“Bob, what is going to happen to us?”

“I don’t know. Let’s pray.”

It was the middle of the night. We prayed for God to have mercy on us and to send us help. We asked Him for healing and for wisdom to know what to do.

At that point, we could not have imagined what God’s great mercy to us would include.

We were at our home in St Mary, South America, and we both were in a struggle to recover from dengue fever. Neither of us could take care of the other. I was too weak to deal with anything except trying to choke down fluids and nourishment. My fever, nausea, and excruciating headaches were subsiding, but I was limp as a wet dishrag. Ernie and Jimmie had been with us working on Bible translation when Bob came down with dengue fever. We had only been back in St Mary ten days after several months in the United States. Four days after it hit Bob, the fever hit me. Very reluctantly (and with a lot of disappointment) we put aside all our goals for work on Bible translation and books in the tribal language. We had to call those who were lined up to visit us and tell them by telephone and bush telegraph not to come.

Bob’s fever was subsiding when I got it, but he was not able to rest as he needed to because I was sick and needed care, and there were other things that needed to be done. As a result, in the middle of one night his blood pressure shot up as I verified with an instrument, his hands went numb and his chest hurt. What a helpless feeling!! My husband could be having a stroke or a heart attack and I am lying in bed unable to get up and care for him or take him to a clinic. And I didn’t really want to take him to any of the clinics around there anyway.

We needed to leave St Mary where the Egyptian [1] mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus still lurked under the furniture in our home. We also needed to get to medical facilities which would be covered by our health insurance (the United States). Our most basic needs were being cared for by our national co-workers, Mr D and his wife. Two missionary colleagues also prayed earnestly and provided some urgent necessities. Neither of us was capable of travelling through the commercial airport system. It is doubtful the airlines would have accepted Bob in the condition he was in even if we could have got to the airport which would have taken a huge amount of assistance. He urgently needed medical care, and he really needed to be under the care of his own cardiologist in Memphis.

What to do?

At this point, our friends and relatives in the US went to work. Unbeknown to us, our family was trying to decide who could come to St Mary to help us. Our daughter-in-law Elisa, a nurse, and our son-in-law Gus, were chosen. We were utterly astounded. They had jobs and families. How could they manage? Meanwhile, our son Carey was looking into every conceivable option including jet charters. I would never have thought of that! Other friends also conversed with Carey about what could be done.

Bob and I felt utterly hopeless and helpless. We simply couldn’t do what needed to be done.

When Carey asked my sister’s husband to look for a charter flight in Nashville, he “happened on” the number for an air ambulance service. “I didn’t know any better,” he confessed later. “I just called them.” When he told Carey he was waiting on a price for medical evacuation (medivac), Carey said, “Don’t bother, they are too expensive.”

But, somewhere in the middle of that same night, just three hours before he was to send his wife Elisa off to catch a plane for South America, Carey signed a contract with Res-Q-Jets. They had called back with an offer that was nothing short of a miracle. Their flight going to Guatemala the very next day could pick us up on the return leg the following day for $18,000, less than half the cost of a full medical charter! Oh, God has such awesome ways of supplying our needs—Elisa and Gus didn’t have to travel to St Mary either.

The precision of the whole thing! So many people working together in different places! So many things coming together.

So it was that on October 4, 2007, Bob and I were flown from St Mary through Miami to Memphis in an air ambulance with two pilots and two highly trained medical personnel. Bob was on oxygen and intravenous fluids for dehydration, which confirmed that he could not have travelled anywhere without medical assistance on board. I was so grateful for qualified people to take care of him. Never ever did we imagine doing anything like this.

Bob was taken by ambulance from the airplane to the hospital in Memphis. Two days of tests showed no permanent heart damage and only the same minor blockage he already had. Doctors said the dengue triggered his nervous system to cause the blood pressure problems. In Memphis, friends graciously opened their home to us, and my sister and her husband spent those two weeks caring for us. Our pregnant daughter left her husband and five children for six days to come especially to help care for her father.

Then friends drove us the fours hours to our home where our church family nearby picked up the baton from the people who cared for us in Memphis. We have been able to take it easy since relapses of dengue are common and severe. We’re feeling a lot better, but Bob still gets exhausted if he does very much.

Friends have been concerned how we would pay for the medivac. God had already taken care of us in ways unimaginable, and we were sure He would do all the rest. He wasn’t going to leave us hanging on this part of it. And His imagination is so much greater than ours to figure out how to do it. For starters, just look at the $32,000 discount Res-Q-Jets gave us on the full price!

Before we ever left South America, people were calling or emailing us, encouraging us to come home and pledging their help. Three of our supporting churches set up a fund to which people could contribute a love gift to help pay for the medivac. By the end of the year, less than three months later, our medivac flight was paid for completely. We never asked anyone for money. God provided from varied and unexpected sources. We even received a few gifts of $1,000 USD from people we did not know.

How can we thank God enough for all He has done! And how can we thank the wonderful family of God who have done so much by way of prayers and encouragement, cards, calls, emails, physical care, gifts and meals, but to name a few. Thank you and may God bless you richly.

To Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, Him be Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21).

About the Author

DOLLY MONEYSMITH* was born to missionary parents and grew up in central Africa. She and her husband have been missionaries since 1966. They have three children and eleven grandchildren. This is the third missionary story Dolly has contributed to CETF. See CETF 40, p31, “Just Add Jesus,” and CETF 42, p20, “Love Your Enemy.”

* The country where Dolly and her husband still work is in civil war. For this reason, the author’s name and most of the names in the story are pseudonyms.


1 The virus that causes dengue fever is carried by Aedes egypti mosquitoes, and is transmitted to humans through their bite. It is more commonly just called “the Egyptian mosquito”. This is not the same mosquito which transmits malaria.

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