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Faith and a broken hot water bottle

My own hot water bottle. Bought by a kind friend when I was poorly.

I came across a true story this afternoon. It’s been travelling around the world since the 1950s.

I had no idea it existed until I bumped into a friend at the local grocers this afternoon.

I was buying lunch. So was she. We thought it was a great idea to sit somewhere and eat it together.

It was then she encouraged me with this amazing story of faith and God’s provision.

Helen Rosevere and that last hot water bottle

The story comes from Helen Rosevere. A medical missionary from Northern Ireland who served in Central Africa.

After a long and difficult night at a labour ward, a mother died leaving behind a premature baby and a crying two-year-old girl.

They had no incubators. They had no electricity to run an incubator. One of the midwives went to fill up a water bottle to keep the newborn warm.

She came back shortly and told them the water bottle had burst. It was their last one.

A big prayer

That day Helen went to pray with some children at an orphanage who chose to pray with her.

“I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle. The baby could so easily die if it got chilled. I also told them about the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died,” Helen says.

It was there Ruth, then a 10-year-old girl, prayed a big, bold prayer.

“Please, God,” she prayed, “send us a water bottle. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, the baby’ll be dead. So, please send it this afternoon,” she said.

“And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?”

It’s the type of prayer I find difficult to pray with confidence. That bold, impossible prayer that we adults doubt and are almost scared to utter.

In the 1950s, when it took five months for goods to arrive in parts of Central Africa from the UK, it seemed like an impossible ask.

Ruth might as well have asked for the moon.

A surprise parcel

But then, that afternoon while Helen was teaching in the nurses’ training school, she heard there was a car at her home. By the time she got there, the car had gone, but there was a large parcel on her veranda.

Amongst the various gifts, was a hot water bottle. There was even a doll. Perfect for a two-year-old girl.

That parcel had been on the way for five months, packed up by Helen’s former Sunday School class.

God knew five months ago just how desperately a baby would need a hot water bottle. And how much a little girl needed to know He loved her.

He also knew that a 10-year-old girl would trust Him completely one day. And chose to answer her big prayer.

If you have a moment today, please take a little time to read Helen’s testimony. She tells it in her own words and has included it in her book “Living Faith”.

It encouraged me greatly. I hope it encourages you too.

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November 2022
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