13 Months of Sunshine

Dawit and I are sitting on the porch this morning at the close of another beautiful week. The sun is slowly making it’s way to the tree tops as it paints an ever changing portrait of golden green against a bright blue canvas. The gentle breeze ripples through the leaves causing a million flecks of glitter to swirl through the woods. Dawit is sleeping peacefully in his swing. and the dogs are loafing in the shifting drops of sunlight that make it through the canopy. With warm sunny days and clear cool nights, early fall in North Carolina can be heaven on earth. The weatherman expects this to change to showers tonight. Indeed, as the sun brightens the sky to the east, clouds are slowly darkening it to the west.

One of the pleasant aspects of our work in Ethiopia is the weather. This is excluding the rainy season and the lowlands, of course. All of our projects are in the highlands. For at least nine months of the year we can expect warm sun during the day and a slight chill at night, much like we’ve enjoyed in NC this week.  The tourism posters for Ethiopia that boast of “13 months of sunshine” speak the truth,  due in part for the weather and in part for their unusual calendar. This perpetually “perfect” weather certainly makes Ethiopia a great place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

Ethiopia is the one place in the world where the weatherman is correct 99% of the time. Rain comes in one season. The rains last from mid-June through mid-September, by our calendar. A years worth of rain comes in just 3 months, it is a deluge worthy of Noah.  This is their only chance to make food. Once the sun returns it will stay until the next year. If the rains fail, that’s it, there is no second chance.

The rain failed in southern Ethiopia this year. Instead of amber waves of grain they have fields of dust. The people of Chencha, where our agricultural project is located, should be preparing for the barley harvest next month, but there’s little to prepare for this year.

What we often fail to realize is that it is the rain that makes the sun so glorious. Without the rain there would be no trees to tame the golden rays and there would be no leaves to dance in the autum wind. Without the rain the sun becomes a burden. We have the luxury of taking the rain for granted. We teach our kids to sing “rain, rain go away” and we curse the skies when our cookouts and family reunions get rained out, but we fail to realize how useless a cookout would be with nothing to cook. It is the rain that makes the corn and the watermelon so sweet. Perpetual sunshine makes a desert.

God sends the sun and God sends the rain. Let’s praise Him for both and pray for those who have too much of one or the other. When dark skies threaghten your next cookout just slice open that watermelon and remember who gave it and why it is so sweet. 

“He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” Acts 14:17

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Halleluiah, Amen!

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