by Don and Kathy Williams, Asia
When we are running on empty, our resources are low, and there’s more month than money, where do we run or to whom do we turn?
When we arrived at the Lahu Youth Hostel (Chiang Rai, Thailand) for our recent four day visit, we learned the drought that’s been impacting Thailand for many months had reached the hostel’s well. It had run dry. The storage tank had no water either.
We asked Anun, the hostel dad, about options. He said he could go to the government offices, get a number putting the hostel into a queue, and eventually a delivery truck would bring free water. But we all knew this could take days, if not weeks, before it arrived. With 26 children returning the next day after a school break this didn’t seem like a workable solution. The drought and no promise of rain in sight to replenish the well and water tank made the situation look bleak; the hostel would start the new school year limping along buying large bottles of water.
Later that evening, at the first sign of some clouds in the sky and as the winds started to pick up, Anun and Chan, an international missionary from Canada, stood at the front of the hostel and began to pray. They were bold in their prayers. They raised their hands toward the clouds and the winds that were now blowing quite strongly and said out loud, “Lord, we pray for the winds to die down and for you to bring rain.” (It isn’t unusual to have very strong winds with no rain that cause severe damage to roofs and homes. In the two weeks prior to our visit, many roofs had been destroyed across the country from strong wind storms.) At the very moment they cried out to the Lord to still the wind, the wind moved to either side of where they were standing. They could tell the wind had stopped because the bamboo patch directly in front of them stopped swaying, but they could still hear the wind around them. They cried out again and asked God to send the rain. Within moments they felt the first drops of rain on their faces. The drops soon became a torrential downpour that lasted for an hour, not only filling the well but also filling the water tank.
Now this is quite the story of faith … praying when the well for the Lahu Youth Hostel was dry. But it is only half of the story. The other half demonstrates amazing faith, as well, on the part of Anun. The day we arrived Anun was shirtless and covered in orange mud from head to toe. We learned he had been down inside the well and had sent up bucket loads of mud for Nanci, his wife, to empty. He had been cleaning and getting the well ready to be filled. Now remember, there hadn’t been rain for months. The country was experiencing the worst drought in 40 years. And here’s Anun cleaning out a well, getting it ready to hold water when all signs would indicate it wasn’t going to be filled any time soon. As a man of faith, he still prepared the well and the reserve water tank. He prayed, and both were filled – all just in time for the arrival of the children.
What area in your life is running on empty, has little or no resource or reserve? May we encourage you, like Anun encouraged us in telling this story, to prepare your “wells” or your hearts. Through prayer, and possibly confession, dig deep, removing the debris that has accumulated so when the rains come those empty or dry spaces, which have been made ready, can be filled up with the very presence of God’s grace and mercy which are new every morning and just in time!