27 August 2012

Multitude Monday - 1000 Gifts ~ Rain or no rain, God still reigns!

Catchy quote, isn't it?

"Rain or no rain, God still reigns"

I didn't come up with it. I wish I could claim those pithy, powerful and properly "spot-on" words as my own.

But they aren't.

They're hers... as is this picture that was my fb banner for a week. (And you should go check out her site sometime. I've appreciated everything I've seen there so far.)

Photo by Jennifer Dukes Lee, used with permission.

Because I know many, myself included, clinging to that truth.

Some of you might already know why...

When Jennifer created this, she and her farmer husband had been praying for rain... It hasn't, and crops are failing. But they still choose thankfulness, contentment and trust.

We are used to pleading with, begging the Lord to send rain. That, in fact, is our normal.

We live on the backside of the desert, the Sahel region of W. Africa. We've lived here for 12 years now. We desperately need rain so that this nation of mostly subsistence farmers can gather a large enough harvest to continue subsisting for one more year.

Here? This year? The rains inundate... literally.

Our city is flooded. People have died - especially the very young and the very old. Tens of thousands are without homes - several of our African friends and neighbors are homeless as mud brick house after mud brick house collapsed, essentially melting in all of this water. Over 50 fellow missionaries and their families are also presently in temporary housing - and they have no idea of what they will be able to salvage from their homes, but are thankful to have someplace safe and dry to live temporarily. According to local authorities, occurrences of malaria, cholera, typhoid and other diseases will rise rapidly. When do authorities think the river will recede and they'll be able to access affected areas? Next March or April...

It is a privilege to be a part of this community, also choose thankfulness, contentment and trust.

Yesterday, the River Basin Authority informed Sahel/SIM leadership that two significant dams upstream had broken: one in Burkina Faso and another in Mali. That water should reach us in three to four days...

There for efforts have been redoubled and renewed. This community's goals? :
  1. supporting and providing relief for those who've lost - Nigerien as well as expat;
  2. encouraging those feeling weary, faint, purposeless or abandonned;
  3. stewarding well - saving and salvaging what can be;
  4. searching for a place where we can continue educating the 150+ students entrusted to Sahel Academy;
  5. offering continuous intercessory prayer, sacrifices of praise, and thankfulness for God's abundant care; and
  6. anticipating eagerly God's glory washing over this land through these events.
And so, just like last week, this week's gratitude list consists primarily of pictures (for which I cannot take credit), reminding me of many things for which I need to thank and praise the Lord - as first our community worked to protect and prevent. Then when God, in His love and providence, chose a different answer than we'd hoped for, people have rolled up their sleeves and dove right back into the battle, murk and muck to serve our God through loving and very practical, hands on, dirty, dangerous, soggy risky ministry.

Even in the midst of all this... I love the smiles, the attitudes, the resilience, the very confidence that "Rain or no rain, God still reigns!"

this week's gratitude list

(#s 3010 - 3055)

Pont Kennedy, for it remains, and is one of only two ways to access the campus.
Waters have risen 5 meters - so thankful for the men who, 24/7 kept and eye
on this situation, protecting the many who lived in these areas.

indomitable, resilient people

the dike that has protected these properties successfully for so long

the authorities who've invested to build and keep this dike repaired,
against all odds and with minimal resources

Measures take to repair the breach in the dike and stem the flow of water from the river

sandbags - lots of them, not only reinforcing dikes, but walls as
this community worked almost unceasingly to stem the flow of water

Sahel Academy's wonderful director - always right out
in the midst of first the protect and now the recovery efforts

this wonderful, beautiful inside and out woman. Anna's teacher last year, Elsie Mae's this year -
she certainly didn't sign up for this, but we always find her chipping in
and serving others in some way. Pray for her - she just left to fly home for
her grandmother's funeral...
Hard working, enthusiastic kids who remind the bigger people that
even the hard stuff can be a God-adventure

Hard working friends, most of them not even in any of these photos
A tiny picture of what compromises this community

Nigeriens and other Africans rolling up their sleeves and working as hard as anyone else, even in the midst of their loss

families who've spent most of their time and lives in Africa

new families here for just a short time, who never dreamed it would be like this, but who are holding fast and working hard, right there in the middle of everything

As the waters continued to rise... singing the words to this song:

Don't know where to begin
Its like my world's caving in
And I try but I can't control my fear
Where do I go from here?

