/ / “Miracles”


The truck was loaded with food supplies for a region of The Belgian Congo that was experiencing devastating drought. Dr. Bob and his assistant/cook/mechanic were delayed by the weather which turned into a tropical storm. The lightening flashed continuously. The roar of the thunder was constant, The wind and rain threatened the buildings and the trees. Bob was both annoyed with the delay but also thankful that they had not started off early. They would have been in terrible trouble in the midst of the life threatening storm  The delay was really a miracle in disguise.  

Though the roads began to dry quickly and the new day was cloudless and quiet, it promised to be  a rough drive through deep puddles, washouts, fallen tree branches, and Congolese red mud. They made slow progress while bouncing from pothole to pothole. Without warning they heard a loud report from the back of the ’55 Dodge and noticed the left rear of the vehicle suddenly sag and bounce noisily like an old box cart on the prairie. On stopping and inspecting the problem, it was easy to tell that the main steel bar of the leaf spring had broken. It would be impossible to continue the journey.

Dr. Bob’s creative assistant assessed the situation with a Congolese eye, went into the jungle with his panga and came back in a few minutes with a stick from a tree that was especially durable and that flexed easily. They jacked up the truck, forced the stick into the space in the u bolt, lowered the truck and saw that the temporary fix was strong enough to keep the body of the truck from sitting directly on the frame. He was thankful that his assistant had come along. Bob thought again that he was experiencing a miracle. If he had gone by himself and had this mishap, he would not have known about this special tree that could temporarily fix the truck.  Otherwise he would have waited and waited until another truck happened by that could help him. Bob thought again that he had experienced a miracle.

The stick would not last long, they knew, on this rugged road. Dr. Bob, who had learned map reading during his stint in the Canadian army, discovered that they were only twenty kilometers from a small mission station, and he knew that the director of the mission was a dear friend. The truck limped unsteadily until it reached the compound and entered the gate. Before they came to a stop, Dr. Bob’s friend rushed out of the house and without a formal welcome, he urgently said, It is a miracle that you are here.“We have been praying that a physician would come to help us. Our daughter  Heather is extremely sick and has an exceedingly high fever. Could you please see her”? Dr. Bob agreed to see her promptly and added that the truck needed repair and that’s why they had come to him. It was not a planned visit. His friend responded, “While you see my daughter, I’ll repair your truck”.Bob remembered that his friend was also a mechanic  and had  a fully equipped repair shop.. Bob  breathed a sigh of relief  and both men went to work.

Heather was diagnosed with tonsillitis and from his medical bag, his constant companion, he produced a vial of penicillin. This was a very recently developed medicine that proved effective against infections. By chance he had included it in his bag. Another miracle.He administered an injection immediately.

The family and the visitors had a welcome supper and a good night of rest. By next morning, Heather was feeling better and was given another dose of lifesaving penicillin. The family was deeply grateful.The truck was fully recovered, and they were able to leave on their next mission of mercy.

Later he discovered that Heather had made a complete recovery. Dr. Bob felt that Heather would grow up to be a woman of importance because her life had been spared.

In 1960 Independence came to the Congo along with uncontrolled violence.  Alas, sometimes miracles don’t happen. Heather and her parents were murdered before being able to escape.

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