b'HEALTHLessons Learned from the Mission FieldIcandoallthingsthroughChristNovember of 1984. graham crackers. This food was sur-which strengtheneth me Thiswasonelessonwelearned- prisingly easy to prepare and an effi- Philippians 4:13living a part with no prior warning. Incient and effective way to feed people. addition, at the end of my stay there,We had a small kitchen in the court-I would have to recover from hepatitisyard to prepare the cereal. We learned By Byron E. Conner, M.D. E, which I thought was going to be myto assemble the people to receive their final illness! twice daily ration. I saw many thin, and wasted children we tried to feed. Iarrived to serve along with myWhile in Makale, I took care of manyHowever, there was one starving per-had family as a missionary to Ethiopia, infamine victims. The majority would beson who stood out in my mind. I will August of 1984. We as a family wouldyoung children including infants andcall him Desta. (not his real name).live in the capital city, Addis Ababa. Itoddlers. I had to learn to do some-personally would have to travel to vari- thing I was not formally trained to do,I met Desta one day when the clinic ous medical facilities around the coun- but it had to be done. I learned whatworkers called me from the clinic to try. This was not surprising as I wasillnessestoexpectandhowtotreatsee him. He looked like a child about the director for health for our churchthem. It was a learning experience. I12to13yearsofage.Hewasthe mission:TheSeventh-dayAdventistworked in the clinic we had as well asthinnestofallthefaminevictimsI Church. We were in for a surprise how- a courtyard behind the clinic we usedhadseen.Thefirstthoughtinmy ever when we learned that we would beas feeding center and place to distrib- mindwashewasnotgoingtosur-separated as a family for a total periodute blankets and clothing. vive. He was terribly wasted and thin. ofabout9months.ThisincludedHis cheeks were sunken. He had just traveling to different sites around theInthefeedingcenter,wehadthebeen caught in a rainstorm and was country and a total of 6 months spentpeople gather together for twice dailyshiveringviolently.HisfamilywasDr. Conner doing famine relief spent in the town offeeding times of a cereal mixture, likewith him, but they appeared well. His Makale in the northeast of the country.alargebowlofoatmealandhighclotheswerejustthinrags,andhegave him. He gained weight, and ate We had to learn to adapt to the situ- energybiscuitswhichwaslikealooked almost naked. We found cloth- all we fed him.He gained weight and ation. I began my period of service inpacketofcrackersthatlookedlikeingforDestaalongwithablanket.his cheeks filled out! He looked like a Hecontinuedtoshiverviolentlybutdifferent person. It was like a miracle. in addition to this, he refused to eatAfter he gained weight he looked well. any food we offered him! All seemed inDesta and all his family left us after vain. We however decided to take himhe got well, and many people returned to a small field hospital operated by totheirvillages.Wewererejoicing He was the thinnest of all the faminethe Catholic Relief Services. that this patient did well. Some oth-ers did to.victims I had seen. The first thought in myWedecidedtoreturnin2daysWe thanked God that we were able toseeDesta.Hewassittingupin mind was he was not going to survive.bed!Iwastoldthatthenurseshadtohelpthoseinneedandwewere inserted a feeding tube by his nostrils.encouraged to continue our outreach, I was now hungry and ready to eat. Itand do what we can to help people by seemed like a miracle! Desta returnedGods grace!to our clinic. He now ate anything we 6 JANUARY 2020 BOCNEWS.com'