I recently traveled from Oregon to Oklahoma for the wedding of my oldest niece. The contrast between the two states was dramatic. In Oregon we have been blessed with the wettest spring in 71 years, allowing us to continue to enjoy lush green in the Willamette Valley. The Midwest however is languishing under much different circumstances.
From my window seat I took the opportunity to observe the change in landscape as the flight moved east. My flight took me from Portland to Denver, and after a short layover I flew into the Oklahoma City Airport. As we flew over Oklahoma, I saw what I first thought was a very muddy river. As I looked closer however, I realized much to my dismay, that what I was seeing was a dry river bed. As we landed in Oklahoma City I was greeted by over 100° heat compared to comfortable 80’s I left in western Oregon.
My niece makes her home in Stillwater which is to the northeast of Oklahoma City. As I drove I saw evidence of the drought all around me. What should have been fields of corn with ripening ears where nothing but yellow, dry stalks. The day of the wedding in Yukon Oklahoma was one to the hottest I have ever experienced, with the thermometer on my rental car registering 113° Fahrenheit.
Sunday July 29th I attended worship services of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with my brother’s family in Stillwater. If I hadn’t already realized the seriousness of the drought and associated heat wave, it was brought clearly to my attention as the Bishop of the Stillwater First Ward read a letter from the President of the Stillwater Oklahoma Stake.
The letter was a request to the members of the Church to pray for an end to the drought currently affecting the region. Specifically he requested them to make the appeal to end the drought as a part of their monthly fast that upcoming Sunday, August 5th. The first Sunday of each month members of the church, who are physically able are asked to abstain from food and water for an approximately 24 hour period and then make a free will donation to a fund for the poor. In addition to the donation to the poor, the fast also serves to bring one closer to God and in closer communication with Him.
The letter stuck me with its sincere and impassioned request to members of the church to call upon God’s power to bring the relief that they and their neighbors in the Midwest so desperately need. The effects of the drought have been felt by thousands of residents of the area. Hopefully the prayers of thousands will help bring the relief they desperately need.