Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A true story by Helen Roseveare, Missionary

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator). We also had no special feeding facilities. 

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. 

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). 

'And it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in  Central Africa  it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways. 

'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts Your job is to keep the baby warm.'

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died. 

During prayer time, one ten -year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.' While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?' As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen?' I just did not believe that God could do this. 

Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. 

Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator! 

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored.. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the......could it really be? 
I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!' 
Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?'

'Of course,' I replied!

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. 
And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon.'

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive.
There is no cost, but a lot of rewards.
Let's continue praying for one another.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Autumn in Colorado

It is autumn in Colorado and this is the first year that I have had the opportunity to really take the time and enjoy the scenery. Rebecca and I took off after church on October 3rd and did a road trip down south - in her convertible. It was absolutely the most amazing, perfect time of the year to see the color changes. We returned on October 7th.

We drove from Denver to Montrose - Sunday, to Durango - Monday, to Blanding Utah - Tuesday, then back to Glenwood Springs - Wednesday, and back to Denver on Thursday morning. We were back in time to have lunch, get the bulletin done and attend staff meeting.

Switzerland America in Ouray

We took the Million Dollar Highway from Montrose to Durango - spectacular! And, on this beautiful highway we had a 20 minute delay for road work. Not a big problem we took lots of pictures.

As we left Blue Mesa Lake we had not picked up speed yet when a deer ran across the road in front of us. After stopping to look at us he went over the embankment. I jumped out of the car to get a picture. When I started to get back in the car it was rolling so I just shut the door. That is when I noticed that we were on the road - there was no shoulder. We were blocking traffic - including a police car. He waved everyone to go around us and came up on my side of the car. He wanted to know if we had a problem so I just blurted out that a deer ran in front of us. He asked if we hit - no. Were we okay - yes. And then I said "I just wanted to take a picture of it." He told us to be careful and not to stop on this section to take any more pictures.

We spent the day in Mesa Verde seeing the Indian dwellings. We had lunch in the park and actually cooked out on Rebecca' little cook stove. We had Salmon, corn on the cob, apple dumplings. What a great lunch. In fact, we only at out one time during the four days. Two of the places we stayed did serve breakfast so we took advantage of that.

Utah was breathtaking. Pictures and more pictures. The only problem is that pictures do not do this beauty justice. There was just so much to see in our short trip that it is hard to tell about all of it. This is the longest time that I have been in a car since before I got sick. I had a wonderful time but I have to admit that I was exhausted once I got back.

Thank you God, for the beauty around me everywhere,
The gentle rain and glistening dew, the sunshine and the air,
The joyous gift of feeling the soul's soft, whispering voice
That speaks to me from deep within and makes my heart rejoice.
~~Helen Steiner Rice