Our Ship Has Sailed!

Photo Courtesy of YWAM Medical Ships Australia

Ahhh… we breathed a huge sigh of relief, satisfaction and gratefulness yesterday as we watched our ship sail into the horizon.

What an amazing six months it has been renovating, maintaining, and caring for this beautiful, floating hunk of metal that was given to us. It was incredibly rewarding to hug our friends tightly and watch Jared pass the gangway over and throw the last of the lines. He’s a bit sad to not be sailing this time, and fully enjoying having a relaxing evening on the couch watching TV after many late nights and long weekends of preparations. 🙂

Last we heard they were cruising along, spotting dolphins, and not too sick yet. A good sign! We’re looking forward to some great stories to come soon and will most certainly share them.

In the mean time, there is this amazing video from the former Prime Minister of PNG who shared some insightful and touching words at our annual breakfast last week. It is lengthy for a computer video, but well worth the time!

And the shorter but also inspiring news clip:

PS – If you’re looking for a good Mother’s Day gift, why not sponsor the distribution of birth kits!?

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BYO Water!?!

This has been a year of babies, babies, babies. For the past couple of months, I’ve had a friend deliver a baby at least once a week… and they’re not stopping anytime soon. I think I am up to 10 friends/acquaintances who are due the same week that I am early next year!

Just in the past few weeks, four of my girlfriends here have had beautiful little babies, all born in the comfort of our local hospital, with wonderful care to keep them and their mamas safe.

That’s why I was shocked when I read this as my own little one kicked around in my belly this afternoon:

“A sign at the front of the hospital in [Papua New Guinea] reads, ‘Women in labour must bring their own water.'” — Fraser Coast Chronicle

Holy. Cow. There are no words. There are absolutely no words.

And this coming from a girl who has been studying health care in PNG for the past number of years, spending this very week up late at night writing up our current strategies while Jared helps to outfit the new waiting area onboard our medical ship, knowing full well that 1 in 7 women in rural PNG will die during childbirth…

Knowing Molly’s story intimately… Molly the sweet newborn girl who didn’t live… but has inspired hundreds to take compassionate action…

Knowing that for many of these women, clean water is actually quite hard to come by in the best of circumstances, much less in the middle of contractions.

And yet, as upsetting as it seems that a woman would have to BYO water to deliver a baby in a hospital, also knowing that it is still probably the best possible place to deliver and the ones who get to go there are truly the lucky ones.

I guess some days it hits you harder. Fresher. A deeper knowing. Deeper motivation to keep on keeping on to do what we can to change it… for more to have life to the max.

Let it be…

Max visiting a remote village in PNG earlier this year.

The Sweetest Home, Sweet Home

Did we have to leave?!

We had such an amazing time in Papua New Guinea. I am still working on getting our stories updated. We had trouble with internet and then trouble with  pictures but I’ve uploaded a couple now and will continue to do so – with or without pictures! – over the next few days.

Because it was amazing and you will love it.

It was hard to say goodbye but we are making the most of our time at home.

And I do mean the most.

Cookie baking most.

There’s something in this egg kinda most.

Making messes most.

It is sweet to be home… and I don’t just mean the chocolate. I mean, the richness of family. The fresh gratefulness for every single thing we have. The feeling that our bed… our house… our yard… is absolutely huge. And luscious. Grocery stores stocked with food. Friends next door.

And then there’s Jesus. This has been an incredible season to remember and reflect on His sweetness.

It is sweet to be home.

Linking Up with the Paper Mama's Multicolored Challenge

The Paper Mama

We’re Home.. And it was AMAZING.

We’re home and it was amazing. Amazing as in the “Oh, do we really have to go home!?” sort of way.

And when you hear how ridiculously challenging it was, you’ll know that the statement above is truly a miracle.

We’ve had major internet troubles since arriving home. Ironic in one way after a month with nearly no communication and yet it just makes us grateful for our wonderful friends/coworkers who are working so hard to get it up and running well!!

All of this to say, surprise!! No update yet… but I typed a few on my phone and they’ll be coming soon.

