August 24, 2015

It's That Time of Year Again!

It happens once a year, and for our kids here at Kudjip station, it has come, THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!   Ethan and the rest of the MKs started school today.    Ethan was up early got a workout in and was ready to head off to school at about 7:50.   Pray for Ethan and Alison Dooley as this is their Senior year of High School.   Please pray that they will have a good year filled with fun and good memories and pray for them as they will also be looking ahead to college, which is coming up quickly on their horizon.   You can pray for their moms and dads also.   For us Ethan will be the child who leaves and will officially make us "empty nesters."   For the Dooleys Alison will be the first child to leave the nest, and in each situation there will be challenges.   But we thank the Lord for our kids and know that He has them in the palm of His hand just as He has each one of us!
Teacher Cilla and the MKs hard at work on the first day of school!

August 23, 2015

Fire Takes Out 3 National Workers Homes

About 9 AM Friday morning, a fire broke out in a staff residence on Kudjip Station in Papua New Guinea.  There were no injuries.

The cause of the fire is unknown.  The fire started in one unit of a triplex, and quickly spread to the other two units.  Two small temporary buildings were also destroyed.  The units are all occupied by staff members of Nazarene Hospital.  No one was in any of the units; the children were all in school, the adults apparently at work.

All three families lost most of their possessions, though quick-acting neighbors and passers-by were able to get some items out of the second and third units before they caught fire.  Many hospital staff members, neighbors, passers-by and missionaries rushed to the scene intending to help, but there was little that could be done.

The fire is not believed to be related to the current drought in PNG.  The building had a steel roof.  Kudjip station has had several minor grass fires in the past weeks, due to the dry conditions, but the house fire appeared to have erupted within the house.  No other buildings were threatened.

The house was in an area known as “Airstrip”, an allusion to the runway that was located there in the early days of the mission work at Kudjip.  It is occupied primarily by hospital staff.  No missionary homes are located in that area.

Co-workers, neighbors and missionaries have come to the aid of the three families.  Nazarene Health Ministries has provided them with alternative housing and emergency funds.  There have been donations of clothing, food, money, and other essentials.

The residents of the units include 2 CHWs (Community Health Workers, similar to a Certified Nurse Aid in the US), and the Medical Records officer.  All are long-term members of the staff.

Kudjip Station is the location of Nazarene Hospital, Nazarene College of Nursing, and the offices of the Melanesia/South Pacific Field of the Church of the Nazarene.
Article written by DR Andy Bennett / Photos by Jeff

August 17, 2015

Snow Could Be Next ... !

I know, living in a tropical paradise, not to far from the equator, for most people is a reason to rejoice.   I also know, that some times the joke is made that we are suffering for Jesus in the tropical paradise called Papua New Guinea.   When January comes around and some of you are looking at 0 degrees on the thermometer and we sit basking in 80 degrees with gentle breezes, it is hard to feel sorry for us, I understand, really, I do!

But currently, in our tropical paradise, we are suffering one of the most severe droughts in our 14 years of service here.   We have had only one decent rain in the last 6 weeks.   Some of our National friends have made comments as well missionaries, about the fact, their water tanks are about out and for our National friends, that water for their gardens is a struggle to fined.   In the PNG culture, the garden is very instrumental to survival.

Last week our temperatures were in the 40s with the lowest I saw, being 42 degrees.   It has been years since I have seen a 40 degree temperature and that was one night at 48 degrees.   For people, who are used to low 60 degree temperatures overnight, to be in the low 40s is just downright cold!   One man from the Enga Province, that I talked with, who is from a higher elevation than Kudjip's 5200 feet, said they had frost that did damage to their gardens.   When the skies are clear of clouds the temperatures fall.   We thank the Lord the last 2 night have been at normal overnight temperatures!

The lack of rain also influences our Hydro Electric system.   The river that supplies the water to our Hydro system is very low and no longer flows over the dam.   To keep water in the river we have had to open one of the gates a bit
to let water pass through.   We would appreciate your prayers for rain to fall again in the highlands of PNG.  God is faithful and our trust is in Him.

Updated on the 20th: Received a text from one of DSes here in the Highlands asking for me to send out a prayer request.   Many churches and people are being very severely effected by the lack of rain and he report that on his district they have also experienced frost.  It is getting harder for our nationals to find water for daily needs and to keep their gardens alive.  Please keep lifting PNG up in prayer.  I read from Psalms 24 this morning and verses one and 2 state,
The river bed that you see is usually cover with
water to some degree.
" The earth is the Lords and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for He founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters."   Our Heavenly Father knows our needs!
Thank You for your prayers!

