Leonhard Seppala braved -50 degree Farenheit blizzards to carry serum 91 miles, the longest and most perilous stretch, in a heroic dog sled relay run to stave off a diphtheria outbreak that threatened to wipe out the native Alaskan population of iced-in Nome in 1925.
Through the impenetrable, swirling snow, he pressed on and on, risking his life and the life of his dogs, to save a population cut off at a time before reliable airplanes could link it with the rest of the world. Without the serum, perhaps all the natives would fall to a white man’s disease against which they had no natural immunity.
The whole team of 20 mushers and a combined total of 150 sled dogs trekked across 1,000 miles of treacherous mountain passes, iced tundra, vast expanses of uninhabited frostbiting snow, in a record five-and-a-half days. Their heroics are commemorated in the annual Iditarod Race, named after the barren frigid trail that was the original route for the town’s salvation.
Seppala and his mushers inspire me. As carriers of Nome’s only hope, they held back nothing in their effort to save people. They should inspire us to withhold nothing in our Christianity today. For us now, the serum is Jesus Christ. And the epidemic decimating humanity is sin.
Can we give more of ourselves? In prayer, offerings, evangelism? Can we brave difficulties? Can we set aside distractions and dedicate ourselves to penetrating the snow storm that separates the sinner from salvation?