Our "Empty" Tank


It wasn’t good news. We had just begun our medical missionary service at Ile-Ife Adventist Hospital in Nigeria when we learned that water would be released to our home only every few days due to a drought and electricity shortage. 

We knew that our full tank of water needed to last as long as possible and started conserving in ways we’d never thought feasible. Showers became bucket baths—scooping water from a bucket with a cup, pouring just enough on our bodies to get slightly wet, lathering quickly, and then barely rinsing. Dishwashing was done in a large bowl with soapy water that was then recycled to flush toilets that had more than a little in them. And the rinse water from a load of wash was drained into a plastic container to be used for the next load. 

After several days, we became a little nervous about our situation. Most of our neighbors had empty tanks and were hauling water from some distance. But, amazingly, after ten days our tank continued to provide us with the precious liquid of life. 

Then the morning came when water spewed from the pipe into our tank, and we rejoiced. Water! I turned on the pump to fill our tank and ran to tell our neighbors not to miss this wonderful opportunity. Gail Giebel, seasoned missionary of ten years, met me at the door and echoed my excitement. We walked over to her tank but noticed that her pipe was not receiving any water. 

“I’ll go talk to the maintenance department,” she said. “I hope this doesn’t mean one of the pipes is broken.” 

I walked back home, hoping they could fix Gail’s problem quickly. A few minutes later, I was surprised to hear the sound of falling water. I ran outside to find that our tank was overflowing! I turned off the pump, startled by the record speed at which the tank had filled. 

I looked up and saw Gail walking into our yard. “Belen, you are experiencing a miracle!” she said excitedly. “The maintenance department is not releasing water, and your house is the only one on the compound receiving it, even though all the pipes are connected.”

I felt a cold rush down my back and goose bumps on my skin as I pondered her words. I felt immense gratitude, though I couldn’t understand why we were the only ones to experience this. There were many times in our five years in Nigeria when our compound had a shortage of water and we ran out. But God knew that had we run out that first difficult month, with our two-year-old daughter and one-year-old son and far from family and friends, we may have felt overwhelmed and thought about going home.

In the Old Testament, people sometimes gave God a special name to remind them of His intervention in their lives. Hagar did so after being sent into the desert by Sarah. When she was visited by the Angel of the Lord, she called Him “The-God-Who-Sees” because He had seen her pain. Through our water miracle, we too would give God a name.

We called Him “The-God-Who-Fills-Our-Tank” because He provided for our every need. When things get difficult, we remember this amazing experience and are reminded that our Lord is an awesome, faithful, and all-knowing God who won’t let us be tempted beyond what we can endure. 

Belen Lohr and her husband, Jason, graduated in 2001 from Loma Linda University Medical School in California and later specialized in family medicine. They served as medical missionaries for five years at Ile-Ife Adventist Hospital in Nigeria and two years at Valle De Angeles Adventist Hospital in Honduras. 

Your weekly mission offerings and world budget offerings help support more than 455 missionary families around the world. Thank you!

Lohr family

Jason and Belen with Michaela (6) and Joshua (5). 


To view more pictures for this article and to read more articles visit http://www.adventistmission.org/mission360mag 

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