After landing with his unit in Europe, his symptoms flamed into a severe cold. He finished serving dinner one evening, cleaned up and chose to stop by the infirmary to let the doc take a look.
"We'll need to isolate you," the doctor said. "You have something more than a cold. Not sure what, yet." The cook developed a deep cough, one that wouldn't stop, and his skin turned blue. His symptoms grew worse every minute.
An hour later some of his buddies joined him. They looked terribly sick. The cook didn't have the strength to speak with them, but he wondered if he looked as bad as they did. After five weeks, the cook's "cold" spread to 1,127 soldiers in his unit, forty-six of which died.
Back in the United States, the cold had spread to other forts preparing to send recruits to Europe for service in WWI. Their sniffles had been ignored as was the cook's. The troops filled transports bound for Europe for war duty.
Soon French soldiers experienced initial symptoms of this cold now referred to as influenza. The soldiers spread the flu to residents and on it traveled throughout Europe.
The flu bug kindled its work in Spain. There it earned its name, the Spanish Flu, in a country not yet participating in the war. Hardly a country in the world became exempt from the impact of the deadly virus, which took five percent of the 1918 world's population.
A second and third wave of the same flu roared around the world. What brought it to a stop? The end of the war. When the soldiers returned home, a few last outbreaks came, but the flu's power screeched to a stop.
Why do you think this happened?
How difficult is it to spread something around the world? Not so much in the days of the Internet, but in 1918 they didn't have Internet.
As powerful as the Spanish flu became to ultimately steal lives, we have an opportunity to change the world in a positive way. Each time we tell someone God loves them and sent his Son to pay the punishment for their sin, we share Good News which can revive lives for all eternity.
What has created a stir in your life?
How can you create a stir for the Gospel in the lives around you?