Saturday, February 28, 2009

11 new staff, 30 new students!

Don't forget to pray for all the kids climbing trees in 'accident season'Bush fruit high up on a tree


Praise God that we have been able to employ 11 new nursing or CHW staff. Once all these new staff arrive, we will have a good level of staff here at the hospital & all our health centres fully staffed, including extra staff at Obo and Dome - places where there is a big need for public health work to address tuberculosis and leprosy (yes, leprosy is not some disease of the past, it is here in PNG). We will also have all of our aidposts staffed AND be putting staff in new areas (like Ok Au for now and later, hopefully, Tumo River, Wakela and Habi). Please pray for these new staff, particularly the ones who will go to the bush. It can be very challenging being out in a village with no other educated people around, poor facilities, poor equipment and noone who speaks your language. Pray for communities to be very supportive of their new health workers and for progress in addressing basic health issues such as maternal and child health, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.

CHW Robert and family moving to FUMA

In order to move our staff around, take supplies to them and bring in patients we depend heavily on air transport and are very thankful to have MAF based here at Rumginae. Please pray for MAF with some recent changes occuring. There have been some medical issues recently upsetting the MAF staff numbers. Pray for the Barrett-Lennard family who have moved to Goroka to take up Twin Otter flying, pray for Matt and Linsey Painter on leave in Australia. Praise God that Mike Bottrell was able to make a special trip to PNG at a busy time with health workers moving, teachers moving & CHW students trying to come. Pray now for Harold Hall who will be here for 3 months, for the Ebel family here for 1-2 weeks (Tom is really looking forward to seeing Josh) and for the Velvin family planning to come later in the year.

loading patients into the Airvan at BalimoMatt Painter loading sick patients at Balimo




Lenticular cloud seen from 10000 ft with no mountains around to produce a standing wave

The hospital have also farewelled James - our very capable midwife who then transferred to the CHW School. He is now working up in the Southern Highlands. Pray he would continue to be an effective witness for Christ.

James Robin and family moving to Tari

We are so thankful for our friends who help us in the hosue. Praise God for the help of Judy. Pray for Linsy who is starting high school again this year - we will miss her.

Tammy, Tom, Rosie and Sam with Judy and Linsy

Please pray for the finishing of Term 1 of home school. We thank God for His love and care for us as we work together each day.

Rosie and Daniel reading Braille on a packet of medicine for school

Please do pray for the Community Health Worker Training School. The 'new' curriculum (we have graduated 3 years of students through this now) is demanding and fairly intense for students and teachers. Pray for Amos (principal) and tutors Wana, Sara, Dowa, Sharon and a new tutor about to start.

Sara and Wana - CHW School tutors

Medically, the hospital is still fairly busy. We are up to 9 caesarians for the year already, 2 in one day this week, one last night. When you read 'caesarian' this really means hours worth of assessing a patient, trying to avoid a caesarian, monitoring closely, deciding there is a need to operate, setting up theatre and baby resuscitation etc, transferring the patient, giving the anaesthetic and operating... then dealing with any post op complications. Please pray for Addy and Daniel who are feeling tired.

Apart from the dramatic caesarians, there is also E**a with more fevers again and very unwell, a man with a very large burn on his leg which has had a skin graft put on - pray that the new skin would grow there. There are many other sick patients and pregnant mothers with potential complications. Pray for Addy in Kiunga this week giving part of an inservice to 60 health workers - her topics are Snake Bite and Post Partum Haemorrhage We really do rely on your prayers.

It has also been a very busy time with people coming and going.

We are looking forward to our missionary conference at the end of March and a short break at that time.

God Bless

Daniel, Tammy, Tom, Rosie and Sam

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Well, what a difference 8 1/2 inches can make (overnight)....


3pm 14th Feb with the digger on the girls island

9am Feb 15th - the digger has retreated












After 210mm of rainfall in one night, the island has almost disappeared... and the diggers have retreated for a while.

On Thursday, the morning ward round was delayed as we discussed repairing radios for all our outstations with a team put in place by the Ok Tedi Mine. A lot has happened and a lot is planned to improve things like communication, immunisation cold chain etc.

On the ward round Addy and I were thrilled to be able to say to Ad**ei that she has recovered so well, with no fever and everything working, that she can go home! Thank you for your prayers for her recovery after a nasty episode of appendicitis. We were also able to discharge the next 2 patients on the ward round!

The 4th patient E**a is an 8 year old girl who is very sick. She almost certainly has tuberculosis based on the symptoms and signs she has and the tests we have been able to do. BUT, she is getting worse, not better, despite TB treatment. We added a 5th drug to her TB regime today. She has to swallow so many tablets every day. Her parents were sure she was getting better last week after they consulted with someone to sort out any problems that may be affecting her health (ie anyone who has put a curse or caused her illness through magic). Please pray for healing, for the family at this difficult time physically and spiritually, and for God to receive the glory. Please pray that people would come to understand the freedom they can have when they turn to Jesus who can forgive our sins. Fear of magic and sorcery is such a real bondage. Yesterday I spoke on the radio to a father who wants to bring his child 150km to see us because someone has done magic to his son. The same day, there was a request to hire the hospital ambulance to take a dead body to another village because if it was buried in the village where she lived, the other village would charge them K20,000 compensation ($11,500). It is a very big part of day to day life as health workers in PNG to be dealing with issues related to magic, sorcery, fear of the dead and other spirits, false beliefs about wealth coming from graves etc. Please pray for all our health workers (including doctors!!) and for the church as we try to address some of these issues.

Addy finished the busy wardround herself Thursday while I travelled to Kiunga. Every 2nd Thursday we now do ultrasound scans at Kiunga hospital. 11 patients were able to have an ultrasound scan. It is a great opportunity to teach the staff, provide a useful service, and intervene in the management of patients who might otherwise turn up unannounced with bigger problems. It is also a chance to support the doctors now working at Kiunga - Sr Joseph (hospital) and Dr Charlie (OTML). Kiunga has had no doctors for 13 years, except for very short times. Kiunga is a very large town. Now is a great time for us to all work together to build up Kiunga hospital to as good a standard as possible.

When I thought I had finished scanning and ready to drive home, I was presented with a lady in labour. The baby was breech and she was having some difficulty. Along with the ultrasound machine, quite a few boxes of medicines, my shopping, a 44gallon drum of fuel, 2 other patients and 1 staff, this lady (and her 3 relatives) piled into the Hilux and came along with us to Rumginae. It was a very big baby, too big to come the usual way, and it had started to come feet first. At 1030pm I finally got home after Addy and I delivered the baby by Caesarian section. It is a big, healthy boy.

There are many other patients on the ward who need your prayers. Please pray also for our supplies problems - the fuel is running out too fast because the only generator that works is the really really big one. We have needed it on overnight for oxygen using even more fuel.

Dedication of new Mitsubishi Fuso

On Friday, I missed most of the ceremony - being busy in the operating theatre - but just got out in time to see the ribbon being cut during the dedication service for the new truck. The local community, hospital, church all came together to praise God for the way He provides for us and to dedicate the truck and indeed ourselves and all that we use to serve Him this year.

New group of CHW students at front of church

Lastly, speaking of dedications. On Sunday, we welcomed a new batch of Community Health Worker students to Rumginae. They come from many different parts of PNG. They come from many different religious backgrounds. We are looking forward to getting to know them, working with them, mentoring them and helping as much as we can over the next 2 years of their course. Please pray for this group of 30 young men and women.

God Bless

Daniel, Tammy, Tom, Rosie and Sam


Down the creek, upside down, floating away and definitely without a paddle

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Prayer Update

You can probably tell by the time stamp on this that it is 345am and I am awake. I have been across to the hospital to help a mother having some problems in labour. The baby will probably be born and the ward will ring again just after I get to sleep! On this topic, it has been busy lately and Addy and I are both tired. (Mike is at a medical conference in Thailand). Please pray for wisdom as we make decisions about the management of each patient, and for some rest and refreshment.

Patients to pray for include:

  • A**yai who is finally starting to recover having not eaten for about 12 days (ileus after appendicectomy for ruptured appendix). We were really getting worried about her.
  • E**a who is a very unwell 4 year old girl. She has been sick now for many weeks with fevers in particular. She started to improve with treatment for presumed tuberculosis. This coincided with the family having paid someone to undo the sorcery which is causing her illness. Now she is getting sicker again. This is a difficult situation, but typical. Many, many people believe that sickness is a result of sorcery or magic. People are terrified of sorcery and magic. Gal 5:1 Christ has set us free so that we may enjoy the benefits of freedom. So keep on standing firm in it, and stop attaching yourselves to the yoke of slavery again.

    (For those who are interested, I discussed the interaction of belief in sorcery and Christian healthcare in an ABC radio interview recently: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/encounter/stories/2008/2391820.htm )


  • Pray for our sick babies:
    • one from Fuma born very 'flat' (unwell) to a very young mother. This baby was fitting, not feeding and needing oxygen but is slowly improving.
    • Another baby which is also fitting
    • A 950g baby born to a mother on tuberculosis treatment. Surprisingly the baby seems to be doing ok so far
  • A very sick young girl with skin abscesses, chest infection and liver abscesses/cyst. She probably has mellioidosis which we hope will respond to the medicines we are giving her
  • It is accident season with a lot of bush fruit on tall trees and children climbing up high to get them. Pray for Ip**n with a head injury who is thankfully slowly recovering after being hit by a fallen branch while climbing a tree.

There have been other challenging circumstances today, such as the switch box for the generators blowing up and causing one of the generators that was not being used to catch fire. Thankfully, the power was restored again later this afternoon after we dashed down to Kiunga in the ambulance to get an electrician.


We are very thankful that the new partnership in health between all health providers in the North Fly (Ok Tedi Mining, ECPNG, Catholic and Government) is going well. Even apart from the infrastructure and capital building value of this (such as a new truck, HF radios, vaccine fridges, some new staff houses etc), there is a real sense of everyone wanting to do better. As an example, we are starting to pick up and treat more TB patients and there is a feeling of optimism about the difference we can make. This is a very crucial time for us to be building into the health services of the entire area and even entire Province. Please pray for the doctors here as we use this time to urge all of us involved in health to do everything we can to reduce death and disease. In practical terms this means travelling to Kiunga to do ultrasounds and support Sr. Dr Joseph, teaching CHW students and staff here as well as wherever we have the opportunity. We will be teaching at 2 in-services in Kiunga soon. It also means having meetings and making group decisions. Could I please ask for your prayers at this crucial time, for wisdom, guidance, unity. Also for support and that we would all have a willingness to work together well and support each other.

And, yes, praise God for the new truck which has arrived as part of this program funded by Ok Tedi Mining.

Thank God that Kiunga now have a doctor... and a very good one at that! Sr. Dr Joseph is a 70yr old English nun (Passion of Christ). Sr is a specialist vascular surgeon. Rosie has a very special friendship with her, constantly giving her flowers and seeds and talking about gardens! We are so glad to have Sr. Joseph there in Kiunga.






15 Community Health Workers graduated from the CHW Training school last week – the third group under the new curriculum. Pray them these young men and women as they go out into the workforce that they would be going as ambassadors for Christ. Pray also for the 30 new students who start lessons this week and are here for 2 years.





That's enough hospital news for now. Please continue to pray for Tammy, Tom and Rosie with home schooling. Hopefully there will be more routine this week. It is hard to home-school with so many interruptions and visitors etc. Also, Tom and Rosie are still behaving like it is school holidays.

We really enjoyed having a friend Sarah here from Bathurst. She really fitted in very well and managed to get lots and lots of fix-it jobs done as well as become involved in the community.

Health-wise, we are having some problems with Rosie's teeth as old ones fall out and new ones come through but with this not happening well, there is a little tooth abscess that has been there for weeks now. Please pray for her.




We enjoyed a very special family outing this morning having Weet-bix on the river bank up the road from here watching birds. We later drove the car into the river and gave it a wash.





Lastly... and I had trouble leaving this to last. The Wai Maeri is the river here at the hospital. With roads being built all over the place now (to Indonesia, to Mougulu and eventually through to Daru and to Moresby, a second road to Tabubil....) there is a need for gravel. The local landowners have sold the gravel from the middle of the river and a company has come to take away the two islands (the boys island and the girls island). This is going to affect all those at Rumginae – staff and patients who use the river to wash clothes, bathe, fish, etc. The river is an essential part of daily life. It is also the main thing that keeps our family sane – being able to go to the river at the end of a long hot day. As the islands disappear, there will be workmen and diggers and trucks, and mud and a change in the water flow. I think it is very sad that they are taking gravel from right next to the hospital where so many people use that part of the river.

Thank you for your prayers.

God Bless

Daniel and Tammy

http://priestfamily.110mb.com has all of our previous newsletters available for download. There is some general information. We hope to include some music and photos soon and a kids section.

http://priestfamilyupdates.blogspot.com is where you will find our regular prayer and news weekly updates.

Monday, February 9, 2009

PNG Priest Prayer Update

Well, it feels like a busy time here lately... We really appreciate the prayers and support we receive to sustain us. Please pray for:



  • The Community Health Worker graduation will be held tomorrow Tues 10th Feb

  • Watch this space for some very exciting news to come out of the graduation!

  • 30 new CHW students are starting to arrive and will be here for the next 2 years

  • The ward is busy. Pray particularly for a lady with complications following an appendix operation. Her bowels have not started to work a week after and she continues to be in pain. Pray also for those who have had caesarian sections and ectopic surgery, and for a number of sick babies.

  • Please pray for the many many organisational things that need to happen. Pray for the logistics of supply and preparation to function much better than it does at the moment.

  • Please remember Tammy and the children with home schooling as this can be a lot of hard work

  • Praise God that we have 2 pilots and 2 planes (MAF) here again after medical trips to Australia for both of our MAF families. Praise God that there were no major medical problems in the outstations while the planes were away.

  • Pray for the many outstation staff who are moving to different places this year. We have 12 of our 15 outstations staffed - the other 3 hopefully soon. Pray for good staff to join us with a heart to reach out.

  • Please continue to pray for the possibility of developing the hospital and staff housing. There really is such a big need as things get older and more worn out

  • Finally, praise God that Dr Addy was able to see James at Mougulu (photo below) - the patient from whom we removed a blood clot from the brain last year. He is doing exceedingly well.


Don't forget to check out the website: http://priestfamily.110mb.com/ which will have more photos, previous newsletters and more.