International Ministries

God’s Hand of Blessing

November 8, 2004 Journal
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India has been called the Land of Contrasts.This is especially true in the weather!We wrote to some of you during the month of August – how desperate we were for rain.There was no water left in the town reservoir to provide for the people; the township was supplying running water to municipal faucets for 2 hours, once every 2 weeks!Now it is November, the monsoon has arrived and the rains have been good so far.We have just spent the last week completely socked in with fog and constant drizzle, and occasional downpours.The rain gauge in our back yard has measured a total of 37 inches of rain for the months of September and October.That is just over 3 feet of water in 2 months – good thing we live on a mountaintop!

We would like to share a story about the monsoon weather and answered prayer.The Church of South India congregation in Kodaikanal (the CSI is the main protestant denomination in south India) decided to plant a new church in a neighboring town called Pakiapuram.It is a growing area, but there was no CSI church and the Christians who lived there walked an hour each way to attend the services in Kodaikanal on Sundays as well as for the mid-week services.Construction began on a new church about 9 months ago.Many of the local believers provided the labor in the construction.We passed on a gift from an American Baptist Church to help with the purchase of corrugated tin sheets for the roof.When the construction was completed, the date of October 24th was set for the dedication.As you can guess from our rain totals for the month, we had been getting a good bit of rain, but on October 17th the meteorologists announced that the northeast monsoon had officially begun.Not good news to the members of the new church in Pakiapuram.The building was not a large one, and the dedication service was to include the founding members, the members of the parent church in Kodaikanal, plus many guests and neighbors.They were going to cook an outdoor meal of chicken biriyani to serve 2000 people!

Special prayers were held in the week before the dedication, asking God for a break in the rain.The pastor spent 7 days fasting and praying.They had to have a dry day on the 24th.On Saturday, the 23rd, it rained nearly all day with thick fog.The rain gauge had nearly 2 inches for the day.It rained on into the night and the electricity went out.When, at midnight, the church ladies finished the hours of chopping onions and grinding spices by candlelight, it was still raining.But as the dawn arrived, the rain stopped and the skies cleared.The ground dried as the sun shone down during an early service at the parent church in Kodaikanal.The march to the new church began at 11 am with blue skies and a bright sun.We joined the service of dedication shortly after noon.The sanctuary was filled solid with people sitting on mats on the floor.The fellowship hall was filled with more people watching the service on closed circuit TV.An usher brought us up to an outside balcony where it was standing room only and we could occasionally catch a glimpse into the side door of the sanctuary.What joy, what excitement, filled that place!God's hand of blessing so clearly upon them, giving witness to all around.

Before we left, our good friend and helper, Pushpa, found us in the crowd.She and her family are founding members of the church.She took us to over to the hillside beside the church where the celebration meal was being served and gave us each a plateful of biriyani.The crowds stood eating and sharing in the joy of the day.The sun continued to shine through the afternoon.At 6 P.M. the clouds rolled in and the rain began again.As I write this, the rain continues to beat on the tin roof above my head and the water drips into the buckets beside our bed.Glory to the Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth, maker of rain and sunshine!

Betsy Perkins