May 16, 2015

Nothing but God!

There are times when the evidence of God's hand at work is especially obvious such that even the most cynical and doubting can't miss it!  There were two recent cases on the pediatric ward that  were like that.
She did smile on the day she left the ward, just not for the camera!
 
First, a sweet little 3 year old girl, a Pastor's Kid (PK), who had been hit by a car.  She was in bad shape upon her arrival and many of us thought she would surely not survive.  Numerous bumps and bruises but most importantly a large, through and through skull fracture,  She was unconscious on arrival and remained so for several days.  Her sweet little face became more and more swollen each of the first few days in hospital.  As we watched, supporting her in the ways we could, her papa kept praying.  He had truly given the outcome over to God and then waited with us.  She slowly began to stir a bit more. We were encouraged that she could move all 4 extremities.  Her eyes began to open a little.  She cried and moaned when moved in her bed likely due to pain.  And then the swelling started to go down. She began to move with intention!  She asked for her papa and mama!  She began letting us know she was hungry! Eventually, she was able to sit and then stand and then walk!  She went home whole!  Praise God for his goodness and mercy and love for this little one and her family!  May she not be allowed to forget God's work in her life, for the miracle He performed!


Guan's chest and belly burns.
I was on call another night.  I was in the delivery room doing an ultrasound on an expectant mama in early labor.  I heard the wailing from the ER.  When I arrived there were 4 patients all having been victims of a lightening strike.  There were 3 boys all about 7 or 8 years of age.  One had died on the way to us.  The second, Guan was unconscious. His little arms and legs were stiffening in a posture that suggests brain injury. That was followed by a seizure.  His pupils were fixed and not reacting to light.   There was a superficial burn on his chest.  There's not a whole lot we could do for him.  We gave lots of IV fluids, monitored his urine output for proof of good kidney function and to know if we are providing enough fluids, and waited.  There was no way to undo any damage that had been done to his internal organs.  We followed some blood work as an indicator of how things were and looked for trends of improvement.  I was convinced he would not survive.  He remained unconscious for several days.  Then, once again, God worked, and he began to open his eyes!  He began to recognize his mama who often times laid at his side on the bed.  Then he voiced his desire to eat and began sitting up!  He went home seemingly completely healed!  God in his infinite wisdom created our bodies incredibly!!  And when the natural healing abilities he instilled in each of us is not quite enough He reaches down and intervenes!
Guan and his mom ready for discharge!
 
The other little boy who was in the ER appeared to not have suffered so much physical injury as an emotional one.  The whole experience was deafeningly loud and would be extremely scary for anyone and especially to this little guy.  He was friends with Guan and the little boy who died. They all went to school together.  His sadness was laid out in the open for me to witness. It was heartbreaking.  I kept him in the hospital overnight.  We prayed together in the morning before he was sent home.  He won't soon forget what happened on this day and I am sure he will shudder in fear with each thunder and lightening storm that hits the Highlands of PNG for quite some time. Pray for him when the Lord brings him to mind.
The final of the original 4 patients brought to the ER was an adult female.  She had been with the last little guy at a market when the lighting struck.  She experienced severe pain in her ears when it burst through the sky. She complained of pain in her chest and upper abdomen.  I found no outward evidence of injury but admitted her to the ward for observation and monitoring.  I don't know the full story of her in-patient course but expect she recovered ok.

Feeling especially THANKFUL this morning!

