Tag Archives: Papua New Guinea

A Medical Evacuation Every Day…and Then This One!


When I received this message from one of our pilots, Paul Woodington, who serves along with his wife Clare in Wewak, one of our 6 MAF bases, situated on the N. Coast of Papua New Guinea, I had to share it with you!  Be sure to read to the end…you will be blessed!


I send you this email about yesterday’s drama for me and the Wewak team. The Pryors are a very thankful family for the help we provide for their family and ministry…yesterday it was extra special.

Jesse Pryor is a second generation missionary in PNG. They have built a clinic and many times we have helped MEDEVAC seriously ill patients.

Yesterday I received a request to MEDEVAC Jesse’s son out of Samban. It was one of the most difficult and complex decision making tasks I have undertaken. But, we did our utmost to help.

It was late. I was already flying a MEDEVAC from Edwaki to Wewak, a man with a broken leg lying down in the plane in considerable pain. The Caravan was over half full and heavy. Yet, the task was to divert for an hour late in the day. Land in Samban. Pick up the family of four, three of which are large. Think about the weight and tail-wind for takeoff. Factor in a draggy surface penalty and recent rain. How low was the fuel? What reserves did I have?  How close to last light? Could the man with the broken leg manage another hour in the plane?

On the surface, it seems I would not be ticking many boxes so I declined. After a rethink, I found I could tick all the boxes if I diverted direct to Samban not via Wewak. Jacob (base agent) was invaluable acting as intermediary between myself on the radio and the very concerned father.

So, we lifted 10 people out of Samban, one a small baby. The Caravan with a four knot tailwind became airborne half way along the strip passing 200 ft over the fence.

It made me realise how fantastic this plane is and to thank God for His wonderful provision of the Cessna Caravan for the SEPIK area of Papua New Guinea. As I engaged the autopilot and looked back at the load, I felt a pang, a tear jerking sensation. I experienced a real community feeling on board.  Elijah, the Pryor’s son with a burst appendix, was throwing up in a bag comforted by his big sister. Another woman was attending to the man with a broken leg, which was badly swollen. Katie, Jesse’s wife, was showing another lady their newly adopted PNG baby. I shared what was left of my lunch and passed around water, and gave pain killers to the stretcher patient.

I want to share this with you because this plane makes a real difference to people’s lives. The Pryor family needed us for their own family this time. We were able to help in the most difficult of circumstances. Not many planes would have fuel for an hour diversion or the capacity to lift this load out of a marginal airstrip.

When the plane landed at Wewak, it was near dark due to the overcast. When I got home it was dark.

This week I have done a MEDEVAC every day. Despite the difficult times we are all living, the mission community here is pulling together!


Here in Papua New Guinea, on average, we fly 41 flights each day, visit more than 200 airstrips (communities) each month, and provide more than 500 medical evacuations each years.  For many of those living in these communities, we are their only connection to the outside world, short of a several days walk…a walk that in this case… for this missionary family… would have been impossible with a ruptured appendix.

This is only possible because of the MAF Family.  This family is a united team across multiple countries and cultures.  You are part of this team – and we thank you so very much.  Thank you for your continued prayers, partnership (encouragement and financial) and for your commitment to impacting the isolated people of the world with the transformative message of hope and healing through Christ.

Yours and His for the harvest,

Todd & Connie Lou

Our MAF US Profile and Donation Page

Nazarene Missionary Recovering from Emergency Surgery at Nazarene Hospital in Papua New Guinea


This has been a difficult few weeks for team members on the Asia-Pacific Region. While we normally try not to flood your inboxes, we so greatly appreciate your partnership in ministry and want to keep you alerted to those needs for special and urgent prayer.

Rachael Thompson, wife of Jordon Thompson, Nazarene missionaries in Papua New Guinea, underwent successful emergency surgery on Monday, January 12, 2015, at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital.  We are so thankful for the team of physicians and caring national medical staff who have come alongside the Thompsons during their time of need.

Rachael and Jordon serve at the Kudjip Mission Station, where Jordon oversees facilities maintenance.

