Elder Thompson and I were to embark on a mission within our mission. We received word that one of our youthful church members, Andile in the Umtata Branch, decided to go less active with the statement “There is no God.”
Unknown to me at the time, Andile possesses the ability to manipulate people into saying and doing just about anything he perceived that person to be capable of doing.
After a while, Elder Thompson’s countenance changed from pleading to knowing smile. I thought he had given up prompting me to try harder to convince Andile of his error, invoking his memory to when he first joined the church and asked God if it was true—being he was one of two members of a family of at least six. I could not fathom his reason for not believing in God. I became desperate and did a no-no.
I shared a SACRED EXPERIENCE! It was my last ditch effort to stop the flood of apostasy. I determined that Andile was the most influential youth in the Branch. The sun rose and set on his word when it came to affecting the youth—as far as I knew.
After my Sacred Experience, a hush came that was unexpected. From the look on Andile’s face, I thought I had finally reached him, and I did—just not in the way that I intended.
I said too much. He was shaken visibly and said that he would not ever play around like that again. Elder Thompson agreed that he should not do anything like that, and had little opinion of my Sacred Experience.
We spoke for a few moments afterwards and prepared to leave. Of course, rain started falling in torrents. I mean, what else would happen to two missionaries rushing off to the next appointment?
With the moment, Elder Thompson suggested we pray for the rain to stop so we could leave. I felt a bit skeptical, but agreed to participate. Elder Thompson led the prayer. He said words to this effect: “…And we ask Thee that Thou would stop the rain until we return to our boarding….” Amazingly, we three astonished people viewed the land to find the rain had stopped instantly.
Elder Thompson stood humbly as we acknowledged God’s hand in this. Elder Thompson and I went on our way actually rejoicing that God heard his plea.
Our journey home was too great to chance getting wet and tardiness to our next appointment—a dinner appointment. Vibrantly and surrealistically, we walked through the neighborhood; well at least I traveled that way. The colors seemed so unreal to me. Something about the entire journey appeared, well foreboding.
We rounded the last turn to our boarding down a slightly steep hill of a street, Sakwe St. We triumphantly walked down the center of the road thinking elements obey our whim!
How blessed were we. In view of our boarding came a sound of rushing…. In the movie, ‘A Bug’s Life, there is a scene when the ants have finally triumphed over the grasshoppers. In the midst of their celebration comes the bugs’ common nemesis, rainwater—hard and heavy in humongous drops of "we’re-going-to-be-late-now's!"
Honestly, we were 20 meters from our front porch when the hand that stayed the flood of rain, removed—our suits getting soaked. We walked into the yard and as we approached the door, the rain stopped automatically and instantly a beautiful rainbow appeared as if God said, “Oops, did I get you wet? Here is a rainbow, sorry.”
Elder Thompson and I just laughed. He said, “Well, we did ask him to stop the rain until we got to our boarding, not in our boarding.” Apparently, with all the energy in exhorting Andile and all the walking caused us to work-up a sweat.
We needed a shower; and looking out for us, as He tends to do, God saw we would only take one if he provided it. We completely changed our clothes, and I mean all the way to the birthday suit. We were drenched as if pushed in a pool. God does answer prayers and showers us with blessings, literally. I miss the rains down in Africa!