Often when we are home in the US people will comment on all the sacrifices we make to be in PNG. We feel humbled by these comments in that for the most part we don't feel like we are making a huge sacrifice.  After having been here in PNG for nearly 14 years where we are, what we do and what we have available to us is just our "way of life". We don't sit around thinking about all we are missing in the US. We are simply doing what we believe God has for us.  It is more a matter of obedience than sacrifice.
All that said, there is one sacrifice that is at times extremely difficult.  It has nothing to do with things like missing our favorite restaurants, being able to buy cheese for something far less than the $13 per
500 gr block, and the freedom to drive after dark beyond the borders of our station for safety reasons. It is far more significant than those.  It's being here in PNG while our daughter is in the US.  Jessica just finished her sophomore year at MVNU.  She's been working on the details of getting her things packed and having them stored somewhere and finding some place to stay an extra couple of nights in order to stick around Mt. Vernon for graduation and then find transportation to her grandparents.  If we were home in the US we, as her parents, would have been there for her.
BUT today I am reminded of and am feeling especially THANKFUL that we have Skype and Facetime and email!  My kids and Jeff got me an iPod for Christmas in order that I could more easily communicate with Jessica! I am THANKFUL for it!!  And it was great...for the 3 months or so I had it before it died! :(   I am THANKFUL that one of our missionary colleagues was heading back to the US and was willing to carry it back with her.   I am THANKFUL that my brother was willing to take the iPod to the nearest Apple store where they replaced it.  I am THANKFUL that we have friends who were traveling this way and agreed to bring the iPod to me!  I have been able to imessage with Jessica several times over the past few days!  I am THANKFUL for Skype. Just spoke with my mom for a few moments.  I am THANKFUL for family and friends (Tami, for one, has been wonderful!) in the US who have been available to our Jessica also. 
SO, when you think of us, don't feel sorry for us for all the "little" things we don't have access to.  Those things are nice and fun but truly are trivial in light of obedience to the Father.  But DO please pray for us as we are far from our daughter and other family members.  We, naturally, want to be there for her in a more tangible way at times. Pray for Jessica as she continues to navigate real life as a young adult, with her parents being so far away.  She is doing an awesome job!!  God has been so amazingly faithful!  I sure am glad and THANKFUL that there is nothing He can't handle and nothing we can't handle as long as we put all of ourselves in His loving hands!

April 25, 2015

A Welcomed Visitor

If you go back in our posts to 2010 you will find a story I wrote about a little girl named Naomi who was born with a heart defect.  She was evaluated by the Australian Heart team that comes just once a year and was one of the fortunate children to have her heart repaired.  
Well, one day in recent weeks I was seeing a baby boy who was sick with diarrhea and vomiting. His mama noticed a picture I had on my shelf of Naomi, some of her family and myself.  She was quite pleased to reveal to me that she herself was in the picture and that Naomi is her younger sister! The reason the pictures were there in the first place was because I had intended to give them to Naomi but then hadn't seen her again in all these years.  I asked this young mama if she would take the pictures to Naomi and she said she would. 
After about a week had passed I got a surprise visit from Naomi!! It was a very special treat for me! As you can see, Naomi is thriving with an amazing, happy, healthy smile!!
Thank you God, for this wonderful blessing you provided for me!

February 15, 2015

Change!

Jeff and I both grew up on the East Ohio District of the Church of the Nazarene.  We were fortunate to be involved in several W&W trips with the district.  The W&W coordinators at the time, and for many years, taught us a lot of useful tidbits concerning missions.  The single most heard phrase by far was "Be flexible!"   Many cultures around the world don't put the same value on time efficiency nor as much focus on getting the job done completely and as quickly as we westerners tend to.  I used to think that I was pretty good at being flexible and, realizing that on the mission field things don't always go as you might think they should, I would manage just fine! 
Thinking about being flexible leads me to think of change.  When change comes we need to be ready to adjust our thinking, our priorities, our focus...we need to be flexible!  The past couple of years has brought some pretty dramatic changes in our lives...and it has been tough!  In some instances way tougher then we had ever dreamed.
First, was the high school graduation of our firstborn, Jessica.  It was a happy time in that she had met this milestone and did very well!  But I couldn't think about graduation without thinking about her coming departure from PNG.  And that was hard, I mean really, really hard.  God has sustained us though and we are continuing our work here in PNG while Jessica is successfully navigating life in the US as a college student.  He has given us the strength and the resources to assist all of us during the transition.

