That summer of 1980 we pressed on with language study and we also moved. One of the “old timers” who had been denied a new work permit was leaving and was selling all of his furniture. We bought it all and moved right into his apartment—the easiest move we ever made!
This apartment was further up the hill, its location ensuring that we’d have better air quality. There was also a nice walled-in yard where the kids could ride their tricycles and play, and the neighbors were already used to foreigners.
I took two year old Nat with me to the new apartment to do some preparation before we moved in with our meager belongings. After fixing some outlets, I went to check on Nat and found him with a box full of medicine bottles the previous tenants had left. Nat had a bottle of pills in his hand with the cap off; the bottle was half empty. Had he swallowed some of them? How many? Were they dangerous? What should I do? I had no idea!
I scooped him up, along with the bottle, and ran to a nearby pharmacy. “No, these are not particularly dangerous,” said the druggist, “that is, he won’t die from them. Should you take him to a doctor? No, I don’t think that’s necessary.”
Relieved, I took him home and told Barbara about it. She was not so convinced that doing nothing was a good idea, especially when Nat began to act a bit tipsy. It was late on Saturday afternoon, so we decided to take him to a nearby hospital that served American servicemen.
When we got there, we were taken right in. The doctor looked at the bottle and said, “Yes, we should get this out of his stomach. I’ll give him something to make him throw up. That should take care of it.”
After Nat had taken the medicine, we sat in the waiting room with a bucket. Nat acted more and more like a drunk, staggering from side to side, laughing happily. As time went on he couldn’t stand any more, so he lay on the floor, his laughter increasing with his inability to walk.
The doctor was dealing with someone who had taken a drug overdose, so it was a while before he came back. “No results? OK, we will have to pump his stomach. I’ll take him.” Nat laughed some more as the doctor picked him up and carried him away.
When they brought him back half an hour later, he was no longer laughing; he was very subdued. “He’ll be ok now,” said the doctor. And he was.
In fact he was much better. He had had diarrhea for the last three months, fortunately beginning shortly after he was potty trained, but nothing we’d tried had helped. We’d prayed, been to the doctor and kept him on a special diet, but the diarrhea just kept coming.
However, after having his stomach pumped, the diarrhea immediately disappeared. Maybe it was all the medicine he had swallowed, or the cleansing aspect of having his stomach pumped. At any rate, God answered our prayers, using a distressing situation to bless us. Another God sighting.
Shortly after moving into our new apartment, we got a further illustration of the determination in our older son’s character. He was now six years old, so we often sent him to buy things at the little store on our street.
Late one afternoon we sent him out to buy bread for supper at the little store right down our quiet street. When he didn’t come back in a reasonable length of time, I went to look for him.
The storekeeper said that our boy had come, but since there was no bread, he had left. I went outside and looked up and down the street, but no boy. I had no idea now of where to look for him. Maybe in his determination to fulfill his duty he had gone to look for bread elsewhere, but my further search at other stores was fruitless.
By the time I got home, he’d had been gone an hour and it was getting dark. We prayed and talked about what to do. Shortly after the doorbell rang. When I opened it, there was the daughter of the janitor of our first apartment, and she had our son by the hand!
He had gone down the hill from one corner grocery to the next, but all were out of bread. By the time the girl found him, he was about a mile from home and had crossed a very busy street at least once. He had been given an assignment and he was going to follow through no matter what! We were thankful for God’s protection and for providing someone he knew to bring him home—a very clear God sighting! How would we have ever found him otherwise?
Picture: Us with little Nat