A fly buzzed around Tewini as though he were already dead. A bad memory of a recent visit to the hospital morgue flashed through my mind. I shooed the fly away, determined to do all I could with God’s help to save this man’s life.
Tewini had been carried in a hammock by several men for about three hours over the steep mountain trails. He was a pitiful sight as he arrived at the hospital. He was screaming and fighting, and it took eight or nine people to hold him down before the nurses could start an IV and run tests. He had hypoxic encephalopathy secondary to severe anemia secondary to probable malaria. His hemoglobin, the protein in the blood that carries oxygen, was only 3 g/dl—far below the normal 13.5-17.5. His brain wasn’t getting enough oxygen, so he was very confused and acting like a two-year-old. He kept pulling off his oxygen mask. His oxygen saturation level, normally 95% to 100%, kept dropping—87%, 77%, 66%. Two of his relatives and I held his arms so he couldn’t pull the mask off, and, praise the Lord, his oxygen went back up to the 90s. The nurses started a blood transfusion—the first of five units. All the rest of that night, his two relatives and I wrestled with him to keep his oxygen on. And we prayed.
As Sabbath morning dawned, Tewini’s condition began to stabilize. Later that day, his father, Mami, came to stay with him. Long before we launched to Palawan, I had read about Mami in AF articles and begun praying that he would open his heart to Christ. Now I got to pray with him in person for his son who was on death’s door. I did not know how to pray in the Palawano language, but Minan (Leonda George) taught me to say, “Mengingkad ku” (“I pray”).
I rejoiced as I watched Tewini begin to recover. As I visited him and Mami in the hospital, we had more time to talk. Mami taught me Palawano words, and we laughed together as I struggled to make the new sounds. When Tewini was discharged from the hospital, I prayed with them again, praising God for the miracle He had worked in Tewini’s life. The next day, Tewini returned to the mountains to finish his recovery at home.
To my surprise and delight, the next thing I heard about Tewini was that, within a week or two of his hospital discharge, he had come to work at our Mountain View Farm! When I visited him there, he greeted me with a big smile. Our God is so good.
Please keep Tewini, Mami and their family in your prayers. Mami’s brother, Mentapang, told one of my fellow missionaries just last week that faith is taking root in Mami’s heart. I’m thankful that Jesus promised that if we have faith even as small as a mustard seed, it will move mountains (Matt. 17:10).