General Superintendent, Dr. David Busic with the ordinand!
Other changes have come along as well.  Some with joy and ease.  Ethan is now more than 1/2 way through his junior year of HS and doing very well.   Jeff set out a few years ago to complete the requirements to become an Ordained Elder in the Nazarene Church.  He was approved  by our home district, the East Ohio District, in May of 2014 and was ordained here in PNG on Nov 15th!  I became a great Aunt for the first time on July 16th!  We had Jessica and one of her school chums here for Christmas and then a whole bunch of MVNU students were here for January term which Jessica joined in on. 
The biggest change for me in the work place came about after much deliberation  and prayer, over a long period of time.  I  made the decision to move out of the position of Director of Medical Services.  I moved into the position in March of 2009 and so have finished nearly 6 years.  Why was it so difficult?  Well, I have given that much thought as well! I'm not sure that I have it all figured out completely.   One thing that I have come up with is that although there are aspects of the position that have been very rewarding,  it is simply not where God wants me to be right now.   And for that reason, I have lost the joy that I once had. 
Service to our great and awesome God should be a joyful experience should it not?  Oh, that's not to say trials and disappointments won't come.  We know that life is full of trials and in fact God uses those trials to grow us into the men and women He desires us to be.  I believe that if we are where God wants us to be, doing what He has for us to do, we should have a sense of deep satisfaction and joy!
There will always be changes headed straight for us!!  My prayer for you and for myself is that we will stand strong as we continue to seek God's path...and that we will remain joyfully, inexplicably flexible!!

August 24, 2014

Measles Epidemic, Tylenol shortage and much more!

There has been much happening over the past few months!  We'll just give you a few highlights!
Back in May we began seeing a few cases of measles.  Then a few more...and a few more...and then lots more!  We are still seeing measles although it seems to finally be slowing down.  You know we don't see much measles in the US. In my 3 years of residency training, I  remember just one case. Because it was such a rare occasion, the patient was brought to a meeting with all the residents in attendance in order that we could all see the characteristic signs!  It's more than just a little rash and a fever.  Measles can be a deadly disease. Pray for those still being affected by it.

So, during this time when we were seeing lots and lots of measles who tend to have high fevers for 7 - 10 days, we had no liquid Tylenol or equivalent. It becomes a bit tricky to get the doses correct when you have to start cutting tablets into halves and quarters.  A W&W team from Medford, Oregon was within a couple of days of departing the US to come here when it came to me to ask them if they would have space for a few bottles of liquid Tylenol.  They were more than happy to help!  They brought over 100 bottles which we continue to use on the ward and in the ER!

Sr. Alfreda, Pharmacy Supervisor
Then there was our oxygen shortage.  We ran out of oxygen and the company in Mt Hagen where we fill our bottles had none. Sadly, several children on the pediatric ward died during this time.  God has spoken to the hearts of some and we are now in the process of securing more oxygen concentrators for times like this.  We previously had several units but with the dirty power we were getting, before the new hydro generator was built, a lot of our machines had been destroyed.  We are reminded again to give God praise and thanks for our new hydro system and for willing hearts ready to be used by Him whenever called upon!
Nazarene Hospital is also in the midst of several building projects.  Pray for His guidance and for wise decisions each step of the way. This is His ministry and we want to do it His way and His timing!!

New Operating Theater
Soon to come will be a fully functioning second operating theater, more housing for our staff, an extension to the Emergency Room and more clinic space for our doctor's in the outpatient department.


May 23, 2014

MELSP Field Church Development

As some of you know, when I returned from Home Assignment in 2013, I started in earnest the new role I was asked to fill before we left.  That role is as Melanesia/South Pacific Field Church Development Coordinator, or in a shorter version FCDC.    I have very much enjoyed this new role that I am filling.  I will have the privilege of working with National church leaders across 7 Island nations and 16 districts that comprise the Melanesia and South Pacific fields.  I thank the Lord for the way He has already been working and for the way He will work in the days to come.   As I labor to encourage, help with training and empower our church leaders as they lead, please be in prayer that God's hand would move in a mighty way.  As we move through times of transition, growth and work to accomplish God's will for these two fields, please be in prayer that God would be glorified in all we do!   Below is a video that was put together by AP Regional Communications team to help understand a portion of what Church Development is about.   If the Lord would lead you to give financially in support of Field Church Development, below the video is some information on the Church Development "Approved Special."
 