We missed you. And we’re grateful for your prayers and welcome homes.

For now, we are spending our long weekend eating mandarins, feet soaking in a wading pool, hands stained with easter egg dye, hearts grateful for the Saviour. Oh yeah, its a seriously good Friday.

Finding Family in Unlikely Places

Stephanie is one of the girls on our media team. She has a hidden talent for sharing really good stories. So good, in fact, that I’m going to share one of them with you to give a bit of a picture into life in PNG… and what YOU are a part of there!

Enjoy!

As we were going to Orokolo Bay for our last week I turned to my friend and said, “Im going to make a best friend here,” and she said… “OK” ( She probably didnt believe me.)

So off I went in search for a best friend. During our welcoming kids were coming up and grabbing our hands left and right. But alas I had no buddy to walk with (Maybe it was because I was taking photos and kids were a bit frightened of me. which happened suprisingly often. I somehow made a habit out of making kids cry. Good times.)

I was a little bit defeated and decided to get on with my life and do what I came here to do. Halfway into the morning I sat outside the clinic visiting with the locals who were waiting to see the doctor and snapped a couple photos. And as I was taking photos… I saw him… I saw my new best friend! I didnt even care if he wanted to be or not. I was determined to win this kid over.

His name is Konkii and I sat with him and his mum and found out he was the one in line to see the doctor. He has been pretty sick for a while and they didn’t know what was wrong, so to tide them over until he got in to see our doctors I was determined to teach them something and decided on the peace sign because I think its funny. As you can see, my first few attempts kind of failed. Good effort anyways.

By the time he went into our clinic they were pro stars at the peace sign and even mastered the pound it handshake and he was all smiles. But dispite that we found out he was pretty sick with malaria and worms. Classic PNG child illnesses.

We were able to help him out and put him on some malaria medication and also give him some deworming pills which they never normally would have been able to afford.

They went home soon after and as they were walking away I was a little dissapointed, thinking my best friend just slipped through my fingers and I wouldn’t see him again.

BUT, it turns out that his family lived close by and came back to the clinic to say hi every day until we left. I would sometimes see him peeking through a crowd smiling shyly and holding up a peace sign in my direction. And other times he would be at my feet holding up very unripe guava for me in his hands with the biggest grin on his face. Knowing I would never eat them I just thanked him each time and put them in my billum he gave me with the rest of them.

The day we left I carried him through his village to our awaiting boat and every time we passed any of his family they would all say, “Oh look! its Konkii’s sister!”
Apparantly peace signs and pound it handshakes are ways to be adopted into a family in PNG. Yay!

Outreach In Focus: Thursday Island

Beautiful Thursday Island

If it looks like a beautiful island paradise, that’s because it is! But people live on beautiful island paradises too. And people need love… so to beautiful island paradises we go!

Two weeks ago while we were in Cairns, we also sent off an outreach team from the wonderful April Discipleship Training School that Jared has been leading. After spending the week in Cairns sharing with high school students, the team sailed off to Thursday Island where they have spent the last week.

Saying goodbye...

TI (as its commonly referred to) is part of Australia but it is a world away. Off the coast of Australia, it is far more like the stereotypical Pacific Islands rather mainland Australia.

And the people are GORGEOUS.

Precious Ones!

Known as Torres Strait Islanders (Thursday Island is one of the Torres Strait Islands) they are generous, loving, fun and one of our favourite people groups in the entire country.

The team, led by our good friends Johannes and Shauna (who have been staffing the DTS with Jared) have had a great week walking around the Island, being immersed in a totally different culture, making new friends, sharing in schools and helping build hope around the message “I WANT TO LIVE.”

The Fabulous Team

Thursday Island is very close to Papua New Guinea. In fact, many of the Torres Strait people look very similar to people from the region of PNG that is nearby. So much so that there is actually a treaty that allows PNG people who live in that region to come in their little tinnies to the Torres Strait for health care, etc. We hope to collaborate with both the Australian & PNG stakeholders in taking the ship to PNG.

A bigger ship will make a BIG difference