Jars of Clay lead singer Dan Haseltine began a non-profit organization the Blood:Water Mission, which not only brings awareness to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa to the U.S. but also donates funds to the cause.
It began when Haseltine saw the overwhelming statistics on AIDS. "I had overdosed on the numbers," says Jars of Clay’s lead singer. "I'd read that AIDS will leave 14 million orphans. I can't grasp that. I felt like the best way for me to understand was to just go and sit down with one person struggling with AIDS. That would make it personal and real."
Haseltine then went visited Africa with a Christian organization where he met a boy that would deepen his impression of AIDS. Kevin was an 11-year old boy who lived South Africa who said he wanted to become a doctor when he grew up in order to help those suffering under AIDS.
These words choked Haseltine’s heart because he knew that Kevin could never be able to fulfill his dream since Kevin was already in the advanced stages of AIDS.
"His eyes were hollow," says Dan. "But even though he probably knew he was going to die, his dreams would not die. He wouldn't let the disease take away his hopes for the future."
Especially as a parent, this experience has only begun to shape his view on AIDS.
"My heart would absolutely break if my son was diagnosed with a terminal illness," Dan says, referring to Noah, his 2-year-old. "I'm not sure how I would live with that."
“My heart was full of all kinds of emotions—despair, anger, hopelessness. But there is much we can do,” says Haseltine. “The issue has never been a lack of possible ways to get involved. The issue is that most of America doesn't care."
Haseltine’s is not wrong to think most of America doesn’t care. Even recent poll suggests that of all the Christians in America, only 6 percent were willing to be involved in helping the AIDS crisis in Africa.
The singer reacted to this statistic with shock. "Six percent, that's horrible," says Dan. "Christians need to put on a face of mercy, not the face of judgment. God calls us to take care of widows and orphans."
What started with Haseltine has also been joined by the entire Jars of Clay band. "My prayer," says Dan, "is that I, along with the guys in Jars, can connect the hearts and minds of Americans and provoke a passionate response."
To learn how to donate or help the Blood:Water Mission, visit www.bloodwatermission.org.