Monday, September 20, 2010

Missionary Monday - No Water

I know it's not Monday. It's Tuesday already. Just another reminder of the last 4 days and our living in "survival mode," as we like to call it.

We have been 4 days without water. And, if you have never lived without water, you cannot imagine how difficult it can be.

Toilets don't flush.
No baths.
Can't brush teeth; wash hands.
Dirty dishes in sink.
Piles of dirty laundry.

No, it is not a pretty sight. But, as I write this post, David and two men are outside trying to fix the problem. Apparently, our hoses were pushed down to the very bottom of the underground river we are pumping from and it needs to be adjusted a little higher. This is the third time we have had workers here, and that was the latest verdict. So, we'll see...
My Brianna was a flower girl in a wedding this weekend; my Nate was a ring bearer. It was a dream-come-true to this Mommy to watch my little ones participate in their first wedding (pictures coming later this week). However, the part that was an interruption to my starry little fantasy was when we had to get everyone ready with no water.
Praise the Lord for the water we have stored in our unfinished attic! If it were not for that water, I don't know what we would have done! So, in reality the last four days have looked a little more like this:

Bucket-flushed toilets.
Bucket baths.
Teeth brushed and hands washed with little cups of water.
Dishes washed with boiled water.
One load of laundry washed with 5 buckets of water poured into the washing machine.
Not as bad as the original list, right? And, last night we went over to the VanSant's house for everyone to take baths. And, during that time I was able to wash two loads of my laundry in their washing machine. Ahhh... the bliss of feeling clean again and seeing the laundry pile only half as big as it originally was!

But, seriously.... I feel more sorry for our neighbors. We are the ONLY ones in our village and the surrounding villages with running water. Did you catch that? Yes, we are the ONLY ones! So, what do the others do? Well, before we bought land and moved out here, they all used a spring that has since dried up. Since we are now here, we share our water with everyone a mile around! We have an outdoor pump that we allow everyone to fill their buckets at. And they come, by foot,... even in the dead of winter... to fill their buckets.
But, since we are without water, they are too.

Why is it that missionaries who live in third-world countries have to go without water (or electricity, internet, etc...) so often? If there were an award given in heaven for enduring the most days without water or other "commodities," I think I might be towards the front of the line to receive my award. (Because there are a lot of things I still have not shared with you.) But, here is the real question: Am I more spiritual and closer to Christ because I endure the hardships of the mission field? As much as I wish the answer were yes, the honest truth is that the answer is no.

How many times have I complained or grumbled when I have had no water? Or when I have had to pour water down a stinky toilet? Ahhh.... the answer to those questions shed light upon my true spiritual condition. And, no, I have not always been "spiritually successful."

"Lord, help me to remember that when I have no water, I am making this small sacrifice to live amongst a people who do not always have the comforts I grew up accustomed to. To live here and work here, I will sometimes feel like I have gone back in time 100 years. But, Lord, help me to keep eternity.... the eternity of souls... in mind when I live the life of a missionary's wife.

And, P.S., please help us to get our water back on today too!" {smile}


  1. I'll be praying you (and your neighbors!) get water back soon!

  2. Are you sure you don't live in Uganda? We have had days without electricity, water, and phone signal - all at once. But how trivial these discomforts are in light of the sufferings of Christ when He lived on this earth. Missionaries may have to leave the comforts of the U.S., but think of Christ leaving Heaven!!!

  3. I am praying for you to have water again also the Van Sants are a blessing

  4. Or maybe you live in Panama? We have lots of those days here too. So nice that you have a storage tank. We reserve water in plastic jugs for those days without running water. Abram says if ever we build or buy our own place we will definitely put in a water storage system.
    Hope that you soon have water flowing freely!
    Ruth Hanson

  5. I've been through that! Sounds like you're talking about us (the week Bro. Horton was here!!!!). But...I can promise you that you'll look back on these days as some of the best! And it makes you more grateful for the magic of turning on the faucet and...WATER....BLESSED WATER!

    I love you. Hang in there. We are praying for you!


  6. Of course the water went out on the weekend of the big wedding! Pefect timing, huh?

    I love that the villiage has access to clean water from your well. And you offer them living water, too! So thankful for your family!!

  7. I enjoyed your newest blog entry. I guess I can relate a little. :o) We were also out of water for 3 1/2 days last week. We are very fortunate to live in a neighborhood where we actually "own" our own wells. This means that we don't have to wait for water trucks to come every couple days to refill our tanks like many people have to. It also means that we don't have to use regular city water. However, they do have to clean our tanks every 6-8 weeks or so. When they do this, we have no water until they are finished and BELIEVE ME...Guatemalans take their precious time!! haha!

  8. A few months ago while they were cleaning the tanks, a piece of heavy equipment accidentally fell into the well and cracked it. We didn't have water for 10 days because they had to remove the damaged tank and put in a new one. :-O Yes, I also am very thankful for my running water. ;o) I was so thankful for the rain last week while we were out of water because I was able to set some 5-gallon buckets under the edge of the roof so that we could flush the stinky potties. ;o)

  9. I'm so sorry you were without water the night before the wedding. I pray three times a day for you, and when I do, I also ask the Lord to help you not to run out of water, and for your electricity to go off.

    Jolene, I'm excited about seeing your next blog about the wedding. I was trying to describe to Anna how you arranged the veil, while the groom was waiting for her.

    I love you.
    Nahum 1:7

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Thank you for your encouraging comments! "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." Proverbs 25:25