Thank You very much for your prayers and partnership in this ministry!
 
 
video                                                                                            


Project ID# 1076 - MSP Church Development
Requesting AreaMelanesia Field
Project NameMSP Church Development
Project DescriptionFacilitating the work of the Melanesia South Pacific 'Field Church Development Coordinator’. This work involves ongoing travel across the seven countries of the Field and working closely with the National Church leaders in each of the sixteen Nazarene Districts. This work includes printing of all appropriate material and the ongoing development of each District Advisory Board, Credentials and Ministerial Studies Board as well as specific development in understanding and familiarity with Nazarene Judicial procedures. This project targets aggressive ‘Leadership Development’ at local, national and field level for the Church of the Nazarene in Melanesia South Pacific.
CatagoryLeadership
Quantity25
Price$1000.00
RequestorHarmon Schmelzenbach
Approval Effective05/21/2014
Approval Expiration05/21/2015

It's Official, Praise the Lord!

The first official water flowing down the canal, headed
 for the generator.
We have become the new water park.
 This is just a quick blog to let you know that the Kudjip Nazarene Hospital Hydro Generating Plant is up and producing power.   Clean, consistent power with no surges or spikes!  It's the way power was meant to be!!   First off we thank our Lord for His hand upon this project and helping us all the way through it to completion.   Also, thank you to a whole lot of people who have helped in various ways.   Those ways have been through financial help, back-breaking labor and good old brain power from very smart people.   The Hydro has been producing power now for about two weeks and has been doing well as we continue to work out a few bugs here and there and she continues to hum along.

At the top of the water canal as it starts the
slippery slide down to the power house.



One of those smart minds (Bill Wright)
checking out the heart and brains of the Hydro system.

May 1, 2014

Power Project Nears Completion

The team preparing the new power pole.
  This was in front of our house


It is hard to believe that what started over 2 years ago is very close to completion.  The Nazarene Hospital hydro project is within weeks of being ready to provide clean and consistent power for the hospital and mission station here at Kudjip.   April 30th was the day of dedication for the new hydro system.  Many people and dignitaries were present for the big event.  It was a beautiful day, sun shining and the Lord had blessed us with no rain during the night so things were in good shape for the day of celebration. 

The mini track hoe standing a power pole up.
One of the ITEC team working with the high wire.
Over the past few weeks we have had Bill Wright and the ITEC team here working on putting in place our new power poles and new power lines.  Along with that Bill with others have been working in the power house setting up the new hydro generator and all that goes with getting that in place.  Earl Hartwig project manager for the hydro project has done a great job these past 2 years keeping the project rolling along.   His hard work and the hard work of the various people who have been involved is greatly appreciated.  We will no longer have unexpected power outages, the power will be steady and not surging or dipping and our hospital will not loose equipment due to the power surges.  Dr. Jim Radcliffe, our surgeon, will no longer experience the lights and equipment going off in the middle of a surgery or any of our others doctors who all do various procedures that need power to accomplish them.

God has truly blessed us with those who have provided financial support and those who have added their expertise, knowledge and plain old hard work in making the hydro project a reality.  Yesterdays dedication was a testament to God's faithfulness in how He has brought together all the components needed to make this project possible.   

The day of dedication in the big tent.
After the dedication service we all made our way down to the dam for a ribbon cutting ceremony where the canal gate was opened briefly to allow the first water to flow down the canal towards the new power house and generator.   Thank you to all who have had a part in making this happen but we especially thank our Heavenly Father!

Panoramic view of the Dam.
The new generator inside the power house.
Water flowing over the new Dam.






April 17, 2014

Visiting the Jimi Valley

Panoramic view of the Bromley District Center in the Jimi Valley.
This is the river that we were collecting stone from. 
It crosses the road you travel on.
These are some of the kids and adults who were
watching the "white skins" putting stone into
the back of a Landcruiser.
As the song says, "We get by with a
 little help from our friends."


















