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Pause for Thought - Sunday 16th May 2021

We have had numerous opportunities over the past few days to moan about the weather, but our land has needed rain, for the crops, and for the farms.

I have rejoiced in the rainfall here as I have been praying for the farmers and the land I know and love around Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape and Karoo of South Africa which is in an arid to semi-arid desert climate.

The Karoo is prone to wide variations in temperature and little to no rainfall. The average rainfall of 190mm/7.5in per year is subject to long periods of drought. Despite recent welcome rains, the Eastern Cape remains the “worst hit” province by the persistent drought that has gripped SA since 2015 which has a dire effect on human settlements, water and sanitation.

Residents in Graaff-Reinet, home to 40,000 people, say their taps ran dry last year. Some residents get water for a limited period per day. “Part of the town is still declared a water drought area. Graaff-Reinet received 28mm from recent rains, but that didn’t contribute much,” said an acting spokesperson. The Nqweba dam level is at less than 8% capacity. It is the main source of water for the town. “Water demand exceeds supply.

The current supply is 2.9 megalitres per day, yet we need a minimum supply of 8 megalitres per day,” she said. "That is a massive shortfall." Six months ago, ‘Gift of Givers’ arrived with water trucks, they also drilled nine boreholes in Graaff-Reinet. They drilled another borehole at the towns Midland hospital, where the situation was dire. At present they are providing water to some clinics, schools, and ordinary people. The municipality of the town has been accused of failing to secure the Nqweba dam, resulting in vandals stealing its infrastructure. “Even if the dam is 100% full, it will lose lots of water through vandalism of its pumps and pipes.

This is making residents angry and frustrated.” Abader one spokesperson said there was 24-hour security at the dam, but there had been vandalism of the pumps. “Unfortunately, just recently the security team on site was assaulted and robbed,”. Vandals then damaged the pumps. (This article was originally published on GroundUp News).

In Kings 8:35-36 we read “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and give praise to your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people (Israel). Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance.

The Christians in Graaff-Reinet meet regularly to pray for repentance and for rain. (I was privileged to be a part of this gathering 2 years ago when I last visited) Last year GRAAFF-REINET NEWS reported: Residents, churches and organisations were invited again to an inter-church event next to the Nqweba Dam on Saturday 31 August to pray for forgiveness, God’s mercy and rain as they again claimed the area again for God’s blessing and mission.

This coming week in your prayers could you offer up a prayer for rain for the areas that need it most and thank God for our good and fertile land.

Stay safe and take care. With my love and prayers. Rev Pat

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