Buildings in Chennai are supplied by varying sizes of water tanks mounted on the roof, which in turn, are supplied by wells. When the wells run dry, everyone scrambles for water. Large trucks bring water from neighboring regions (if they have any water), but the need is great and sometimes the wait for water is 2 weeks or more, even for those who can pay. Villagers learn to store up water in any available container when they can and it reminds me of my childhood back in south Texas during hurricane season. Only this is every day life for most Indians, constantly living in what we would consider a near-crises state. “Incredible India” in the 21st
But the day we arrived, the winds changed and the rains came with it. We enjoyed refreshing rains almost every night. Lightening flashed throughout most nights and we soon learned to sleep through the crashes of thunder. But from experience, we know that while we're enjoying the beauty and majesty of nature, it also means we will lose power, most assuredly. We learn not to take electricity, or water, for granted.
One day, we visited a village about an hour away, far back in the hills near a wildlife sanctuary. As the roads got narrower, we enjoyed seeing the fields of crops that stretched as far as the eye could see. It was beautiful landscape but when we noticed that most of the fields were filled only with dirt and weeds, we were told they were typically filled with rice plants this time of year. But this year, no rain has come. They showed us huge deep open wells that were dry all the way to the bottom, despite the nightly thunderstorms. “We're waiting on the water.” Everywhere in India, it seems someone is waiting on water.
A few nights ago, we were startled awake. As the sky rumbled and lightening lit up the huge palm trees surrounding our cottage, we could hear and see the heaviest downpour of rain I think I have ever experienced. It was like a scene from a movie about exotic India. I smiled. Our time in India was drawing to a close and indeed, the wind has changed and the rains have come. As I drifted back to sleep, I thanked God for the rain and thought of those wells. Then I chuckled as I realized that of course, we will have no electricity tomorrow. Nothing can be taken for granted here in this wild land. The following night, the storm returned and by morning, every field surrounding our home was filled with water, and remains so, 2 days later. We marvel at the standing water in the sandy soil surrounding us. We don't understand it, just as we don't understand so much of what we experience in India. We pray that the wells are beginning to fill with water and there is relief in sight for this thirsty land. We also pray for the Living Water to flow through lives here and to relieve a thirst for Jesus that can never fully be quenched.
The same day, we learned of the desperate need for clean drinking water for our children at Achiever Academy. We prayed as we made a simple plea for help and indeed, the water came. Our hearts overflowed with emotion at the abundance of compassion and love that flowed from the hands of Christ, the only hands he has - those of his children. Thank you all for your prayers. God heard and the water came!
As we engage in final preparations for our departure for the U.S. tonight, we are reflecting on this extraordinary “year of harvest” we have experienced here in India in the past few weeks. God is most certainly on the move in India, changing lives here and back home in the U.S. And for us, somewhere in between, we thank Him for changing ours. We have so much more to share in the weeks ahead but for now, we ask for your prayers for our safe journey home.
We also thank you all for your prayers for our sweet granddaughter, Adelynn Marie, and are so happy to share that she was released from the NICU last Friday and is now home with her Mommy and Daddy, right where she belongs, as God intended. Her recovery was extraordinary and we believe the Lord heard all our prayers from all around the world. Our friends here were a huge part of that prayer network. Thank you, Father, for your river of life that flows through dear Adelynn Marie, through our family, through India, and all the way back home again.
On the river that flows towards home,
Susan & Jim