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Milford 2  The church youth group was on its way from Burlington, Iowa, to Colorado for some camping, rafting, horseback riding, and other mountain-loving activities cherished by flatlanders. We stopped to camp on our first night at Milford State Park in central Kansas and set up on a gentle slope overlooking the lake. During the night a five-inch deluge left our campground looking like stacks of cast-off clothing after a flood. One of our teenage campers was heard saying, “If I had a bus ticket I’d be on my way home now.” Old hands at camping, of which we had only a few, said, “There, there, now, in a day or two, when we’ve had a chance to dry out, everything will look brighter.”
We had rain every day except one. Mostly we got used to it and adapted, using coin-operated laundries when necessary, and learning how to set up tents so the contents would stay dry…mostly. Every major activity that we planned, including the rafting, we got to enjoy without the rain’s interference. When rafting, the first thing we learn anyway is that we get wet. We read Psalms each morning and evening, and several passages claimed that God was in charge of the clouds and the rain. That made us wonder a bit about the messages we were getting.
We also read Ezekiel 34:26 about the “showers of blessing” God brings. The Gospel song of course came to mind. The trip proceeded as smoothly as any we had planned, either for service or for fellowship. No vehicles broke down. Everyone cooperated with few moments of tension. We kept the schedule of reservations and plans for each day. We covered 2500 miles in nine days. The showers kept us on our toes, depending on God to provide, which God did, as far as we were concerned. Getting wet unintentionally and getting wet purposely didn’t make much difference after a while.
When we got home to Iowa we found that Iowa was dry as a bone. Until the end of August it remained so. Somehow the field crops continued to grow, with just enough moisture to keep going. One of the congregation’s farmers, Don Thie, came dripping wet into the first fall choir rehearsal, and he said, “Since I prayed for rain, I guess I should learn to carry an umbrella.”
We also found that, while we were on the road, one of the church members, Chuck Murray, had installed a shower in our basement restroom, so that our overnighters, drop-in-travelers, service project workers, runners, and any other sweaty folks would have a convenient place to clean up.
So we began the fall season that year with dozens of plans that we hoped would recharge and enhance the life of our community, and we sang the old song with renewed hope, “Showers of blessing; showers of blessings we need; mercy drops ‘round us are falling, but for the showers we plead.”