The day was hot, like it is before the rains come. The coming of rain is the coming of promise. The earth is revived with the coming of the rain in November, the trees get their leaves, the grass grows, but most critical, it is the time to plant. This is the promise of life. That rain will come and the crops will grow and there will be food to feed the family for the next year. All look forward to the rain. All that is but Elder Choonya. Yes he needs rain for his maize to grow, yes he looks forward to the coolness that the clouds bring and the green that springs up everywhere to change the dusty dry earth to a living carpet and canopy of various shades of green. Yes he prays for the rain with all his people, but when he got to church last Sabbath, a conflict came to his mind. He entered the little shelter that was used for Church service for the last several years, he looked up and saw the sunshine streaming through the old thatch roof, making many bright spots on the dusty floor. He heard the termites slowly but surely eating away the posts and rafters that were made from the local trees and were favorite food of this small little destroyer. There was a light dust in the air, seen easily in the sunlight shafts that came thru the thin thatch, the dust from a thousand little critters eating their fill of the roofing material. Should he pray for rain today, rain that would surely disrupt the worship service, forcing the congregation to scurry into small clusters where the drips coming through the leaky roof wouldn't dampen their spirits and their sabbath best. No today he would pray for rain and add to that prayer that his request for a One Day Church from Riverside would be accepted and make it to his area before it rained on Sabbath, yes that was his prayer today.
Back in cold USA there were also prayers going up to heaven, not for rain, but for God to bless the offering that was being taken up that day in church. A special appeal to help sponsor One Day Churches in Zambia and other parts of Africa. God was working on hearts at the right time to feel the need to help sponsor a church, or two churches or five churches. Hearts were responding and blessing of heaven were being felt around the world.
Elder Choonya bowed his head and prayed that Sababth and before the people came to worship he felt impressed to make a phone call to the ODC coordinator. And as surely as there is a God in heaven that hears and answers prayers in his time, just as surely He had been working out circumstances that the ODC program was coming to his district the very next week. On the phone he heard the words, 'we are coming to your area this coming week. The bible worker in your area will give you details today as he is visiting your congregation."
7 years before this Sabbath, Elder Choonya and his wife had started worshipping in this little village, each Sabbath their little company of believers met in various structures from School classrooms to temporary pole and thatch structures, or under a tree. He had seen the membership grow and shrink, often depending on the structure or comfort that the people found. Now with 20 members, they needed a permanent building that would be both an honorable place to meed with God each week and a proof to local scoffers that we serve a living God in heaven who has His hand in our affairs and cares about us.
On the phone Elder Choonya heard those words, "we are coming", and that was what he needed to lift his spirit and pray for rain. Let it come he thought. Let it rain!!
And the next Sabbath it did rain, and it rained very hard, just the kind of rain needed to soften and moisten the earth to make it ready for seed, for rejuvenation. To give hope for food for the coming year. And the rain did come through all the holes in that thatch roof, and soaked the dirt floor making it very muddy. And the termites were still chewing on the poles and rafters, ensuring that it would collapse one day. But the worshipers did not have to scamper, they did not have to huddle together to stay dry, they only had to sing louder to be heard above the clatter of rain on a metal roof. For as sure to their word the ODC team from Riverside had visited there area and put up 4 One Day Churches in the district and one being where Elder Choonya was worshiping. Does God have a worldwide church? Is there a coordinated effort by God to bring together hearts from different lands in one unity, one mutual goal, to honor Him. Yes Yes Yes a thousand times Yes, and proof is that the needs of many hearts, even 10,000 miles apart beat in one grand cadence to honor him in their worship. By giving, by serving, by being faithful. Thank you for your support of the One Day Church project in Zambia. Thank you from rainy Zambia. Thanks from Elder Choonya.