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, September 27, 2015

Car wash

Local car wash with our new missionary volunteer

Spider

A spider at the bottom of the stairs to our house. Measured almost 12 inches leg to leg

Fwd: Blog post

Email written by our volunteer nurse, Julie

The morning air is alive with bird song. The mist rises up from the bush floor as a look out my window to welcome a new day. Since we are at the equator, the sun rises and sets at the same time year round, six thirty. The morning air is cool with mist and the dog is stirring on the front porch. About six thirty he lets us know that it is time to take him on his morning walk. Between the birds, frogs, and cicadas there are all sorts of foreign noises to learn here. After the rains, the frogs can be almost deafening, each trying to drown each other out. 

It's Friday, and I have been here in PNG for a week. The difference between the little bush house and where I stayed at PAU is almost night and day. Here it's almost like perpetual camping, though compared to what the people live in, we live richly. It's a simpler way of life out here. No one really plans for the future, and a lot of them don't really have jobs because they don't want to. Even at the Husick (pronounced House-sick, Pidgin for the clinic) there is a very laid back atmosphere. There is no particular privacy, and time is relative. Culture here is vastly different and any other way of life is probably not even considered. The only way to figure out the culture here seems to be to watch and listen. Asking sometimes gets an answer, other times not so much. 

I've helped out two morning at the clinics so far. They have nurses here that do triage, diagnosing, medication dispensing, and really anything that needs to be done. If there is a major emergency then they will take them to the hospital in Vanimo, but everything is pretty much taken care of out here in the bush. There isn't a single doctor to be had so they manage. It's a tough job, and they do the best they can with what the have to work with. The Hausick is a long building built on stilts with four to five rooms. The long porch has a bench where the patients line up in the morning. By the time it opens at around 8:30 there is a cluster of patients on the benches. Usually women with babies who have walked for kilometers already. Babies attached to hips with slings and little children, sometimes dresses, skipping along beside. Almost everyone gets tested for malaria that comes in, since it's one of the biggest problems, medically speaking. No gloves, or hand washing of any type and surprisingly rarely do they touch the patients. A typical routine of care involves the patient coming, placing their health record book on the desk (if they have one) and the nurse taking a brief history as well as looking at their record. The patient describes their problem, sometimes gets weighed, and occasionally gets examined. It's jungle medicine. I have to admire these men and women though, they live out in the bush, talk with people who really don't speak anything other then a tribal language and are pretty much the entire medical staff rolled into one. They treat, dispense meds, do health histories, and occasionally do dressings and wound cleaning. They can just diagnose and treat (who knows if it's right or not because there really isn't any diagnostic testing). But they do the best that they can, and hopefully I can be a positive influence for a little bit of cleanliness. 

I helped in the clinic at Klilipau ( a village about halfway to town) Gary had mission stories going and it overall was a neat experience. I saw some possible leprosy, possible TB, and lots of malaria. The kids here are darling! Most don't really bother with clothes, and skin diseases are rampant. I'm pretty sure they think I'm the funniest thing they have ever seen. They stare and stare until I smile at them, then their little faces break out into great big smiles. I love the people here already and am working on my Pidigin. I don't think I will ever really be able to speak it well, but my understanding is improving each day. Yes, I know I haven't been here long, but I've got to try! 

God is blessing so much. Each and every day I can see God working. It's the most wonderful blessing. The work moves forward here bit by bit. Hopefully we get to fly the plane soon! Gary got permission to fly, so he will be checking out the air strips with an Aussie pilot. I'm excited to do some health care out in the bush.

God is still in control

God is still in control!

First of all let me apologize for our email provider who changed the parameters for mailing bulk emails, and we didn't know it until we realized many of you were no longer receiving our updates.  We didn't just cut you off, the provider did.  We have tried to fix the problem, so hopefully you will be getting this again.  If you don't wish to receive it, then send us a note stating such.  If you missed some, you can go to our blog site and read past updates. www.lewisjungleministries.com and some pictures.

