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Papaya Prescription

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, February 24.

By Andrew McChesney


even-year-old Joylin was playing blocks with Father in the living room of their home in India. She liked using the yellow, blue, green, and red blocks to build tall towers and then hitting the towers and watching them fall down.

As Joylin and Father played with the blocks, he told stories about when he was a little boy. He told about how he used to play with his brothers and sisters. It was fun playing with Father.

But Joylin didn’t feel quite well. She felt a little warm, like she had a slight fever. She also felt a little tired. But she didn’t want to go to bed. It was fun playing with Father.

Then Father’s cell phone rang. He listened to it for a moment and got serious. He turned to Joylin.

“We have to go to the hospital,” he said.

Joylin didn’t know what was happening. She didn’t realize that it was serious. A doctor had called from the hospital and said that she needed to be hospitalized immediately. She had dengue fever. Dengue fever is an illness that comes from mosquito bites. It isn’t difficult to treat the illness if it is caught early. But the doctor had not noticed that Joylin had dengue fever earlier, and now it was important to treat the illness quickly.

Father called to Mother for help, and she quickly packed a suitcase with clothes, medicine, and food. She packed lots of papaya, kiwi, and raw beets. Joylin didn’t like papaya. She thought that the red fruit tasted disgusting. She also thought that red beets tasted disgusting. But she liked sweet green kiwis. Mother packed papaya, kiwi, and raw beets because the doctor said they were a good medicine for Joylin.

Then Joylin, Father, and Mother got into the car and drove to the hospital.

Joylin felt uneasy when she arrived at the hospital. She was surrounded by people she didn’t know. She didn’t like the smell of the hospital air. Someone put an IV drip into her arm, and it hurt. Then a nurse took her to a bed in the hospital ward.

Joylin looked around. She couldn’t understand why she was there. She saw children who looked much sicker than her lying in the beds.

Mother saw that she looked confused and tried to encourage her.

“You are strong,” she said.

For the next six weeks, Joylin stayed at the hospital. Mother gave her lots of papaya and beets to eat. She didn’t want to eat them, but she had to. She wrinkled her nose and swallowed them, hoping not to taste them as they went down. She also ate lots of kiwi. She enjoyed the kiwi much more. They tasted so sweet and yummy.

Mother and an aunt took turns staying with Joylin. Many people from church visited and prayed with her.

Sometimes she was bored.

But she was never all by herself.

Finally, the day came when Joylin could go home. She was so happy! She was tired of lying in the same bed in the same room for so long. She was happy to return home.

When she arrived home, a teenage cousin was waiting to welcome her with a gift of delicious red pomegranates. Joylin was happy that it wasn’t papaya. She loved pomegranates.

Today, Joylin is 14, and she still doesn’t like papaya, even though it helped her get better when she was sick. She said it was God who completely healed her.

“God healed me,” she said. “I was too young at the time to realize who had healed me. But as I grew up and came to know God more, I realized that it was He who had healed me. He is a mighty healer.”

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help construct a church near Joylin’s school in Bengaluru, India. Joylin’s school is on the same campus as Lowery Adventist College and several other Adventist schools. Thank you for planning a generous offering.