“What are you looking for?” I asked Maman.
He seemed worried as he went in and out of the clinic building, shining his flashlight around. “The people who were sleeping back there—they are gone!”
I went into the clinic and saw my patient’s IV bag lying on the floor, and no patient in sight. It isn’t uncommon for patients to leave the clinic before their treatments are done, but I was surprised that Nutun (pronounced Nootoon) and her family had left. They hadn’t given any indication of being in a hurry to leave. Nutun had been on quinine for malaria, and I doubted that she would have felt strong enough for the eight-plus-hour hike back to her village, especially at night. Nutun is one of the first baptized members from the church in Kebgen. She is very sweet, and I love to hear her talk about her faith and God’s goodness.
After verifying that Nutun and her family weren’t staying somewhere else nearby, we prayed for them. I worried that they would have trouble on the trail, but there wasn’t anything else we could do.
A couple days later, a flight was arranged to go see some patients in Nutun’s village. When we arrived, I asked about Nutun and learned she was in Kebgen, which wasn’t too far away. After I finished assessing and treating my patients, we decided to go to Kebgen to check on Nutun. There we learned that she was in another village a short hike away. We had Nutun’s niece Karin with us, and she guided us there. The slippery trail took us through some beautiful, shady jungle filled with vines, streams and birdcalls. In some steep places the trail was only as wide as my foot, and several times it gave way and sent me sliding.
After many falls we made it to Nutun’s house. She greeted me with a hug and apologies for leaving the clinic. Her family presented me with a big plate of hot rice, and we chatted as I ate. Nutun assured me that she was feeling fine, and she agreed to finish her medicine at home. She said she had apologized to God already, and she told me many times that she was sorry for leaving. I was thankful that Nutun seemed to be doing all right, and that they had made it home without much trouble.
Once we got back to the helicopter, Karin’s parents were there, and Karin’s mother reminded her to trust God and always pray. These people used to be deep in animism, and it is such a blessing to see the members of this little congregation growing in the faith of Jesus.
Please keep all the people of Kebgen in your prayers, and pray that many more will come to know Jesus.