The ride to the doctor’s office was only a few miles, but slow and bumpy. Marta rode in the passenger seat next to the young man who kept stealing glances as he drove. Marta perceived it quietly and it made her feel pretty.
Doctor Reese sat in the back with Digul and did a preliminary observation of the boy, quickly determining the extent of his injuries. “I think the young man will be fine, Mrs. Springer. You did a good job with the splint, and the first aid.”
“That’s wonderful doctor, we’ve been praying since Thursday. By the way, call me Marta; I prefer that over Mrs. Springer.”
“Okay, Marta it is.”
“You know Sandy can take credit for saving his life,” Marta said.
“That’s the wonder of modern medicine. Take a few pills and it all goes away,” the doctor stated.
“It really amazes me how I can be only thirty miles away, but we are separated by centuries of technology,” Marta said.
“Strange, isn’t it? Even five to ten miles away, people are dying from sickness and disease that is easily treatable. But how do we reach them?” asked Reese.
Marta turned almost all the way around in her seat and spoke to Digul. It was virtually unintelligible to Dr. Reese, but the driver understood.
“I know he has nothing to fear,” the driver spoke up for the first time.
“You understood?” asked Marta.
“Yes, my father is a missionary in the northern coast, up near Jayapura. I was what you call, ‘immersed’ in the local dialect. I also speak Indonesian proper, and a little Latin,” Benji said, flexing his lingual muscle.
“Well it’s great to meet a kindred spirit,” Marta said. “What are you doing way down here?”
“Would you believe, working for college,” said the driver.
“Benji here is working for me. I will lose him next fall to the university,” said Reese.
“Well, that’s great, Benji. Are you planning on practicing in the mission field?” asked Marta.
“I really don’t know yet. I just hope I like college enough to make it that far,” said Benji.
“Don’t worry. I think you have just what it takes to make it. You have drive, determination, and a love of learning,” the doctor threw in for support.
“I am impressed with your knowledge of languages, and willingness to learn them. That proves a good attitude and aptitude for hard work. Just don’t get distracted by the coeds,” said Marta.
“I can’t say that I am used to being around women, I mean other than my family, other missionaries and their families, and tribal women. Other than knowing them, I have never really had a date,” Benji confessed.
Marta assessed his Mediterranean features. This man would be a heart breaker. His smooth olive skin was tan from exploring jungles and living in tough environments.
“You don’t have to worry about dating. That will come with experience,” said Marta.
“How will I get them to notice me for who I am and not some oddball from a strange country?” asked Benji.
“Believe me, when they hear of the life you’ve led and experiences you’ve had, they will want to learn more about you. Just be polite and honest and you won’t have any trouble. A woman looks for decency and competence, and you fit that mold,” Marta informed.
“How can you tell?” Benji fished for reassurance.
“Just by the way you speak to me. Besides, I think missionaries would expect the most from their children, if only because of their work and who they represent,” said Marta.
“You hit that on the nose. Mom and Dad would never take any back talk. God forbid if I ever hurt my mother’s feelings, or was ever rude to an adult,” said Benji.
“See, I knew I didn’t read you wrong,” said Marta.
The ambulance stopped its bounding and rocking as the road smoothed. Benji rounded a curve as they entered the driveway. The landscaping was beautiful, causing Marta to sigh appreciatively at the driveway bordered with flowering vines and a garden of beautiful indigenous trees and flowers. The doctor had even diverted a stream to a tiny fish pond in the shade near a gazebo.
“Do you like it? I love to garden, and I wanted to bring some civilization to my small part of the world.” Dr. Reese beamed.
“I love how you did this using local plant life. I’m shocked not to have heard about this,” said Marta.
“Well, I’m surprised too. I’ve been working on it for years.”
Jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP is an author of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals.