Psalm 104:13 – “He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.” (NIV)
My home among the Hui is on the edge of the Gobi Desert, the largest desert in Asia with an area of 500,000 square meters. The weather is dry, and it rarely rains or snows. I come from a place in America that has a very similar climate so it was not a hard adjustment adapting to the physical environment. However most recently I lived in the Pacific Northwest where rain is much more common. Sometimes my spirit seems to match the environment in its dryness, and I long for rain to quench my thirst spiritually.
Luckily, we often have visitors, and it seems that they often bring rain with them. Both literal and figurative. Any time people from the Pacific Northwest come on a short-term trip it seems like the rain follows, as if they packed it with them, or sprinkled magic dust in the air to cause the moisture to form those beautiful harbingers of rain/sleet/snow/hail. This reminds me that the Lord provides rain and encouragement in seasons where we experience dryness in spirit.
I’ve experienced many days of feeling dry in spirit but often the Lord has used the encouragement from short-term teams to soothe and refresh my spirit. When my parents came to visit, it provided the emotional and spiritual refreshment my soul was craving. Their acknowledgment of my ability to communicate in a foreign language and to lead us through several cities encouraged me, at a time when I was struggling to understand why I was in China and if my language would ever enable me to have a full conversation with a local person.
Another short-term trip came specifically to help us host events. With their cheerful attitudes and willingness to help in any way they could, they also brought rain. We were so encouraged by their baking cookies for hours and their willingness to walk around the city praying for different people. We could sense the Lord brought them and was using them to reach beyond our abilities.
In the spring a different team came and they helped me engage the people I interact with daily. Many of my local peers attended some parties or met up with my overseas friends and heard the gospel for the first time. One student started attending a regular bible study and now has heard the gospel many times and has had his questions answered. Pray for Noah that he would trust in Jesus as his Savior.
Recently a team came to help with childcare for two retreats. This time as before, the sky grew dark and the rain fell their first day, bringing a break from the early summer heat and water to our parched desert landscape. The help with childcare was a huge blessing because it allowed all the parents freedom to engage with every team member. It blessed the children who got to hear Bible stories and make fun crafts and spend time with friends that they don’t get to see often. It was great for the kids to share day to day life with others that are in the same position they are. These kids live as foreigners in a foreign land that sometimes feels more like home than their passport country.
I know the impact of short-term trips because I came on a trip about 2 years ago and after that experience I decided to move to China and join in the work that I saw and experienced for less than a week. I felt God’s call so strongly that after a few prayers and conversations with wise people I knew He was calling me to come for a time, to go beyond praying for the Hui and live among them. Maybe the Lord is calling you to come on a short-term trip or for a longer season. Pray God will raise up more workers for the harvest. Because “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” Matthew 9:37.
He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.
They give water to all the beasts of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
The birds of the air nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.
He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
He makes the grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:
Wine that gladdens the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine,
and bread that sustains his heart.
The trees of the Lord are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted
There the birds make their nests;
the stork has its home in the pine trees.
The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.
Psalm 104:10-18 (NIV)