So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”~Genesis 22:14
In 1967, my husband, Orval Patchett, CME class of 1945, and I joined a medical tour to Asia. Afterward, we visited our friends in Saigon-Jess, CME class of 1952, and Juanita Holm. They showed us the city as best they could under wartime conditions, including a tour of the hospital. While there, we noticed the lack of essential equipment in every section. Finishing the tour, Juanita asked Jess to order IV solutions for the operating room. Supplies were low and war shipments were uncertain.
To her request, Dr. Jess gently replied: “I am sorry, but there is no money.” Again Juanita declared her need. He smiled, touched her arm, and said: “The Lord will provide.”
Upon our return to the States, we spent Sabbath in Hawaii with friends. They informed me I was already scheduled to give the mission story for church. Mission story? But this was a medical tour. Oh no! What could I say? It had to be Saigon! But what could I say about Saigon? I really did not have anything to say.
I was miserable! I asked the Lord for help. I vowed I would never stay with friends again. How did I get into this? Why is it that my husband can never bail me out of these situations?
Sabbath arrived. There was no answer to my prayer. I was desperate and unsure as I slowly stood up. I smiled and said, “Greetings from your dear brothers and sisters in Saigon.” That old cliche. I rambled through my memory bank of the city at war, along with conditions at the hospital. To fill up space, I relayed the conversation about the IV solutions. Mercifully, the time passed and I could sit down. I was utterly humiliated!
Later, I heard the rest of the story. Naomi Yamashiro-wife of Charles Yamashiro, CME class of 1950-had been in church that day. Naomi provided Friday night supper and worship every week for Adventist corpsmen stationed in Hawaii. A few days after my talk, her telephone rang. A corpsman mentioned that he had a large shipment of outdated IV solutions. Though perfectly good, they could not be used in any Navy hospital. Did she know of any Adventist hospital that could use them? Yes, she thought, in Saigon. But how could the shipment get there?
The next day, Naomi discussed the situation with an officer’s wife who was planning to attend a Friday night reception at the Officer’s Club that evening. While there, she met a captain whose ship had been delayed due to repairs. He was sailing for Seoul via Saigon the next day. Could he take the IV solutions? Yes, he would be happy to. But the solutions had to be at the clock by 10a.m. the next day-no later.
At midnight, Naomi received the news from the officer’s wife. Though it was Sabbath, Naomi called her corpsman, who then made arrangements to meet the morning deadline. Soon the solutions were on their way to Saigon. The Navy notified the hospital of their unexpected gift. In addition, they were delivered without any charge!
Just as Dr. Jess has said, “The Lord will provide.”
–Dorothy Patchett graduated from LLUSM in 1944. She served as a Loma Linda councilor for many years and was on the LLU Medical Auxiliary board from 1980 to 2000. Her late husband, Orval Patchett, was an ophthalmologist who practiced in Pasco, Washington.