A Box of VaporRub for a New Water Well?

Post a Comment » Written on January 23rd, 2007     
Filed under: News
By Stan Friedman

ENDEAVOUR, SK (January 23, 2007) – Doug Wildman hopes to trade a box of Vicks VaporRub for construction of a water well in Haiti.

Well, sort of.

Wildman (accompanying photo), a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada, has started Waterblogged, a website on which people trade for an object, with each item increasing in value. He began with a box of VaporRub.

WildmanDavid Crockett, designer of Beyond Chess, traded a game board worth $25 for the box of VaporRub. Ray and Gail Baloun then received the game board when they offered $60 worth of Shell Canada gasoline gift certificates. A 22-year-old college student will receive the gift certificates, having traded the latest item, a candle stand with glass hurricane and a three-wick candle valued at just over $200.

Wildman says he offered the box of VaporRub as the website’s first item because it happened to be sitting on his desk when the idea for the website came to him. A water well costs $1,000 to dig, and the latest trade puts that project a fifth of the way to the goal just less than two weeks after the website started.

A year ago, Wildman heard about the Haitian’s desperate need for clean water to help prevent one in every 10 children from dying before their first birthday due to the spread of disease through polluted water. He thought at first that the problem was too big for him to doing anything significant in response.

“For a moment, the thought crossed my mind that I should do what was in my power to help, but that thought was quickly dampened by the voice of reason,” he says. “What difference could one man from rural Saskatchewan make? So I listened to reason for about a year.”

A sermon he preached earlier this month on the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 convinced him to abandon reason. “When I came home that Sunday, the Haitian people came into my mind once again,” he says. “I was convicted of the fact that I had been entrusted with something to invest in the Kingdom of God.”

He just never thought the talent would be as small as a box of VaporRub. An encounter with someone he never met confirmed his decision. Wildman recalls:

“The following week, a friend of mine flagged me down and asked me to his house for lunch. While I was there, he introduced me to a young man who happened to be dating his daughter. I don’t know why, but for some reason I decided to tell him about the idea of trading for a well in Haiti. His eyes got really big. He said, ‘Did you know that my whole family is involved in drilling wells in Haiti?’ “

Response to the project has thrilled Wildman, who says he feels like a kid waking up on Christmas day. Given the encouraging response so far, he hopes that the trades will continue to build momentum and that a new water well can be in place sometime in April.

He is further encouraged with the “adoption” of his Waterblogged website by a major youth conference planned for this spring – the group wants to designate its mission offering for the well program. Junior High Jam, an annual youth conference in Strathmore, Alberta, that draws students from across Western Canada, will be held in May. “I fully anticipate that this will mean that we can build a second well in Haiti,” Wildman says.

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