Sometimes its so hard to pray
When You feel so far away
But I am willing to go
Where you want me to
God, I trust You

There's a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You

I will swim in the deep
Cause You'll be next to me
You're in the eye of the storm
And the calm of the sea
You're never out of reach

God, You know where I've been
You were there with me then
You were faithful before
You'll be faithful again
I'm holding Your hand

There's a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You
4 wheelers


seeing my boy in a photo while he's out there working

great sports of all ages

big, beautiful smiles

big beautiful smiles even when covered in mud!

knowing you've done all you can do

learning to accept that "your all you could do" wasn't right in the midst of things, in the thick of the crisis, but was rather much more quiet and a lot less exciting... time in prayer and trying to quietly encourage

learning to accept that "all you could do" wasn't enough because God had something different, something better in mind... and beginning to spend even more time in prayer

this road is still usable, even with the river raging below...

and even with the river sometimes raging over

safety so far
trying to strengthen and protect the gate

that friends and neighbors weren't hurt when their homes completely collapsed...

very big trucks that can carry things out, even through very deep water
people with canoes... who are good at canoeing
praising God for His awesome power demonstrated by His creation... As one of the men from our church said, "We can put out fire with water... but what can stop the water when God decides it needs to come?"

unloading rescued science materials and lab equipment when it arrived at our compound for storage
watching and hearing my kids' reaction as they saw this photo... even Mary Michelle: "Mama,
we need to pray even more, much more!"

computer lab equipment leaving campus via canoe... and then arriving safely for us to unload on the other side of town

seeing friends working so hard... because even when it isn't necessarily your ministry, we are to come alongside our brothers and sisters

this picture just blows my mind... imagining a world where students actually canoed to class every day 

dead snakes... even though my oldest girl might not agree

although many snakes have been seen, so far no encounter has been too close -
well, except maybe for this snake

we lost one piano... but this one made it safely out

that they even had the vision and the courage to TRY and rescue a PIANO in a CANOE
this truth

the author/creator's willingness to share this with me today

this photo and how is so completely captures the spirit of our community right now... Lord, may they see us shine... for YOU!


Thanks to many - Lisa Rohrick, Ray Chamberlain, Shannon Maxwell, John and Nancy Devalve, Cathy Bliss, Steve Schmidt - for sharing these photos with the Sahel community


  1. thank you for your photos and for being in tough places for Jesus! your hard eucharisteo is beautiful. blessings from Uganda

    1. always love visits from fellow african sojourners!

      thanks for stopping by!

  2. One man's drought another man's flood - One God in control of both!

    1. so glad that He is... and that both are evidence of His love, even though we find that hard to understand.


  3. Wow! Your pictures put images to the words and help us know how to pray. Thank you!! Thanks for sharing your eucharisteo today! ~Heidi

    1. thanks for the prayers - we truly appreciate them. so glad you stopped in for a visit today.

  4. will be adding my prayers to your community's. I pray all are kept safe!

    1. thank you, Leanne. so far, so good - but each moment of safety we realize is a gift from God.

      weather looks like thunderstorms tonight... sigh...

      thanks for visiting our corner of the blogworld today.

  5. I am so happy to find your beautiful blog today! What amazing, refreshing encouragement. I often forget God's goodness in times of sadness and hardship, and I love your light and joy, shining through even flood waters. Many blessings to you, sweet friend. I am praying even now.

    with love,

    1. Melanie,

      Thank you for such kind and encouraging words. I was feeling tired after another long day working to save school materials and find another place to even have school for 150 kids... and I received notification of your comment.

      Thank you even more for your prayers!


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