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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Africa (03/05/09)

TITLE: Tracking Down His Mission
By Lyn Ruth


Dr. Dan rushed to the village. The dawn was breaking but the mountain trail was still very dark. He could feel the rough, sharp stones under the soles of his sneakers. He badly needed a new pair yet he didn't consider this a priority. What mattered at the moment was to reach the people in the community across the river. Pedro, his assistant, had woken him up from his light sleep to tell him that a certain outbreak was making the populace very sick.

Just last night, Dr. Dan had tended a new born baby whose mother died during childbirth. The father was emotionally torn and unable to face his new obligation. The baby was whining throughout the evening, perhaps yearning for the warm breasts of her mother. When old Anita finally took over the caring of the infant, Dr. Dan was able to take a short nap. However, the urgent call of Pedro roused him up immediately. Regardless of the slight headache that would have made him stay in bed for a few more minutes, Dr. Dan hurried to face his obligation.

At the village, Dr. Dan was shocked to see a number of children and some elderly afflicted with the disease. They were nauseated, with most of them vomiting. They had very high fever. They were complaining of acute pain in the stomach, severe discomfort in the forehead, in the inner-side of the eyes, as well as soreness of the muscles and joints. The appearance of small raised spots on their chests and arms were very visible. Their skin colors were yellowish and somewhat sticky. One of them was already showing signs of hemorrhage.

"Dengue fever", Dr. Dan whispered to himself. "This could be fatal". At once, he instructed Pedro to gather all the able-bodied men and women to assist. "We need lots of help", he explained. It was impossible to get all the necessary medicines, especially dextrose bottles. That would take many hours of travel into town and back. He would send Pedro on the trip. In the meantime, Dr. Dan had to give them first aid treatment.

As soon as Dr. Dan had his small group of "health workers", he briefed them on how to make homemade remedies and how to administer them to the patients. Papaya plants were in abundance. The raw papaya leaves were to be cleaned, pounded and squeezed with filter cloth. The juice extracted from the leaves would serve as antidote. Herbal tea and porridge were readied to relieve hunger. He also told them to fetch gallons of drinking water, necessary for maintaining the body's water balance and for the preparation of wet pads to be used if the temperature was high.

Dr. Dan and his team attended to the sick all throughout the day and night. Finally, the situation was under control though the danger was not yet over. Dr. Dan sat on a rock and rested his weary back against a tree. It was a starry night. He looked up the sky, took a deep breath as he remembered the day he graduated top of his class from a medical school in Australia. His mentors had invited him to work in some of the best hospitals in the country. He had declined the offer, preferring to serve as a rural doctor in the mountains and jungles of Africa. His family and friends were disappointed with his decision. It was their opinion that his skills and years of studies were going to be wasted.

The dawn was breaking again. From afar, Dr. Dan could see the outline of Pedro's broad physique against the fading light of the moon. He was running up the dune carrying bags of medical supplies. Tears filled his eyes. He was well aware that his work here was not going to be easy. But his heart felt so much love for these beautiful black people. No, his skills and years of studies were not wasted at all.

This was his mission, his calling. It was a commitment he was bound to fulfill because it was a pledge he had made with the Great Doctor. He smiled contentedly knowing that the Divine Physician had chosen him to look after His children in Africa. For Dr. Dan, this was the best opportunity of a lifetime.

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This article has been read 443 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Christina Banks 03/12/09
Wonderful story. Too many people view missionary service as a waste of talent. Thank you for sharing this doctor's heart.
Sharon Laughter03/12/09
I loved learning about the affliction and how it was dealt with. Well written!
Sharon Kane03/13/09
You did a great job of capturing the emotions of dealing with an emergency with limited resources. Dr. Dan came across as a strong character with a real love for the Lord and for people.
Lynn Jacky 03/13/09
hi - I like your writing - good story - your made Dr. Dan a strong character. thanks for sharing.
Karlene Jacobsen03/16/09
Well-written story of this missionary doctor. His love for the people and passion to serve God were displayed well. I liked how you showed that his family and friends thought his training would be wasted in the jungles of Africa, but he felt that's where his training could be best used.
Good writing.
Deborah Porter 03/25/09
Hi Lyn. Just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know your entry, "Tracking Down His Mission," actually did very well in the Africa Challenge. Although you didn't receive an award, you made it into the Highest Rankings for Level 1, placing 7th in that Level. Competition in Level 1 is always very intense, so well done.

If you'd like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards.

Again, well done. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)