MOUNT ZION — Cleda Perkins of Decatur carried an umbrella Tuesday in hopes that her prayers for rain would be answered.
Unfortunately, Perkins did not need the umbrella, as the wait for meaningful rainfall in the Decatur area continues. Perkins, as with the others who gathered for a nondenominational prayer service at the Mount Zion Lions Club Center, is hoping the power of prayer will help in what is turning into a desperate situation without rain for farmers and others around the country.
“We’re in trouble this year,” Perkins said. “I want people to gather together to pray. We want more people to pray.”
The 45-minute gathering was a way for about 100 people to come together to do something most of them already have been doing on their own, said Kate Pyle, a chaplain at Decatur Memorial Hospital.
“This gives them a chance to see others are in the same boat with them,” Pyle said. “They are hungry for reassurance things will work out in the end. It will rain again. It has to.”
Pyle said that according to the Bible, water is such a necessity that it was among the first things God provided when the earth was created, even before soil. The absence of rain this year is showing just how necessary water remains.
“The thing about weather is it reminds us we’re not in control,” said Mike Adams, an agricultural radio talk show host and pastor in the Jacksonville area. “It’s a good thing we don’t have control of the weather or if the government was in control of it, what a mess that would be. He will send us rain when he sees fit.”
The drought has served as a reminder of that higher level of control, Adams said. Hanging on to faith is important until relief comes, he said.
“This drought seems like it has been going on a long time,” Adams said. “Nowhere in the Bible says faith should have a statute of limitations.”
Adams said the turnout was great for an event no one wished was taking place. Nevertheless, event organizer Stu Ellis felt it was important to show what resources are available to provide help and comfort to those the drought has impacted.
The implications have become far-reaching and help from above is needed, Ellis said. Not only are farm fields dry and crops wiped out, Ellis said resources, such as Lake Decatur, are drying up.
The lake is the main water source for residents and businesses in places such as Decatur and Mount Zion.
At this point, Ellis said rain will not help this year’s corn crop, but it is needed to save any chance that remains for soybeans and to help the recovery in the years ahead.
Levi Yoder, who farms near Lovington, has kept his faith while watching two wells dry up and cracks develop in the fields. Yoder realizes what’s happening in Central Illinois fields will affect lives around the world.
“It affects so many people, and it affects people in other countries,” Yoder said. “A lot of countries suffer if we do not have a good crop of corn and soybeans.”
Adams said those in the farming community have been aware of the drought’s onset before others realized the seriousness of the situation.
“It’s a serious drought when nonfarmers are concerned about it,” Adams said. “Rain should not be taken for granted. We should be appreciative of what we have and trust he will provide us in his time.”