On a hot Saturday morning, near Lake Malawi, November 6th, 2010, a “starfish” shallow well was installed in the village of Malilika at Dwangwa (Bua Zone), Malawi, Africa. Thirty households (150 people) will share this well. This well was donated as a tribute to Martin by a close friend. We were sent a starfish to be imbedded in the concrete. It is a beautiful well. The villagers had made immense efforts and paved around the well with brick and stone and protected the well with a bamboo fence, to keep out the cows and goats.
The men and women gathered anxiously and joyfully to see fresh water pumped from their well. They were eager to abandon their dirty water hole they were drinking from. They were eager for life, for “water is life”. The children watched happily as the builders installed the pump and pipe. They were curious about the “Mzungus” who have come.
We dedicated the well to God’s Glory. Tom told the starfish story to the villagers and about our son who lived all of his adult life wearing the starfish pendant, given to him by his father when he was 21. This story was told on Martin’s memorial service. . .
A boy and his father were walking along the beach. On the sandy beach were thousands of starfish that were washed up along the shoreline. As they walked, the boy picked up a starfish and threw it in the ocean and watched it return to life..they continued down the shoreline, and the boy picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean, and another, and another. The father said in exasperation “Son, will you stop that, there are too many to save. What difference does it make?” The son, picked up a starfish, and threw it into the ocean and as he watched the starfish return to life, he said, “It made a difference to that one.”
Martin, I pumped the first water from that “starfish” well. It represents over one hundred and forty wells we have received in your memory. It is symbolic of “life”. Just as you have impacted so many lives during your lifetime here on earth, you are continuing to make a difference from above.