care facility for abandoned, abused, neglected and orphaned children in Baguio City, Philippines that was founded and is maintained by my good friends John and Kim Piet. While I continue to support S.H.I.P. with my donations, I have been praying about something that we could do that would specifically bear Josh's name and be a lasting tribute to his memory. Josh's grandmother provided me with exactly the project for which I have been searching.
Dick and Kay Hall (Josh and Alissa's grandparents) went on a trip this past year to Guatemala where among other things, they spent time in the poverty stricken villages as well as in the orphanages. They were working hand and hand with an organization called Cause Life. In these villages, there is a serious lack of clean water, which is a basic necessity of life. Dick and Kay were so moved by their experiences in Guatemala that when they came home, they were touched to try to raise money for a well for a village and to have that well dedicated in memory of Joshua. In fact, the well will be named Joshua's well. I can't think of a more beautiful tribute to my precious son than to know that adults and children alike that otherwise would not have access to clean water, would be able to have life giving water from Joshua's Well.
The following news release was taken from Cause Life's Web Page and references the trip that Dick and Kay took to Guatemala:
I DO THIS FOR LOVE
We just returned from Guatemala where we took a passionate group of people for a week. They came from California, Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, and so many other places. Some were pastors, businessmen and women, politicians, and everyday people. The youngest was 9 and the oldest struggled to walk. Each of their stories was different, but every one of them shared the same desire . . . to make an eternal difference in the life of another.
Through the causelife project, they caught the vision that giving clean water is the key to providing life. I can’t tell you how excited I was that we were dedicating 5 new wells! Each well was made possible through a person, just like you, who saw a need and acted.
These wells are in villages where there has only been dirty, contaminated water. Infant mortality is 50 percent and higher in these places because of water born diseases. The conditions are deplorable and miserable. The only sound that fills the air is the sound of babies crying out from hunger and thirst.
But now these villages are experiencing a transformation. When these wells are turned on kids start laughing and playing in the water. Mothers begin filling buckets. The whole mood of the village instantly changes. It is the change that comes from hope replacing despair.
Hope of Life in Llano Verde, Guatemala has an incredible staff of dedicated people. They all come from the local villages. One of them said this week, “I don’t need things. Why am I going to have things when these children . . . they have nothing. How can I buy things when I see them die everyday? I don’t do this for money . . . I do this for love.”
These wells in Guatemala, and other parts of the world, are not a testimony to money. They are a testimony of compassion motivated to action! They are a testimony to love.
Cause Life FAQ
The following is information taken from Cause Life's web page:
Clean water is essential for life.But more than 1 billion people in the world lack access to clean water. This causes over 2 million unsafe drinking water deaths every year, and most are children.
Every day, 6,000 children die from water-related illnesses such as diarrhea, malaria, typhoid, cholera, worms, and parasites. With each sip the number of deaths grow. This contaminated water is the only water they have ever known. And for some, it will be the only water they ever have.
The lack of clean drinking water in developing countries is the starting place of a thousand miseries. It exacerbates malnutrition, sickness, infant mortality, poverty, and illiteracy.
Their greatest need is clean water.
WATER CHANGES CHILDREN
Children’s lives become a reflection of the water they drink. When the water is contaminated, every area of their lives becomes affected. Contaminated water brings diseases from waterborne parasites and bacteria. Typhoid, dysentery, malaria, and cholera create sickness and death.
Children cannot go to school because their parents need them to fetch water. Walking for water is the most common chore that keeps children busy during the day, preventing them from attending school. Even if they have time, the high number of illnesses stops many from going to school.
This lack of education continues the cycle of poverty found in developing countries. Short-term solutions such as trucking in water or food are just that, short term. These quick fixes absolutely save lives, but they do not create self-sustainability. Instead, they create dependence without progress.
The root problem will always be dirty water. It is a life characterized by sickness, poverty, illiteracy, and early death. But when dirty water is replaced with clean water, everything changes.
High mortality rates drop because babies no longer suffer from parasites and diarrhea. Children are healthy enough to attend school and they have the time without long walks to a water source. Some may eventually attend a university where they will receive a higher education, bringing hope to their villages and communities
There is more food from gardens and irrigated land. Livestock is healthier and provides better meat. Families eat what they need and can sell what is left at the market.
Productivity increases, poverty decreases, and children’s lives are transformed.
WATER CHANGES HEALTH
"Don’t drink the water!"
The only times we hear those words are in travel warnings to countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. But, children living in those countries drink the water every day and they are dying from it.
A single sip of water is all it takes to be infected. A single drop of water can contain over one billion bacterial organisms. Diarrhea, malaria, typhoid, cholera, worms and parasites, and trachoma just to name a few.
All the pills in all the bottles in the world won’t help a child who drinks dirty water every day.
It is often said that the best way to treat an illness is to make sure you don’t get it in the first place. Although it almost seems too simple, the best medicine really is prevention.
Prevention can be as simple as a cup of clean water.
WATER CHANGES HUNGER
You see a starving child. You think: Food.
Yes, they need food, but what they need first is clean water. Life-giving nutrients from food cannot be absorbed because of the different diseases and parasites brought about by the contaminated water they are drinking.
In Guatemala, 44 percent of children suffer from chronic malnutrition. But it is the lack of clean water that is the main factor for this high number. It is estimated that every year 860,000 child deaths from malnutrition worldwide could be prevented by providing clean water.
Over 840 million people worldwide suffer from malnutrition. At least 799 million of those live in developing countries and 153 million are young children.
Our first thought will probably always be that we need to provide them with more food. Ending hunger will bring transformation, but providing food is not enough.
We must start with clean water. We can work on alleviating hunger through providing water.
WATER CHANGES EDUCATION
Each year in Africa, 40 billion hours are spent just on fetching water.
In sub-Saharan Africa and many other areas around the world, children must walk an average of four miles each way, every day, just to provide water for their families. This takes hours.
The consequences are tragic. Children have no time for school.
Even if they had time, the water they drink keeps them too sick to attend school.
Globally, children lose 443 million school days each year because of waterborne illnesses. And every year, 400 million children become infected with worms, which severely limits their learning potential.
But when children have access to clean water, school enrollment increases and education improves, further reducing poverty.
The need is there and I have joined with Dick and Kay to try to raise money to dig this well for the people in Guatemala who need clean water so desperately. In doing so, I will be able to help provide a lasting memorial to my son not only through the well that bears his name, but also through each child that is given the chance of life by simply providing them with clean water.
Dick and Kay hope to travel back to Guatemala when the well is dedicated. I am hoping that Alissa will be able to make that trip as well. I am even praying, that by some miracle I would be able to find someone to take care of our animals so that Mike and I could also make that trip.
If you would like to help by donating to Joshua's Well, you can do so by sending a tax deductible donation to:
PO Box 510
Forest, VA 24502
Be sure to mark your gift as a memorial for Joshua Hall and to go towards the drilling of Joshua's Well.
If you would like to donate and prefer to do so online, you can go to causelife.org and send in your donation in this manner. Once again, be sure to mark it for the Joshua Hall memorial fund for Joshua's Well.
For those who are unable or don't feel a desire to donate, we would still appreciate your passing this information on to others who might be interested. Even if you can't send a gift, you can pray, and that would mean the world to us.
I think it is very fitting that we should do something for others in memory of my son who was always giving unselfishly of himself to help those he felt were in need.