Julie’s story begins like millions of others. She grew up in a loving and supportive family, surrounded by good friends and neighbors but shielded from the harsh realities that millions of other people face on a daily basis. Years later, after starting a family, she felt God was calling her and her family to adopt. Julie felt the wonderful gifts of love, support, heath and opportunity God had bestowed upon her and her family should be shared and multiplied. After thoughtful discussion with the family and lot of prayer, Julie felt God was calling them to Ethiopia.
Cruz, at 6 months old, was the first to join the Neal family and they immediately fell in love with him. This was just the beginning of their adoption story and the family knew right away they would be adopting again. When the time came to add another family member, all three of Julie’s children were excited for the chance to travel to Ethiopia and see first-hand where their brother was born. What the entire family found in Ethiopia was astounding. Even though most people live in abject poverty and survive hand to mouth on about $1.50 per day, the level of happiness was amazing.
What Julie and the family saw and experienced during their time in Ethiopia was an absolute revelation. After spending time in the villages with some of the local families, they knew there was a need that could not be ignored. The only fresh water source in the area was a small stream which was used by both people and animals. This was the primary source of water for drinking, cooking, bathing and sanitation needs. Livestock also use this stream as their primary source of water and they contributed even more bacteria, viruses and parasites to the already contaminated was supply. There in that moment, God spoke to Julie telling her that she needed to be the vessel that brings clean water to Chuko village.
For years, the local villagers hoped and prayed someone would lift up the entire village though the gift of clean water. They shared with her the sad facts about the local water supply, that the majority of infant deaths were due to dirty water. That her own son most likely would not have survived if he was not adopted by their family. The effects of dirty water was apparent in their own son Cruz. Soon after he arrived in the states, doctors realized parasites riddled his bowels and viruses kept him stick and underweight. In the short amount of time living in his home village Cruz had developed a life threatening sickness that left untreated would have most likely lead to his passing.
The new spark in Julie’s life lit a fire in her heart: knowing that so many other children from Cruz’s village desperately needed a clean water resource, she took it upon herself to make sure other kids had a fighting chance. Water is the basis of life.
Julie’s vision became a reality! Water wells in Chuko were drilled and the village celebrated. Thousands of gallons of clean water per day pour out of the Chuko wells and supply the entire village with a sustainable clean water supply.
God called Julie to bring clean water to Chuko. Initially, Julie wondered how someone like her could, a stay at home mom and part time preschool teacher, make a difference in the lives of thousands of people on a daily basis by bringing a clean water well to the Chuko village. God worked with Julie, through her doubts and questions, and provided an answer to the question “If not you, then who will”. Julie knew she was going to be the voice for the voiceless. She understood what a clean water supply would mean to the mothers of Chuko and in the lives of their children.
Julie would love to discuss her adoption experience, travels to Ethiopia and how clean water has transformed the lives of so many. Use this form to schedule Julie for a speaking engagement.
Julie would love your help to drill another big borehole community sized well in a neighboring Ethiopian village. This well would supply enough water for the entire village’s drinking and sanitation needs, with excess water going to raise crops and supply livestock with drinking water. Any donation amount is greatly appreciated and will be put to saving the lives of thousands.