Coming Up Dry: Discouragement is a Matter of Perspective

“It’s a dry hole” Terry said when we checked for water on Saturday. Those words stung a little when they reached my ears. We had spent five laborious, painful days drilling through hard rock to make that hole. It was an experimental hole after all, a 50/50 shot, but I was so hopeful to have a clear, cool reward at the end.

Later that evening we relaxed with Terry and his family around the dinner table soaking up their wealth of wisdom from over 20 years spent on the mission field. While serving in Western Africa and Bolivia Terry Waller was faced constantly with the extreme need for clean water among the people he served. Through many years of trial and error he developed a simple, low-cost method of drilling wells, but more importantly he learned to use it as a means to truly transform the lives of those he served. That’s what we are here to learn.

Today I worked in the shop fabricating pump parts and drilling tools. The repetition of the tasks gave me a chance to process our first week of training. Now that the pain has left my joints and my sore muscles have relaxed I realize that digging that “dry hole”, as disappointing as it was, was the best training opportunity that Terry could have given me. He knows where the water is on this property. We could have dug five easy wells in the time it took to dig that one hole, but I wouldn’t have learned half as much. Every foot deeper posed new obstacles and problems to overcome and I learned something new as we overcame each one. In the end I got my reward. It wasn’t the water I had hoped for but in this case something much more valuable.



  1. You’re right, all about perspective. I’m SOOO excited about what you guys are learning and the fruits of your labor, by God’s blessing in the years to come in Ethiopia!!! Cannot wait!

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