Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: rain (10/17/05)
TITLE: Will We Wash Away?
By Donna Haug
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October 22, 2005
Three weeks. Three small kids in a tent. Camping with sixty-plus orphan boys along the shore of a Brazilian river far from “civilization”. Does that sound like a great holiday to you? It sounded nice to us at first. The thought of getting away from the tiny town where we lived and of getting our own children out in the great outdoors awakened our sense of adventure. It also sounded very inviting to spend some “quality time” with the boys and workers from the orphanage we were directing.
At first, everything was new and exciting. Our two older children thrilled to fishing with their daddy on the shore of the river. The excitement when a fresh water sting ray was caught only served to animate them further. This was followed by a piranha, which proceeded to sink its teeth into the lucky fisherman’s hand as he tried to get it off the hook! Did a tiny little piranha stop anyone from swimming in that river? Not a chance. The hooting, hollering, splashing, and squealing coming from that crew must have been enough to scare anything away!
I was even game to try washing my family’s clothes by hand at the river’s edge just like the other ladies. The only difference was, my kids tried their absolute best to get as muddy as they could before handing their laundry over to Mom. Another minor detail was the discovery that the skin on the top of my fingers was extremely thin and delicate. I winced as little holes started wearing through while I scrubbed and scrubbed. I gazed in wonder at my companions who chatted happily as they washed their clothes with apparent ease. Meanwhile, my little cherubs splashed in the water beside me, chasing the tiny minnows that were being attracted to my toes by the soap suds. Ah yes! This is the life! Roughing it in the bush.
Then the storm clouds began to surround our campsite. La Niña, El Niño’s twin sister, had discovered our hide-out. Drizzling rain soon became a deluge which turned the black clay floor of our makeshift kitchen into ankle-deep, soupy, shoe-sucking slop. The river rose dangerously high, and we had to consider moving some of the army-barrack style tents to higher ground. Water rushed down the hill on which we had pitched our tents, forming new rivulets everywhere we turned. Seasoned campers began working with their hoes, digging deep trenches around the tents in an effort to divert the water from the walls of their precarious abodes.
That night the rain poured, and the lightening flashed inside our little tent with an incredible brightness. The accompanying thunder made us jump almost out of our sleeping bags. One particular crack sounded like it hit right next to us. We huddled, wide-eyed, inside our feeble shelter and tried to keep from touching the inside walls. (You know what happens when you do that!) Suddenly, I started to feel a very strange sensation of water flowing below the bottom of the tent! Could it be? I crawled to the opening and unzipped it just a crack. What I saw was a pair of flip-flops starting to float away from the doorway down the hill. In times like these, it is so nice to not be the man of the house! Mark jumped out of the tent and grabbed the hoe one more time. In seconds, he was soaked right through as he re-thought the engineering behind our trench. Mud and water splashed everywhere, as he hacked at the clay.
Somehow we made it through that very uncomfortable night. But as we climbed out of our tent the next morning, an amazing sight met our eyes. Right in the middle of the clearing, between all our tents, a broken, half-burned stump of a tree, which had been hit by lightning during the storm, pointed bravely towards the sky. How very small and insignificant we felt in the face of the effects of La Niña. How great and mighty the God who created such power in the first place! How comforting to know that that same God cared for us and promised to be our shelter!
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty … He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.” Ps. 91:1,4 (NIV)
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