August 12, 2015

PNGs National Pastor's Conference


This past week (August 3-7) the 10th National Pastor's Conference took place in Port Morseby, Papua New Guinea.   The Pastors Conference is held every four years on one of the 12 PNG Nazarene Districts around the country, it varies each time.   I was able to be there for 3 days as a fellow Elder and to
Praying around the alter following APRD Mark Louw's sermon.
encourage as the Melanesia/South Pacific Field Church Development Coordinator.    It was an encouragement to me to see several pastor friends whom I have not seen for a while due to various reasons and in some cases it is the remoteness of where they pastor.   Nearly 700 pastors converged on Port Morseby for a week long time of learning, growing and allowing the Lord to lead and speak to their hearts, it was awesome to see.
Our Asia Pacific Regional Director, Rev. Mark Louw, preached two very powerful messages on
DS Ako Arua and the worship team for the Conference
Holiness and Mission and both nights the alters were full of pastors who were wanting to be even more like their Lord and Savior. God is moving in their lives.    Rev. Kafoa and Aggie Muaror, DS of Fiji, shared with our pastors on marriage and family issues.  There was laughter and tears as they shared from their experience and as they were able to connect with their Melanesian brothers and sisters.
Rev. Kafoa & Aggie Muaror sharing about marriage and family.
The fair grounds where the pastors conference was held was a short walk from the National Parliment Building in Papua New Guinea's Capitol City.   Nearly 700 pastors marched on Parliment to lift up their leaders and country in prayer, praying that God would be honored and glorified in their country's government.
It was a great time of worship, fellowship and growing in the Lord.   The Lord was lifted up and pastors were empowered and refreshed in the power of the Holy Spirit.   Please, keep lifting our pastors up in prayer before the Lord.

June 17, 2015

CBHC - Reaching the Most Remote


Matthew Galman is the director of Community Based Health Care for Nazarene Health Ministries here in PNG.  The primary goal of CBHC is to educate communities on how best to care for themselves in day-to-day living, including using clean water, disposing of human and other waste material in a safe way and other basics for maintaining good health along with a healthy dose of evangelism!  A couple of weeks ago on June 1st Matthew and a few others traveled out to Yifki/Hewa, a very remote area of PNG, in order to provide teaching.  Below are some excerpts from a letter Matthew wrote highlighting his trip.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The Hewa, in Enga province, remains one of the most remote jungle tribes in Papua New Guinea. It has absolutely no form of basic services, such as health and education.  Infant and maternal mortality rate in this area is very high. People die from simple curable and preventable illnesses.

The saddest of all, is the ongoing murder of women due to sorcery related accusations.  Due to lack of education, people have been left in the dark still, in this 21st century. I have been told that if someone dies, immediately they would accuse a woman and or the evil spirits living in trees, in the ground or in the river.  If a baby dies during childbirth or before reaching the age of five, the fathers and the sons believe the mother is a witch and should be killed. All the men in the community will torture and eventually kill her. They have been practicing this for generations.

 John 8:12 tells us that Jesus is the light of the world. I see that there is a certain darkness that is as black as night in PNG. It is the animistic practices and the belief in sorcery and witchcraft that leads to  the slaughtering of innocent lives. It is therefore a stronghold of the evil one that continues to keep people in bondage and suffering. 

I praise God for an opportunity for us to be able to reach out to the Hewa people. Luke 4:18 says: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captive and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed”. Our week of CBHC training was a real blessing. We taught them the real causes of diseases, illnesses, sufferings and deaths. That it is not the evil spirits or witchcraft. It is the germs (bacteria, viruses, fungus etc.)  We spent time talking about personal and community health and hygiene like hand washing, proper disposal of waste, clean and safe drinking water, nutrition, proper ventilation in family homes and more. At the end of our training session, we led the community for the first time to work together to build two toilets along with simple hand washing stations (tippy taps).

In 2012 Mathew made his first trip into Hewa with Dr. Allen Sawyer, an OB/Gyn from the US.  At that time much effort was put into teaching about safe labor and delivery practices. Matthew was impressed to find out that three women out of the many that attended have continued to save the lives of mothers and babies during childbirth. They are now the village birth attendants!

Matthew closed his letter with the following Prayer Requests/Points.  Please do remember Matthew and the work of CBHC as they minister to many of PNG’s rural and remote communities.  

Prayer points. 
1. Pray that CBHC will be able to return to the Hewa as planned April 4-11th 2016. Pray for money for plane tickets for not only one trip but a couple of trips back in 2016. This will allow more time for CBHC to really help the people address the root causes of disease along with the evil that has led to the murdering of innocent women.

2.  Pray for the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to reach throughout the jungle and for the continued translation efforts of the New Tribes missionaries in Hewa.  Pray also for the new converts who are taking the word to other tribes. Pray for Gods protection on the missionaries.
3. Pray for the intervention of the government in these areas of darkness. Pray that law and order will be enforced and that there will be no more killings. Pray that basic health and education services will be provided by the government. 

4. Pray for MAF PNG. Without them, it would be nearly impossible to reach out to the Hewa tribe.

June 16, 2015

Those wild and crazy kids!

 Well the kids have completed another year of school and are moving on to the next grade, or at least I have not heard anything to the contrary.   So now that they have time on their hands they come up with some crazy ideas.  The other night they wanted to eat supper on the roof of the Radcliffe's house and then the plan was to follow that up with the first of the  "Lord of the Rings" movie.   Well in PNG, as can be the case, it rained so dinner on the roof was postponed and later became lunch on the roof.   In the picture they are sitting under the solar water heater and tank to stay out of the sun.  These are kids on a hot tin roof!  In a couple of weeks they will be headed to NYC in the States and in that time frame they will be saying good bye to Zach who graduated and will be staying in the States to start college in the fall.   We appreciate your prayers for our kids as they travel and say good bye to Zach.

Aren't they just precious!
pictures by Cilla Radcliffe

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!!