This month we have been operating a clinic one day a week in the village of Kilipau. It is a 30 minute drive from here in Bewani.  The government built the health post 2 years ago, but couldn't find anyone to staff it, so it was never opened, until we opened it about six weeks ago.  We have been averaging over 50 patients per visit. One week, there was a lady with a long gash on her leg from a machete wound. It had happened the day before but she was too far away from medical help. I drove as close as I could to her location and then carried her the last 100 yds. or so to my car. The nurse working with Toni put in the first few stitches, and then Toni put in the rest of them, about a dozen in total.  The next week around 8 pm one evening, we received a message from this same village that a lady was in distress trying to deliver a baby.  We drove down there right away and there was a very young girl hanging onto a corner post under her house, semi squatting with a baby hanging all the way out except for the head.  There were no lights, and there were several ladies standing around her yelling all kinds of orders to her. The head was stuck so we finally got her lying down on her back so Toni could help her get the baby out. After a few minutes of pushing and pulling, and lots of praying that we wouldn't pull the head off, out came the baby. We cleaned the nose and mouth, and stimulated the baby, but were never able to get it to breathe.  We don't know how long the baby had been like that and the cord was not pulsing.  We loaded the baby and mom in the car and raced home to our clinic here in Bewani.  A nurse here spent over an hour sewing her up as she had torn really badly.  At least we were there to help save the mom, (it was her first baby) as she was bleeding a lot.

The nearby public school (to this same village), invited us to come make a health presentation and to show the Jesus video.  Now they want us to come to the school at least once a month.  About 100 attended this first one.  Now another school is asking us to come.  More churches are asking us to come show religious videos to them, also.  More baptisms are also being scheduled in the next few weeks for which we are very grateful.

A volunteer nurse from TN arrived this week for a couple of months and we are happy to have her here.   We have Julie busy already!

This week we are presenting health talks and Bible videos to a camp meeting all

week.

We just received our written permission to start flying the airplane!!! It is a temporary permit while we work on getting the plane registered here.  So I will get a local Australian pilot to check me out on the airstrips I will be using, and then go for it!   It's been a long wait, but in God's time, we are ready to fly!   In the same batch of emails, there was also an email advising us that an anonymous donor had just given a large donation to help get the plane program going.  Perfect timing again!  God is so good!!

Gary and Toni Lewis

www.lewisjungleministries.com

Donations can be sent to:

Mission Projects Inc.

P.O. Box 504

College Place WA 99324

Please include a note: PNG project

Or go to www.Missionprojectsinc.org for cc or online donations

 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pressing ahead Sept 7, 2015

So much keeps happening here, that it is hard to keep up sometimes.  Since we last wrote, here are some of the things that have been taking place.

We finally got the health post in the village of Kilipau opened.  It was built by the government about 2 years ago.  They also built a house to go with it.  However, they never found anyone to staff it, so it has sat empty all this time.  There are 16 villages in the area, and this is the only health post except for the one here in our village of Bewani, about 10 miles away.  When you're sick or ready to deliver a baby, it is a long walk, unless you're able to catch a ride on a passing truck.  We have been trying to encourage the government to open it and we even offered to have Toni do it one day a week.  After months of pushing them, they finally agreed to provide a nurse from here and the keys to the clinic.  So we have been going down there one day a week and holding clinic with a local nurse.  We have been averaging about 50 patients each visit. It takes most of the day by the time we load up, travel there (30 min. drive), hold clinic for 7 hrs, and then come home.  Most of the cases are malaria with a wide range of other things like TB, leprosy, colds, pregnancies, etc.  While the patients wait, our lay worker uses a picture roll and tells them Bible stories for over an hour, then I show the Jesus video and the adults are as interested as the kids.   We also had a friend translate a health talk on "cleanliness" that we want to show soon.  It makes the waiting time go faster. Some even stay after they see the nurse.

Another of our lay missionaries finished building a small church in his village and we went for the opening on Sabbath.  The place was full.

Unfortunately, some of our lay workers have given up the calling and our numbers have been reduced.  We are praying more will soon pick up the torch.  We will have to hold another training session soon, I think.  Sometimes the sacrifice is too great or the calling too hard.  Anyway, we are praying for more workers.

We are still working to get permission to begin flights.  Sometimes it feels like we are on a merry-go-round, but it still appears hopeful.

Last week, Toni awoke with lots of itching and stinging in her hands and feet.  Both of her hands, wrist, feet and also her chin were all broken out in pox/blisters. They swelled quickly and started to weep and drain. We were concerned it would spread and become infected. She got some antibiotics and became house bound since we didn't know if it was infectious and we didn't want flies infecting the sores.  It has been almost a week now and most of the pox have dried up with just a few blisters left.  There is no sign of infection yet, which we are so grateful for.

On Sabbath, the fourth baptism was conducted here in the last 9 months!  These are the first ones since 2009.  The harvest is starting.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support as we push forward with the work here in PNG.

We have been able to post a few pictures on FB and on our blog site if you haven't looked there in awhile.  We really enjoy it when you take the time to drop us a note!