The people of a remote village in Laoag City, Philippines were waiting for the first drops of rain that month but were disappointed. There was no rain. Their barangay remained a desert. ‘Twas dry.
To make things worse, almost all barangays of Ilocos Norte-- our province-- have tasted the first drops of rain that year except this barangay. It remained thirsty for heaven’s fresh shower. It is in May when people expect the first rounds of downpour of the rainy season. So the people started complaining and told each other “we might have offended God or might have displeased Him with our ways so we don’t have rain in our village”.
I understand the concern; many of the residents rely on farming as a means of livelihood. No rain means only one thing—no harvest.
I was quietly thinking they might have some basis of thinking that way. The barangay folks are fond of betting on an illegal game of chance called “jueteng”(they do this everyday, hoping to win a little treasure), they love card games—with bets of course, and drinking beer or gin is their favorite pastime. Many of the village folks waste time doing nothing and have little time reading the Bible or even have the desire to do so. To put it simply, the place has its own group of sinners like any place in the world, although here, I suspect there are more.
When I was sent there to lead a group of young ministers, I did not know what to expect; it was my first time to lead a church planting project after all. I was commissioned by a Korean missionary working here in my country. One summer, I was hired to teach a subject on “Using Media for Evangelization” in their mission house. That’s when I learned that they were looking for a pastor who hails from Laoag City. I’m from that city and when I heard about the search for a pastor, I felt a strong thud in my heart telling me—"you can be that pastor". I began to seek God’s will regarding the matter. I prayed hard; I did it fervently and after weeks of seeking God’s face, I was sure He was leading me to accept the Call. I believed deep in my heart I was called to lead the church planting project there. The thud in my heart I felt earlier was from the Holy Spirit after all.
Without delay, I told the Korean missionary about my desire to serve. After a short talk, he readily accepted my plan to lead the project, thereby confirming my prayers. After weeks of visitations, praying for the sick, and doing bible studies, another pastor who hails from that barangay introduced me as the pastor of the newly planted church and on that Sunday, we had our first service.
To strengthen the church we have just built, we had several bible studies then and on one of those bible study sessions, I felt an irresistible urge to pray for rain.
So I led our group in prayer.
That was a Saturday night. It was a starry night too, so the people were not hopeful that it will rain the next day. However, the following morning, a Sunday, it rained!
It was not the usual rain they get in that place, it was a heavy downpour and it lasted the whole day.
God granted our petition. He sent rain. Praise the name of the Lord! He is an awesome God.
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