Please pray for Rachael’s continued recovery and for the ongoing healthy development of their unborn baby.

Update on Dr. Jim Radcliffe – Missionary Doctor to Kudjip Nazarene Hospital – Papua New Guinea


Please continue to pray for Dr. Jim Radcliffe and his family, as Jim’s recent heart troubles were likely the result of  having had a heart attack, at some point in the past.  His symptoms are improving on medication, and he will be traveling home to the US, with the PNG quiz team, to get further evaluation next week.

(See the previous post in the blog for more information – if you missed it.)

When you find out that God is all you have…you realize that He is truly all you need!


Jungle Airstrip In West Africa with "Friendlies"
Jungle Airstrip In West Africa with “Friendlies”

Over the years throughout our various ministry assignments, we have faced situations that have definitely “pushed the envelope” on our comfort zones.  Most people have!

Whether that was flying through the feeder bands of a typhoon with a medical evacuation patient while Connie was in a small village clinic giving birth to our daughter, or whether it was coordinating the evacuation  of 25 missionaries out of a city under rebel siege, five at a time with our small mission plane; we have more than once been granted the opportunity to place our trust entirely in God.

Perhaps I had become a bit comfortable…or perhaps God was needing to prepare me for what is yet to come.

Flying over the interior of Papua New Guinea
Flying over the interior of Papua New Guinea

I’m not sure, but during my recent trip to Papua New Guinea, one of those “situations” presented itself yet again.

Just getting oneself to Kudjip Nazarene Hospital in Papua New Guinea is no small feat. It requires juggling several flights, covering some of the most expensive air miles found anywhere in the world, landing at Port Moresby, taking a smaller plane to Mount Hagen, and then riding in a Toyota Land Cruiser for another hour over roads that some would consider less than smooth (editorial understatement here).

Some of the greatest guys you will meet!
Some of the greatest guys you will meet!

When you finally get there, you find some of the most gracious, committed, compassionate souls on earth.  Both expat mission personnel and nationals await with smiles, open arms, and generosity beyond measure.  They are a tight knit team…and given the situations they face on a regular basis…they need to be.

One night while eating dinner with Tim and Karla Deule, Global Serve Missionaries with the Church of the Nazarene, one of the other mission team members came knocking at the door.  “Todd, Connie has been trying to reach you, she just sent me a message, you need to get in touch with her as soon as possible.”   Those kinds of messages are seldom good news.  “Can you tell me anything else,” I asked.  Hesitantly and carefully, the team member said, “Your daughter is in the emergency room in Idaho and possibly has a blood clot in her lungs.”

My medical training kicked into overdrive.  Pulmonary embolisms (blood clot in the lung) are never something one hopes to experience.  My mind raced to the knowledge of a dear friend’s son who in his late 20s passed away of just such an issue, just a few years ago.  Then the pilot side of my brain kicked in plan A, Plan B, …what flights were there out of here…how would I get to Mt. Hagen, Port Moresby, Manila……

As I left Tim and Karla’s house to go find a way to connect with Connie for the whole story, the reality of the situation set in.  Me…whose top strengths include “arranger” could arrange nothing.  There could be very few more remote areas in the world from which to try and respond.  Limited phone, internet, travel…I was beyond my ability to fix it…and then the reality came that it wasn’t my job to fix it…it was my job to trust.

Peaceful Early Morning Sunrise, Dusin Mission Station, PNG
Peaceful Early Morning Sunrise, Dusin Mission Station, PNG

“Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again; Rejoice! Let our gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:4-7

God provided in so many ways.  I am so thankful that He allowed me to be with some of the greatest brothers and sisters in Christ.  Thank you so much Kudjip family for gathering together and praying, encouraging, and believing.

Whatever your “situation” God is truly all you need…because He will provide what you need…when you need it (thanks honey…I have heard you say that many times).   He provided for Jess…as she is doing much better now…for Connie with peace in Manila…and for me…with peace and a team that took our daughter to the arms of our heavenly father in prayer when this earthly father was not able to “fix it.”

Thank you all for your continued prayers, encouragement, and commitment to being part of our team!