Mission Bush Pilot and Nurse

After spending three years in Guyana, South America, we have now moved to Bewani, 50 Km south of Vanimo, Papua New Guinea. We have started a new humanitarian aviation ministry here. In visiting with health officials and church people here, the need for an aviation program to reach into remote villages became very apparent. We are taking health workers and medicines/vaccines, into remote village airstrips and bringing out critically ill patients to the hospital. We also fly in educational materials for schools, as well as take in Bible workers. Toni is helping with the medical end of things, while Gary takes care of the flying part. We have several local lay missionaries we sponsor and we do ground transport for patients as well. We are volunteers here to serve our God and the unreached people of Papua New Guinea. We have a great need for more people to join in this effort.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A plea from the jungle

Dear Family and Friends
We have not forgotten how to write, but wanted to wait until we had something new to share. God is still at work and we still see His hand working on our behalf.  Yes we would like things to move much faster so we can get to work in Papua New Guinea (PNG), but God has His own timing.  We don't want to rush ahead of Him nor do we want to be found sleeping when He says now is the time to go.  
Yesterday I received a phone call from the jungles of PNG from our friends John and Pam Lello. What a treat that was.  They shared with us the urgent need of an airplane and nurse to serve in their area of service.  John is a former student of ours and they have 2 young daughters working not "too far" from where we plan to locate.  They also sent us an email describing the needs there so we are including that for you to read.  Their area is just one part of the Sepik we will be serving so you can see the great need. They are hoping for medical teams to make regular visits to these remote villages that never see a health worker.  It will be too much for Toni and I to even do, so we are also looking for some people willing to go to the front lines of service, be it for short term or longer.  If you feel the call to go, please contact us or Adventist World Aviation (AWA) offices in WI to learn how you can serve in the field.
Here is the letter from John and Pam

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My family and I send you greetings from the remote upper reaches of the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea where we have been serving as Adventist Frontier Missionaries for the past seven months.  Currently we are engaged in language learning at May River Station where John and Belinda Kent began a church planting movement more than twenty years ago.  Soon, however, we will be moving to Ama, a location about one day's travel further into the bush, to start a new church planting movement among the Sawiano people and eventually a layman's training center that will train and equip God's people to serve Him more effectively in their churches and missionary endeavors.
The two greatest problems we face as missionaries in this very remote area are the lack of basic medical services and transportation.  Currently, the Seventh-day Adventist Sepik Mission operates a health clinic at May River Station that serves approximately 6,500 people from nearly 50 villages spread out over an area of about 1,250 square miles of swamp, jungle and mountains terrain.  Since the only way for workers from the clinic to travel to these villages is by boat and foot, it can take a full day of travel to reach the most remote parts of the area served by the clinic and then additional days to travel between the villages.  Adding to the difficulty of travel is the fact that there is currently only one nurse serving at the May River Clinic.  It is no wonder than that some villages have waited for years between visits while large numbers of their people die from malaria, tuberculosis and a host of other tropical diseases.
The second great need in the area is that of transportation.  Currently, Good Samaritan Aviation flies medical supplies to May River Clinic and evacuates emergency cases to Boram Hospital in Wewak.  However, since Good Samaritan Aviation operates a single float plane, they can only land on large rivers and cannot fly to the airstrips in the bush.  This means that emergency cases from these areas must be transported on improvised stretchers and in dugout canoes to May River Station before receiving care and being sent on to Wewak.
Another difficulty we face is that of transporting supplies for our mission by land and boat from Wewak once every three months.  The trip begins in May River with a sixteen hour boat trip down the May and Sepik rivers in a dugout canoe powered by an outboard motor followed by another six to eight hours on the back of a flat bed truck ending up in Wewak.  After arriving in Wewak, we walk from store to store purchasing food and materials for the next three months, load them onto another flatbed truck and begin the return trip.  In addition to being difficult the whole process consumes a lot of time and resources that could otherwise be used to serve people.
So you can understand why we literally shouted for joy and praised the Lord when we heard that Gary and Toni would be coming to work in our area with Adventist World Aviaition.  Their work as a Christian medical aviation team in this area will completely change the lives of thousands of people and provide vital support for our mission as well as the missionary efforts of many missionaries from Papua New Guinea who want to serve their own people in this remote location.  Words cannot express the impact that these two seasoned missionaries will have for the gospel in this place of darkness.  If you have supported Gary and Toni in the past, please continue to support them as they clear the last few hurdles and begin their mission service here in Papua New Guinea, and if you have not yet started, please consider beginning a monthly gift to this very worthy cause.  The first time someone thanks you for sending Gary and Toni, in heaven will make it all worth it.
John, Pam, Abby and Alissa Lello
Adventist Frontier Missionaries to the Sawiano

If you would like to help with this project, funds can be sent to:
Adventist World Aviation
P.O. Box 444
Sullivan, WI 53178-0444
Please include note "Lewis Project PNG"

Thank you for your prayers and support, 
May God bless you.
Gary and Toni Lewis