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.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Trip to Wewak

The rest of the story of our trip to Wewak
We thought we were all set for our trip to Wewak that had already been delayed by a week, we asked God to open the way when He saw fit.  Sunday night we were told there was room on the boat for us Monday morning.  We were advised to be ready between 7-7:30.  At 7:10 they showed up at our door and said we had to go then because the boat was full and we needed to get our spot.  We had been told earlier that we should expect to wait a couple of hrs at the boat until they got enough people to fill it.   We grabbed our small day packs and left for the boat.  When we arrived they took our packs and put them in with the other cargo and wrapped them up so they wouldn’t get wet.  We didn’t take our water bottles out or sunscreen for Toni.  Then we were off.   The sun was up and hot already as we began the 3+ hr boat ride on the open sea staying about a mile off shore.  The boat is about 20 ft long and 5+ ft wide with a 75 hp outboard. It was soon apparent that Toni was getting sunburned but her wide brim hat helped protect some of her face and back of her neck.  The rest of her exposed skin started to redden. 
The coastline was pretty and we even had a dolphin swim along side a few minutes.  The swells were only 6-8 ft so not too bad.  When we finally arrived at Aitape, (location of tidal wave in 1998) our behinds were very sore from sitting on the hard wood bench.  We were thankful for no rain, not having to sit on the bottom of the boat like most did, and that we arrived safely, even without a bathroom stop.  As we were coming ashore and the boat man was trying to navigate the breakers, one caught us and everyone on Toni’s side including her got drenched. 
When we got to the dock they welcomed us warmly and we asked for a bathroom.  The owner of the boat and the business said, sure, wait a couple of minutes while I tell the kids to clean it first. 
When Gabriel, the owner came back he took us to his house and invited us in.  We used the bathroom and then he invited us to relax in his sitting room as the truck we were to continue on in was being repaired.  We had a 5 hour journey ahead of us yet by land to reach Wewak. 
Later Gabriel came in and said the end of the repair was near and then begin to tell us how he was using his business to support church work.  8 years ago he started with $1500 US, and now he had several vehicles and boats.  He is now selling fuel, auto parts, has a repair shop and taxi business with the boats and pickups.  Last year he gave bicycles to 5 bible workers and this year he is upgrading them all to motorcycles. 
His daughters brought us some sandwiches to eat as it was past noon and the truck was not yet ready.  Then Gabriel told us about his wife who was in the next room unbeknownst to us. She had had a series of strokes that have left her completely paralyzed he said and she was unable to talk, but could still hear.  I asked if we could go in and pray for her.  He eyes lighted up and said yes.  He gathered his daughters that were near by and we went into pray.  We found she could move one arm and one leg a little bit and squeeze with her had a bit.  We prayed and then Toni checked her to see what movement she had.  Then she explained to them how to exercise their mom so help her regain muscle and nerve function again.  No one had ever given them any hope of regaining some motion again.  Toni told them that if they did it every day a couple of times, there is the possibility of maybe being able to get around again.  With God’s help all things are possible.  There were tears in the ladies eyes when we finished praying. That is when it dawned on me why we were delayed waiting for the vehicle to be repaired.  Just a few minutes after we finished with his wife, they told us to load up and we were ready to leave, 4 hrs after we had arrived.
It only took a couple of miles before the road turned from mostly payment to mostly ruts and potholes.  Soon there was no pavement and only gravel, holes and bigger holes.  We were put up in the cab, which is nice for 2 people but very tight for 3, but at least we were inside and it looked like it could rain.  There were other passengers including women and children in the back of the pickup along with fuel drums and cargo.  The road got really rough and soon we were fording streams and rivers in 4WD low.  Some of the rivers had seen rain up above us and were brown and rising fast.  Some of the water was up to the floorboard, which was already jacked up.  The pickups here all have snorkels and we saw why. 
As it became late in the afternoon some of the on coming traffic (not much on this road) warned us of possible trouble a head.  A couple of villages were having a dispute of some sort and not happy.  As we approached the area a group of men stop us and our driver spoke with them a few minutes before continuing.  We noticed most of the men had black paint on their faces and arms.   They all carried either a gun, bush knife (machete or cutlass). Some even had spears and arrows. Sorry we don’t take pictures in these kind of situations. When we got underway we asked the driver what was going on and then he told us a couple of villages were fighting but that he knew them and they wouldn’t bother us.  We passed a couple more groups of warriors attired the same way before leaving the area.  Sure thankful for angels that travel with us!!

No comments: