Tag Archives: PNG

Disaster Response in PNG


IMG_7722Five days after returning from my time in the US to say goodbye to my brother @curtlandreth and spend time supporting my family after his loss, we experienced the most severe earthquake PNG has had at 7.6 on the richter scale.  We woke around 3:42am to the bed shaking and soon realized the whole house was shaking severely.  We thought we would ride it out and stayed in bed for a few more seconds.  When we realized it was not ending and the shaking actually intensified, Todd suggested we get out of the house as it is on stilts and perhaps not built to withstand such a force.  I grabbed my cell phone and torch (flashlight for you Americans) put on my robe and headed for the door.  Todd was trying to get the keys into the locks while swaying with the quake as it continued to roll.  One door open, then working on the metal security door, finally getting that open as well and we were outside!  We quickly went down the stairs and away from the house as the earth continued to shake.  It slowly started to quiet down and our pulse rates with it.

Todd headed to the other compounds to check on staff, and called others.  Thankfully we were able to get back to sleep as the power was now out and so an early morning in the office was not going to be very productive, and with that severe of a shake, the possibility of fissures in the road was likely and so traveling in the daylight was deemed to be much more prudent.

IMG_7811

The aftershocks continued and were at a level of 4.0-6.0 and are still occurring three days later as I write this update.

Tuesday morning I was briefed on the need for photos of the area and so Mandy Glass who is the Comms Officer for our Base and I climbed into a Caravan with her husband Mathias flying along with Luke Newell and three Government Disaster Response Team members.

The photos were sent to MAF I Disaster Response and Security to review and issue a press release.  You can see that below, along with a link and directions on how to view the images on a google map so that you can see the exact location where the picture was taken.

Please keep PNG in your prayers! Pray for safety as our pilots continue to do med-evac flights and for those on the ground helping people dig out from the numerous land slides. Pray that MAF will continue to see isolated people physically and spiritually transformed in the name of Jesus as we work with different agencies and organizations in the response to this disaster.

 

173 Earthquake Survey Flight[2]173 Earthquake Survey Flight[3]

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!