The Drought

The second downpour of the day is just letting up.  And if you asked me a week ago if I thought that a likely sentence for this particular Sunday, I would have shaken my head slowly, mournfully, dejectedly.  No – rain here is as unlikely now as snow is in Mexico.


(Photos by our friend Cassidy Isch –

Some of you have asked about our current drought (as a note, you can also pronounce and spell it “drouth” – who knew?) – so I thought this as good a time as any to fill you in on the details, specifically what you can be praying for in the weeks and months ahead.

That’s right – at this point, it’s looking like months more of little to no rain are in store for us here in Papua New Guinea.  Here’s what the meteorologists are saying:

“The El Nino should peak in late December before declining in the first quarter of 2016.”  – The Australian Bureau of Meteorology

“As we approach peak pumpkin spice latte season, we’re also closing in on the peak of the 2015-2016 El Niño.”  – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

(This last admission makes me envy lattes almost as much as rain…)

If you’re a chart person, this one might just the thing you’re looking for:


Apparently – and this is news to me – sea surface temperature is a pretty good measure of the scope of El Niños (Niñoes? Niñi?).  Right now, we’re about a third of the way into the current one, if things continue to go as the only other two in recent history have.  That means – we’re told – we shouldn’t expect this one to break until at least March.  March!  The meteorologists could be wrong, of course, but I see no reason to doubt them at this point, despite our wonderfully rainy day today.  (It was wonderful – any rain is met these days with glee – and Amanda and I were particularly gleeful today.)

Since we get our drinking water from rain, this isn’t the most welcome news to be getting just as November begins.  And since we get the rest of our water from a nearby river which is rapidly drying up, this news is certainly a source of daily stress for those of us in Ukarumpa.

But the most pressing concern is not for those of us who have to sacrifice daily showers and dustless air for half a year, its for our Papua New Guinean brothers and sisters who depend on the rain for food and for health.

Our haus meri and yard meri were just telling us this past week that their children don’t get breakfast anymore.  “Most days,” one told us, “we just send them to school with a cup of water in their stomachs.”  We help out where we can, with bags of rice and flour, but if the drought hasn’t even reached its peak yet, I can only imagine how much conditions will worsen for these fine folks who live off the dying land.

Do be in prayer with us for regular rain, for creative solutions to drought in this country, for friendship to prevail and not greed, and for this time of need to draw us and our neighbors toward God and not away from him.



4 thoughts on “The Drought

  1. (Accidentally sent other one too soon!) For the rain you have been getting; and we will keep praying that the predictions won’t come true! Is your cistern full? Love, Mrs frese

    Sent from my iPhone



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