Thursday, March 17, 2011

Basins of Blessings

Outside the Smith home - basins set out to collect the rain.

Several times this week our senses were stimulated by familiar sounds and smells. But what we were about to experience had been long anticipated. And, as it began, we joyfully put out our basins to catch all that we could of this blessing.

After weeks without rain, God opened the skies of heaven and that welcome precipitation poured down, creating small rivers in the dry, hard soil, quenching the thirst of parched plants and animals, and replenishing our empty water tanks.

I couldn’t help but say excitedly as the rain came first on Sunday, “Yay, God! Yay, God!” as I did a little happy dance. Then it rained on Tuesday and again today, Thursday.

One of our largest basins collecting rainwater. It was nearly full after Tuesday's storm.

A couple of weeks ago we received a text message from the Ugandan Office of the Prime Minister which said it looked as if we were in for a long dry season, and food, water and pasture would become short in supply. Lately, we have been hearing reports of “skyrocketing” food and fuel prices.

The evening I received the ominous message, I read Isaiah 41:17-20.

“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys, I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.”

Rain has been an item of prayer here at SHIM and we are so grateful for God answering our prayers!

I have also been blessed in recent weeks by the "thirst" among the island’s secondary students for God’s Word. Last March Amanda and I began the “Bible Project” and with the support of our home church, Westport Community Church, we have been able to provide Bibles to the students. To receive a Bible, a student need only memorize and recite the books of the Bible in order. In the 2010 school year, I believe we presented about 30 Bibles. But, recently in 17 days, 33 students, both boys and girls, have earned their own copy of the Bible! Yay, God!

One evening, seven excited girls recited the books. A group of them gathered around me near their hostel. With beaming faces and broad smiles, they encouraged one another, and cheered when each one successfully completed the recitation. They were so enthusiastic, you would have thought I was giving away money!

A group of Lingira Living Hope students with their new Bibles.

I have been so blessed to see God's answers to our prayers, whether for rain or for the island students to respond to His truth and light. Thank you, too, to those who have prayed for these needs!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!