One night, in central Africa, Dr. Helen Roseveare worked hard helping a mother who was giving birth. Despite all her efforts the woman died leaving a tiny pre-mature baby and a two-year old daughter.
The following day Dr. Roseveare went for prayers at the adjoining orphanage. She told the children about the baby. She mentioned that this tiny child could die if it caught a chill. She also told them about the baby’s two year old sister.
During the prayer time at that orphanage one of the children, a ten-year old called Ruth, prayed a blunt prayer. ‘Please God send us a hot-water bottle. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon, and while you are about it, would you please send a dolly for the little girl so she know that you really love her?’
Helen Roseveare had to say amen but doubted anything would happen. She had been in Africa for four years and no one had yet sent a parcel from home. If someone did send a parcel why would they think of sending a hot-water bottle to the equator?
Anyway, half-way through the afternoon a message came to Helen that there was a car at her front door of her house. By the time she got there she could see that a large parcel had arrived. She taught that she could not open the parcel alone and sent for the orphanage children. Excitement grew as the removed the string and paper. Helen lifted out coloured jumpers which she gave to the children. Then there were knitted bandages and raisins and sultanas. She cried as she pulled out a brand-new rubber hot water bottle. Ruth was sitting at the front of the children and exclaimed that ‘if God has sent the bottle, he must have sent the dolly too!’ Rummaging down to the bottom of the box she pulled out a small beautifully dressed doll. That parcel had been on its way for five whole months, packed by Roseveare’s former Sunday school class whose teacher had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator.