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I have put my words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of my hand. —Isaiah 51:16, ISV

Thirty years ago, I went to Magadan, Russia, as part of Operation Bearhug.

This was the second year that the North Pacific Union of Seventh-day Adventists had sent members to build a church, conduct a health fair, and later, hold evangelistic meetings. After the invitations were distributed, we held the health fair.

I was assigned work in one of the booths. Earlier, I had gone to town to purchase gifts for those at home. I bought items and left them to be engraved.

I was told to come back at three o’clock to pick them up.

When I got back, I learned my shift had been changed.

I found coverage for my booth and hurried back to town.

After picking up the items, I realized I would not have time to wait for the bus, so I decided to rush back on foot. As I was running, I stubbed my foot on an ever-present broken concrete sidewalk and landed face-first against an upturned manhole cover.

Stunned, I sat up, skinned and bloodied, not knowing what to do.

Two older ladies saw my plight and came to my rescue.

One handed me a cloth to stop the bleeding and then gently led me to a clinic. I was seen right away by a doctor. He treated me the best he could with the limited supplies he had on hand. Not knowing any English and using hand gestures, he tried to tell me I needed to go to the hospital for X-rays. I understood what he was trying to say and knew I did not want that because I would have no way of letting anyone in my group know where I had gone.

I also knew I would never find my way back on my own in a city that large. Then I remembered a new word taught to me by a child earlier that morning: khorosho, meaning “OK” in English. I said that several times and indicated I wanted to leave.

Reluctantly he let me return.

Once back, I was checked out and told I would be OK.

God knew this would happen and providentially arranged for me to learn the very word I would need, and He brought it to my mind. “Do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:19, 20, NIV).

Sue Anderson

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