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When God Healed a Windmill
In the desert region of northwestern Kenya, water is liquid gold. In some areas, windmills pump water from underground and thus are vital to the people of those areas.
The nomadic Turkana people relied on one such windmill near the little settlement of Lorengalup. It usually pumped about 625 gallons of groundwater per day, enough for almost a hundred people plus two or three herds of goats or camels. The Turkana women hauled water from the windmill to their huts every day in plastic jerricans atop their heads. The problem was, the windmill’s pump kept breaking down.
Missionaries Randy and Edie Nelson had served in that area for nine years and had spent much of that time fixing the windmill, always managing to get it up and spinning again. But in the early fall of 1989, the Turkana women noticed the water level dropping in the covered cement tank next to the windmill. Water normally flowed up from the 125-foot pump shaft through a length of two-inch galvanized pipe into the storage tank. But when Randy took the lid off the tank, he saw a mere trickle dribbling from the pipe. Then the water stopped completely.
Randy radioed missionary colleague Bob Chapman to come help replace the suction-cup gaskets inside the pump, a procedure they had performed several times before. But this failed to solve the problem.
They tried other ideas; nothing worked. Time to call in extra help and equipment.
Randy radioed Mike Harris, the Kenyan contractor who had built the windmill in 1980. With a mechanic at his side, Mike flew to Lorengalup in his small plane, bringing along a large hand-driven winch to solve the problem. Now four men were working on the pump, but eventually Mike concluded, “The
whole pump will have to be replaced”, and he agreed to get a new one.
Randy and Bob put the broken pump back in place so they would know exactly how to piece it all together when the new pump arrived. Then they waited. Two days later Mike called, saying he couldn’t locate a new pump, so the Nelsons drove to Nairobi to see what they could find there. Before Randy left, he climbed the thirty-foot-tall metal support frame of the windmill to shut down the fiberglass
blade. More damage could result if the mechanism continued to pump dry.
Randy scouted everywhere in Nairobi without success. Finally he ordered a pump from the United
States, though he knew it would take a long time to arrive. He resigned himself to the thought that the Turkana people would be without water for a while.
When the Nelsons returned to Lorengalup, however, Randy saw that the windmill blades were spinning. He was disturbed. Some kids must have been fiddling with the chain that shuts down the blades, he thought.
As they approached their home, a young man ran up, shouting, “The windmill- it’s pumping water
The Nelsons were skeptical, but the young man continued, “A couple days after you left, about a dozen women decided to pray for the windmill, just as you’ve been teaching us to pray for the sick. They figured if God can heal bodies, why not a broken windmill?”
In fact the young man told them, a group of Turkana women had surrounded the windmill, laid their hands on it, and prayed for its repair: Within two hours, a strong wind arose and struck the windmill squarely. Somehow the metal chain broke, the tail unfolded into the wind, and the blades began to twirl with abandon. Someone went to check the water storage tank and discovered fresh water now pouring out of the pipe. The women praised God for His dramatic answer to their prayers of faith.
Randy went to the windmill to see for himself. He couldn’t understand how a broken pump that did not seal could possibly pull water out of the ground. But the windmill continued pumping water. When the new pump arrived from the States, the flow of the old pump stopped.
Today the region hosts well over a thousand nomadic Turkana believers, most of whom have heard how the God who rules the universe has no trouble healing a windmill.
R. Rachelle Page Acts
from the book 100 Amazing Answers to Prayer