Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life. ~John Updike

I helped my daughter study for a science test Tuesday morning.  As we discussed the differences between rills, gullies, and rivers, alluvial plains and deltas, erosion and deposition, I could hear the steady patter of rain on our tin roof.

It’s a beautiful sound – a sound that I missed when we were stateside last year, where houses are more sound proof.  And a sound that we often take for granted here because, as we explained time and again to friends at home, our seasons generally include “rainy” and “less-rainy.”

Though this is the “less-rainy” season, it has been exceptionally, unusually dry.  Typically “dry” season isn’t so much, but this past few months has been refreshingly cool and dry.  Many times I have walked outside, bundled in a sweater, and relished the crisp “autumnal” air.  Occasionally I could even hear the sound of our marching band practicing down at the high school, and it would take me back to the homecoming game, crunchy leaf, pumpkin-and-hayride days of yesteryear.

But, despite the personal thrill I found in these deja vous moments, reports of water tanks (which collect rain water for drinking) running dry have become more frequent.  We have never run out, or been in danger of it, because we use (the rather dirty) river water for many things, including showers and laundry.  But some families (understandably) prefer to use the cleaner “tank water” for these purposes, especially during the rainy season when the supply is readily replenished.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to predict when the regular, heavy rains will come to an end, and occasionally people neglect or forget to switch their plumbing valves before it’s too late.

An equally important complication of the drought, most PNGns rely almost completely on home-grown produce for their sustenance, and the gardens are suffering, too.

But it was as I was mowing our lawn last Saturday (I should specify that I was mowing our scattered weeds, as the grass had only almost imperceptibly lengthened since the last time I had mowed two weeks prior) that I noticed the fissures. 

The light sprinkles (locally referred to as “giaman” rain, or false rain) received sporadically over the past few weeks had done nothing to satisfy the thirsty ground.

And now, even over the roar of the little Honda engine, I could hear the parched earth crying out, the craters begging for relief.

Great canyons of desiccation, desperate for refreshment.

And I realised I could relate.  Can you?

I could see myself in those great, dehydrated cracks.  The past few months have been difficult, and I have tried to make it in my own strength.  My soul has cried out, desperate for spiritual and emotional refreshment.  And though I know the path of true relief must include God and His Word, I have neglected far too often to water my thirsty soul.

Neglected the very Word we are here to see produced in more than 300 languages where people are even more parched and desperate.

What’s wrong with me?

Yesterday, our maintenance department began grading the road I normally take between home and school. I thought this was a good idea since it is rather steep and I regularly try to skate downhill on the piles of loose gravel. 

It’s a medivac waiting to happen.

But last night it rained.  I mean, really rained.  Like a good, steady downpour.  The rain I could still hear tickling our roof during the morning hydrogeology cram session.

After walking down the freshly graded, but unpacked, road, my sandals were caked with a good inch and a half of mud (which, to be honest, is quite a common occurrence).  I kicked them off, washed them, and went barefoot for the first couple hours of school.  (Don’t tell the kids.)

But I was not complaining.  Relief is in sight.

Yes, Lord, send the rain!

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We are missionaries serving God and the task of Bible translation by serving the missionary community in Papua New Guinea through Personnel Administration and MK Education. We thank you for your prayers!

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(Updated 13 April 2013)