It is very nice to visit the Jimi Valley.  It is remote, quiet, peaceful and deep in the mountains of the Highlands of Papua New Guinea.  The Jimi Valley is also home to The Bromley District here in PNG.  The district is named after William Bromley who along with his wife and family, opened the work there and who also died and is buried there.   Through the years the district has grown and is now a phase 3 district.   Our current district superintendent there is Kamda Kanzpena, and under his leadership the district is doing well.   Kamda is a great man of faith, precious and a good friend.    I was there there for 3 days this week along with other missionary guys.  We had some guests with us and went into the Jimi to show them some of the more remote places in PNG.   To get to the Bromely district you would need to either hike about 4 days over some very rough mountainous terrain or you take a 4-wheel drive vehicle that is tough and travel by road.   To call it a road, at times, is being gracious.   Forty some miles (Kudjip to Bromely district) takes anywhere from 5 to 6 hours, in 4-wheel low, depending on when the last rain fell!  We have also had reports of longer times than that.   But as one of the drivers I must confess, it is fun to go 4-wheeling.  We had a lot of fun.  We worked on adding stone to the little road into the district house where we stay when visiting the district center.  We drove about 15 minutes to the river where we would load up the Toyota Landcruiser with stone and come back and put the stone on the road and did this 3 different times.  On the way back to Kudjip we got stuck 3 times and we would put a tow strap on the front of the Landcruiser and Nationals would help pull us up the hill till we could get traction again.   It was a great time and it is always nice to see the awesome creation of our Heavenly Creator!

Randy is ministering to all God's creatures. 
This Cassowary was enjoying the music
Randy was playing for the kids.

April 11, 2014

Church Development Adventures

A little guy inside the Zion Nazarene Church
God is faithful!  As I am learning this new roll I find myself in as Field Church Development Coordinator, God is leading.   As I am being stretched in this roll God is blessing.   I was reading today from our General Superintendent David Busic's book "Perfectly Imperfect," and he was talking about Joseph and how he was faithful to God's timing, even as he sat in an Egyptian prison.  How at the right time God brought him to a place where he was second in the land only to pharaoh.   My hope is that I too will be faithful as God leads in this new roll that I find myself, that all things would come in His timing.   


Iron Bottom Sound at Honiara
A few weeks ago I made a trip to the Solomon Islands.  I met up with our FSC, Harmon Schmelzenbach, as we were there to meet with the district leaders.   It was a chance for me to meet them and introduce myself.   It was a great opportunity to meet some wonderful people.  Be in prayer for the Solomon Islands as they are recovering from devastating rain and flooding that hit them several days ago.   God is helping the Zion Nazarene Church in Honiara to be a light in some dark times there in the Solomons.  They are working hard to be the hands and feet of Jesus  to the Solomon Islanders, some who have lost just about everything.

Mounted Gun still standing guard at Henderson Field
It was really neat for me to be in the Solomons because I have done a bit of reading on World War II, since I have been living in the South Pacific these past 13 years.  The airfield we landed on is the same airfield that are Service Men fought so hard for in 1942, Henderson Field.  Iron Bottom Sound was so named because of the number of ships sunk in this body of water during the Guadalcanal Campaign.   There are still reminders of the war around Honiara.





Drove this road the final hour of my trip
The people welcoming  all invited guests.  The man with suit
& red tie is the chief of the village, he attends the Nazarene
church in his village and invited the district to have the
pastors gathering in his village. 
This sign hung above the road as we drove up.
This past week I made a trip To the Southern Highlands.   I was asked by DS Joseph if I would come and share with the pastors who were there for a week of training.   I left Tuesday morning at 6:35 am and drove over 5 hours to reach the remote village where the training was taking place.   DS Joseph greeted me with the news that at Monday night's worship service several had come forward to pray and that Tuesday morning as he was teaching Bible Trekking to the pastors and others who had gathered that 2 ladies came forward to accept Jesus as Savior.  God is moving  and we are thankful for all who have come forward during this weeks meetings.  The neat part of this is that the gathering is taking place in a village so there are villagers who have been attending the training and worship services.   I was asked if I would present Church Discipline and the process of ordination.   I thank the Lord for His help.   Tuesday evening's worship service several more people came forward as the Lord was dealing with their hearts.   My goal is to help the leadership of the Nazarene Church in PNG to feel and be equipped in building up the PNG church.   As they bring areas they feel they want training in we will be working to provide it.   These are just a couple of ways Church Development as been developing on the Melanesian & South Pacific Fields.  I appreciate the prayers and support of God's family and I ask you to please, keep lifting Church Development up to our Lord.

The path we walked to get into the area where
the pastor's training took place.







"... to equip the saints for the
work of ministry, that is, to
build up the body of Christ."
Eph. 4:12