The other day, at Hope International School, we were filthy with red dirt. It's just par for the course here, as so many kids, ripe with red dirt themselves, love to play, hug, sit on, and hold hands with their "mzungu" friends. So like normal, I told Sophie to walk over to the water tank to wash her hands. She turned the faucet on, the water poured, and she began to rinse. (You can see the tank in the wee background of the picture)
Even in the chaotic midst of 200 children at recess, it wasn't two seconds before a very sharp-eyed teacher cautiously said, "Sophie - turn off the water. Turn it off." I turned and made sure Sophie wasn't doing something wrong. At the sight of her quickly shutting off the faucet, it occurred to me that we've been in the dry season. Two months now without rain. The tanks were near empty, and washing hands was not a necessity. I stood, momentarily embarrassed, by my lack of sensitivity to an issue so personal to their lives.
I know what it means to be in a drought. I live in a lake community at home. A community that very often sees recreational fishermen unable to launch boats for months on end due to low lake levels. My neighborhood, like many others, gives "Water Level Warnings" and limits the days when we can water lawns. Prayers for rain can be heard from farmers, churches, and in general conversation all around town. Droughts are a big deal in Texas.
But here, lack of water takes on a different meaning. No rain in the Bwerenga village means not just extra caution, but extra everything. Extra work to maintain livelihood in a village that doesn't have a public water system. More children walking with jerry cans to collect water. Crops that are sold can fail and no income is received....income that is needed for daily survival. A reliance on tanks turns to reliance on God to fill those tanks - with rain.
Mama Catherine's home is one of the few houses in Bwerenga that has an actual toilet. 20+ people living in her home, and something as simple as a toilet is huge. But once again, no water system means each flush has to be poured in, and in the middle of the dry season, pouring in water for the toilet becomes a luxury.
So all this to say, there's been an awful lot of patient waiting on the Lord in Bwerenga. I've yet to hear a complaint, just conversations of prayers for rain. And in a sense, I feel their prayers are heard out of sheer necessity.
This Friday, there was a downpour while we were there. The children were crammed in their little school rooms, unable to play at recess. My flip flops were caked with mud, and the sweet teacher assistant gave us an umbrella that helped little. And in the middle of the storm, the teacher sang with the kids "Rain, rain, go away, come again another day - the little children want to play!"
The irony of it was their smiles were big and everyone was joyful.
The Lord had answered their prayers.
SIDE NOTE: Not to bring this around back around to us, but I'm gonna bring this back to us.
My family has made the decision to head back to the good 'ol USA at the end of our year in July. It was a hard decision to make. We truly love the 60 Feet family we have here with our new friends. But we truly miss family at home, too. To sacrifice to come here was an easy choice. Really, it was. I heard God loud and clear, and obedience was the only choice. But to make the decision to go home, back to our comforts, when we could stay here another year or more.....that was way more difficult. It almost felt like we were giving in. I didn't hear God as clearly on this one, to be honest. I felt as if He was saying, "I'm with you if you go, I'm with you if you stay." So we will be coming home. I would like to invite you to pray with us as we patiently wait on the Lord. We are hoping to transition back into our home, back into the girl's same school, back into our jobs. That's not a guarantee. So please pray with us, as we wait for the Lord to provide what we need. He always has, and when He does, there will definitely be big smiles and joy on our end here!