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Full Circle

John Holbrook

The little boy lay limply in his mother’s arms. I could tell immediately that he was on death’s doorstep. The family had heard that the Adventist missionaries had powerful medicine, but when they arrived in our village they found that my parents were gone on a month-long trip, and I was the only missionary home.

The year was 2000. We were phasing out of our completed Adventist Frontier Missions project among the Alangan people, and my dad transitioned to his new role as an AFM field director. While my parents were away on business, 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, and I was running the clinic. It was immediately apparent to me that this little boy would probably not leave my front porch alive.

Poring over our diagnostic books, I selected the most likely diagnosis. I 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. That was 15 years ago, and I had completely forgotten about the incident—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 a young Alangan man. I inadvertently introduced him to his future wife when I took her and a group of other Tawbuid 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 that as a child he had nearly died. His parents had taken him to the missionaries, but they 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 fulfill his pledge and surrender his heart to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.