Monday, July 1, 2013

Remembering when I was thankful for water (dry season in DR Congo)

Right now in New York it is raining.  A lot.  When we went strawberry picking yesterday the strawberries were mush.  Today, there are floods.  It hardly seems like July.

Last night, I received an email from a good friend of mine that lives in DRC.  Sue and Bill Vinton are actually not just friends, they are our family.  She and her husband are missionaries in Bukavu with Grace Mission International.  It's dry season now.  Lots of dust and too little water.  When I was there a few weeks ago, it was dry season but it had just started.  The grass was still green.  There was water in the cisterns.  We used buckets for baths.  Water came out of the taps in the evenings to wash hands and flush toilets.

Before we moved from DRC two years ago, we had gone through a horrible dry season.  The cisterns were empty and no water came in from the city at night.  We went days with no water.  Using water that had been saved in Jerry cans.  We sent out drivers to try to find water for us throughout the city.  Because we couldn't cross the boarder with Ellie and Mia, we couldn't take a "vacation" to Rwanda where there was water.  I started researching how you make sure you kill cholera from lake water before use!  But our struggles were nothing, not when one considered the children at night.

Sue was so nice to give me permission to copy her email here.  I thought it was beautiful and worth reading.   A wonderful reminder of thanking God for our everyday needs.
We've had no water for a week.  Thankfully we did have a full cistern at the beginning of the week, but it has gotten lower and lower each day without being replenished.  I looked every morning to see if water had come in and if so, I would do laundry. But alas, nothing.

This morning I was praying and I was praying that the cisterns ( we have a large and a small one) would get filled, that God would give us lots of water. And then it dawned on me that water is the only thing I have to trust him for day by day (for like my daily physical needs), and that he wants me to just go one day at a time.  Don't worry about full cisterns, just pray for enough water for today. That is the life that so many people all over the world live--for food, for health care, for school fees--it's all just one day at a time.  In all the years I've lived here I've never not had food for tomorrow, medicine or the possibility of purchasing medicine for illness, or the ability to pay school fees (excepting college, which we haven't been able to pay). But the day to day dependency on God that so so many people we know live with, is finally felt by me in this one small area.

So I decided that there was enough water to do laundry today if I hauled buckets from the gross cistern where the water looks kind of nasty and I really don't want to use it for much.  I figured that as long as it came out of the cistern looking clean it would be good enough for our clothes.  So for 4 1/2 hours I hauled buckets and buckets of water, and fussed with electricity problems and worked on saving water in my attempt to do laundry.  I put trunks out to drain the washing machine water into. One for the soapy water after washing, one for the cleaner rinse water after rinsing. Then I used the rinse water for wash water for a second load. Then I cleaned and fought with dust and used up the soapy water for cleaning dirt. There's endless dirt here.  Our diningroom table has to be wiped before you sit at it to do anything.  Anyway, I finally finished 2 loads of laundry and now I have a trunk of dirty wash water and a trunk of "clean" rinse water.  We'll be using that water for flushing the toilet and mopping, dusting, etc. It's nice to have the laundry done.

Some water came into the big cistern while I was washing, but it's not even 1/4 full. So I'll pray for water for tomorrow, tomorrow. And I'll try not to worry and stress out about the fact that we don't have lots of water. Instead I'll try to trust God for water like my Congolese friends trust for so many daily needs.


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