“Then I was told, ‘You must prophesy [teach] again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings’” (Revelation 10:11, ICB).*
DANGER IN ALASKA
The entire town of Nome, Alaska, was in danger. It was 1925, and Nome, which lies near the Arctic Circle, had only one doctor.
“I believe your child has a case of tonsillitis,” Dr. Curtis Welch told several parents. But as more cases with similar symptoms arrived, he wondered if he might be wrong. When people began dying, he knew the truth: an epidemic of a deadly disease called diphtheria had crept into town.
“Our local supply of medicine is too old to be used,” Dr. Welch explained. And the closest medicine that could be used was hundreds of miles away! Nome was totally surrounded by ice, so ships couldn’t be of any help. The few airplanes that might have been able to make the trip had been taken apart for the winter. And snowmobiles hadn’t yet been invented!
Dr. Welch sent a desperate telegram message to the proper authorities:
“AN EPIDEMIC OF DIPHTHERIA IS ALMOST [CERTAINLY] HERE. I AM IN URGENT NEED OF ONE MILLION UNITS OF DIPHTHERIA [MEDICINE].”
Meanwhile, still hundreds of miles away, the needed amount of medicine was eventually rounded up. But how would it get to Nome? A man named Mark Summers suggested it travel by dogsled. It was their only hope of getting to Nome in time to avoid a horrible outbreak of diphtheria.
The trip from the starting point, Nenana, to Nome was 1,085 kilometers (674 miles). Normally it took about 30 days to make the journey. But that would need to be greatly shortened.
The journey began, with dogs and their drivers, known as mushers, enduring frostbite and more. Over dangerous mountain ranges and through blinding blizzards the teams pressed on.
The mission was a success! To everyone’s astonishment, the entire trip took only five and a half days! There was a sad price to pay, though, because at least five dogs died.
In the end, deaths from diphtheria were fewer than 10 in Nome, at the time a town of about 1,300, with 10,000 in the surrounding areas. And all thanks to a lifesaving mission accepted and completed.
THINK ABOUT IT
■ Have you ever been sent on a special mission? What was it?
■ What do you think about the idea that you’re part of a special group called to help others be ready for Jesus’ return?
TODAY’S PRAYER IDEA
Thank God for inviting you to be a part of His end-time mission. Ask Him to help you better understand these messages, and how you can share them with others.
Randy Fishell is known to younger generations of Adventists for his creative work as editor of Guide magazine. He holds a M.Div. and
is the creator of the popular Tucker Barnes & Friends product line for kids.