The little boy lay limply in its mother’s arms on death’s doorstep. The family had heard that the missionaries had powerful medicine, but when they arrived in our village, they found that I was the only missionary home. My parents were gone on a month-long trip. We were phasing out of our completed AFM project among the Alangan, and my dad was transitioning to his new role as an AFM field director. I had stayed behind in our village to keep working on school.
I was just a teenager back then, but my mom had taught me many principles of medical diagnosis and treatment. I was running the clinic, and it was immediately apparent to me that this little boy would probably not leave my front porch alive. Poring through our diagnostic books, I selected the most likely diagnosis, gave the parents the appropriate medicine, and prayed over the dying little boy. With hardly a word, they turned and walked away, leaving me to pray that I had chosen the medicine correctly, that it wasn’t too late, and that God would intervene. I never heard from those parents again.
I had completely forgotten about that day 15 years ago. That is, until two nights ago. I am teaching a baptismal class right now for a group of Tawbuid who want to become Christians. One of my candidates is an Alangan young man whom I inadvertently introduced to his Tawbuid wife when I took her and a group of believers to an Alangan camp meeting two years ago. The couple moved back here to Balangabong, and when I started teaching the baptismal class, he joined immediately.
That evening before class, he told me a story. It was the story of how, as a child, he had nearly died. His parents had taken him to the missionaries but were disappointed to find only their teenage son. His parents hadn’t held out much hope, but he had recovered miraculously. Through the years, as his parents told him the story over and over, he knew that someday he must devote his life to the God of that missionary kid, if only he could find him. Now, all these years later, God had brought us back together, and he knew it was time to keep that pledge. It was time for him to become a believer.