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...and the rains came down
 
It was August 1984, I was on a campsite near Hamburg in Germany and memories return, vivid memories of the rain pouring down, and groups of young people gathered huddled in tents exchanging gifts brought from all around Europe. This is a true story that starts in one of them.
And the rains came down and the floods came up
And the rains come down and the floods came up
And the rains came down and the floods came up
But the tents on that camp stood firm
Gifts were exchanged as we sat in a circle, I still have mine given to me from a young lady from Kirkcaldy in Scotland.
It came to the last pair to exchange, a lady and a young man from Southsea in England.
I’d travelled with this young man, from London, by train, by boat and on a stormy sea, his name was Jonathan.
The young lady handed over her gift but then looking sad, embarrassed and disappointed Jonathan pulled from his pocket a piece of oil and grime covered rock gathered from a railway siding when we were waiting for our final train to take us to our destination. As Jonathan handed it over, he however spoke of how it represented his life. 
He said that he had come from a good Christian family, he was a youth leader and well respected by many of his peers, but he was ashamed of many things he had done in his life including shoplifting, stealing cars, taking drugs, drinking heavily and when not at the church being the good leader everyone thought he was, he was hanging out with people who continued to lead him astray. 
And the rain came down even more heavily and tears began to flow from the young lady he had given the rock too and she left the tent, and it all went quiet apart from the rain, but her return was to signal a life event that I event I could never forget.
She sat down next to Jonathan, handed back the rock, saying I’ve cleaned it, I’ve washed off the dirt and the oil, all the wrong and the foolishness you’ve done have gone.
The tears from his eyes flowed, they flowed like the water now entering the tent; the group gathered around Jonathan and as he broke down, we all broke down and the rain at this time just stopped. Within minutes the sun began to shine, it was about midday, it got hot very quickly that afternoon and as everyone started to dry out and lunch was over, it was time to explore the beautiful woodland and the scenery around.
Nearby there was a lake and with the temperatures now in the 90’s, it became the place to be, a beautiful lake in a beautiful setting but it was not long before this idyllic location was to become one of panic and frenzy. 
I remember setting off down the path to the lake and through the trees I could see 2 people, their arms waving in the air, almost a beckoning call to just come and join in the fun.
5 minutes later, I arrived at the lakes edge, but there was an eerie feeling, there was panic, worried faces and just 1 person in the lake waving their arms but frantically.
I don’t remember anymore until being back on the campsite, it must have been 4 o’clock, it was so quiet, the news was spreading that someone had gone missing and may have drowned in the lake. No one bothered with tea that night and then just as quickly as the rain had stopped earlier in the day it started just as quickly again
And the rains came down and the floods came up
And then it was confirmed, a body had been found. It was Jonathan.
And the rains came down but around the campsite despite groups from over 15 countries in Europe being present all speaking in very different languages, prayers and songs could be heard, and it sounded like an orchestra in perfect unison.
And the rain came down and the wind blew but it continued long into the night and then the rains stopped, the winds stopped blowing; there was an indescribable calm and a unity like no other I’ve ever witnessed since.
I’d known this song that had been a Sunday school favourite of mine as a child, but this day was to become the true meaning of this text.
And the rains came down and the floods came up
And the rains came down and the floods came up
And the rains came down and floods came up
But the house on the rock stood firm
~~~~~~~~
For Jonathan:
A little poem
(With a very BIG meaning)

There is a little country
And in that little country,
There is a little town
And in that little town,
There is a little hill
And on that little hill,
There stands a little wood
And in that little wood,
There is a little tree
And under that little tree,
A little church was built
And in that little church,
There sits a little boy
And the little boy,
He holds a little toy
But on that little toy,
There lives a little flea
And on that little flea,
There lives a little bug.
The little bug, it bit the little boy
And from the little bite he died,
But the little boy,
He had a little faith in God
And now lives in a very BIG way.
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