Sunday, May 31, 2009

The gold lining

Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God's justice protect you like armor. Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Let God's saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God's message that comes from the Spirit. Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God's people.

….,Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. (Ephesians 6:10-18 The Message translation)


Rosie's 7th birthday party at RumginaeRosie really enjoyed her 7th birthday party (14th May) recently. Lots of friends joined in the egg and spoon obstacle course – even pilot Harold and Daniel had a race… Daniel got stuck in the plastic tunnel.

It has been really encouraging lately to see some of the hospital staff sharing their faith with patients on the ward. This week a young lady from half way across the country was admitted to the ward. She was very sick. We ‘just happened’ to have two lovely young Christian nurses working here who could speak her language! Praise God that through the ministry of Maria, this lady was ready to meet the Lord Jesus Christ as her saviour. She was also able to forgive significant people in her life and tell them she loved them before she died.

We read in 2nd Chronicles Ch3 verse7 that King Solomon ‘used the gold to overlay the Temple walls, the rafters, the entryways, and the doors’ in fact it says in 1st Kings 6:22  that ‘The whole interior of the Temple was covered with gold, as well as the altar in the Most Holy Place’. In fact: 1Ki 6:30  ‘Even the floor was covered with gold’. When reading to Rosie this week, these verses made perfect sense to her… 'He did that so the termites didn’t eat it’.

We have removed quite a few termites this week. The bathroom and linen cupboard doors were full of them and have been thrown out. We put the schoolroom door on the bathroom for modesty reasons. We have also thrown out or attacked many floorboards, walls and timber around windows. In Pilot Rick’s house – he pulled out and burnt the termite infested kitchen bench. In Dr Rosie’s house, we have replaced some of her walls and the cupboards which had fallen apart, in time for her to arrive back to Rumginae this Wednesday.

Also this weekend, Daniel performed the regular (3-6 monthly) task of cleaning lots of algae out of the header tanks on the roof, as well as all the algae growing in the gutters. There are some down sides to getting 6m of rainfall in a year.

Recently, we discovered that a bought loaf of bread was full of weevils. This is not unusual, but there were more weevils than we could easily pick out. Tom was able to take the bread to a friend outside and explain that ‘Me and my family we don’t know how to eat weevils’. This was met with the response ‘This my favourite bread.’ Everybody was happy.

In case you were wondering after last weeks entry: Robert is well and the shoes do fit!

Dr Sharon seems to be settling in to village life Click here to go to her website for more details. For the next month Sharon will be completing a HIV prescriber’s course in Kiunga and Port Moresby. The current prevalence of HIV in PNG is around 2 to 2.5% of the population, with 100,000 people presumed to be infected. Two of the HIV physicians from Moresby came to visit and have a look around Rumginae on Saturday. The highlight of their visit was to see a freshly killed death adder and the man who had just been bitten lying in bed.

Please do pray for Sharon, for Phil and Glenda and family who have returned to Kiunga and for Dr Rosie who arrives back on Wednesday. Pray also for (Dr) Leigh and Jeremy and their 4 children here for 2 months to help out medically. Tom are Rosie are very excited to have more playmates. Pray for Dr Addy as she travels to India for 3 months very soon.

This week, please pray for Tammy and the kids especially as Daniel is going to be away for 4 days at Obo Health Centre (nearly an hour’s flight to the south). Pray that school would go well and that the children would be helpful. Pray that Daniel would be able to give good medical input and spiritual encouragement to the 3 staff at Obo. It is a busy place that we don’t get to nearly enough. We have heard that people are walking in from near and far villages to see the doctor.

Please pray also for Rumginae Bible School Graduation on Saturday (6th). Pray for the district church leadership – for wisdom in addressing some important issues.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement

Daniel, Tammy, Tom, Rosie and Sam

Sam's schoolwork - a bee

Friday, May 22, 2009

It’s a long way to the doctor’s

Robert with his family leaving Rumginae to go to Fuma to work

Imagine… if you can… that after Yr 10 you were able to be trained for 2 years as a health worker (CHW). You graduated last year and you recently moved with your young family to a new job. It only took an hour to fly there but nobody there speaks your language. You could walk home in 7 days. There is no electricity or phone and no roads. You have radio contact with a doctor during the day time if needed. You do your best for the many, many people who come to see you with medical problems like malaria, anaemia, injuries, malnutrition, snake bite, injuries from pig attacks, as well as pregnant women having normal and complicated deliveries in your bush material ‘delivery suite’ behind the aid post. The supplies of medicine and equipment is very slim. The people’s understanding of illness is very basic. Most things are attributed to sorcery or some spiritual disturbance.

Now, imagine you wake up in the night with a high fever. The nearest other health worker is a 4 hour walk away through thick jungle. If you get really sick, who would carry you there? Could you give yourself injections? Would the plane come and get you if you got worse?

Please pray for Robert out at Fuma who is in this exact position. When the plane called in to get him this afternoon he was feeling better so he sent in some of his sicker patients instead. Please pray for all of our outstation staff in similar positions of isolation. Isolated from medical care, social networks, other’s who speak their language. Isolated from the usual things we use for spiritual growth such as church and bible studies in our own language. Isolated from education for children. Isolated from any stores, surviving on garden food and any food flown in on the plane.

No Dogs on the airstrip... it costs about $40 for the plane to have to miss a landing and 'go around'School has been going along ok this week. One of Tom’s recent projects was to investigate ‘signs’ and symbols etc. For those of you troubled with a pesky black dog on your airstrip as you are about to land, feel free to order some signs.

On the ward, pray for Ja****a, a young lady with a very low platelet count and a high fever. We are doing what we can to treat her infection and give her blood transfusions but she is very unwell. Pray for E**a also who continues to get chemotherapy. Praise God that we were able to help bring a firstborn daughter for one of our remote CHWs into the world this morning by Caesarian section. This was our 14th Caesarian for the year. Pray for a lady arriving on the plane this afternoon from Obo with severe high blood pressure in pregnancy. Pray we can control her medical condition before the baby is distressed and before the mother fits. It is a very serious, life-threatening condition to have.

Pray for nurse Maria who is taking up the challenge to join the Mougulu team soon. Please pray we could support all our staff, particularly those in outstations with medical help, supplies, training, and spiritual nourishment.

Please pray for the leadership of the hospital and CHW school to be wise as they meet to discuss staffing, finances, responsibilities and other issues. Also for the leadership of the local and district church as they meet with local landholders and the company taking gravel from the river. Pray for all to be godly in their relationships and biblical in their decision making.

Please pray for Tammy's Mum who is having a birthday this weekend. Pray also for Daniel's Mum and grandparents as Nan and Pop make the very difficult transition from their own home to a retirement village because of health issues. We really appreciate your prayers.

Daniel and Tammy, Tom, Rosie and Sam

‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you’ (1Peter5:7)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How to buy shoes and an interesting front yard

What on earth are they talking about you may ask! Well, the selection of work boots in Kiunga for our maintenance workers is extremely slim, so we have prevailed upon the generosity of our pilot’s wife to buy some while she is in Goroka this weekend. Hopefully, the pieces of paper onto which Mike traced their feet will work out to get them the right size! We’re also hoping they can bring back a 3.3m piece of timber. We do our shopping a little differently here and are thankful for MAF who send us such a variety of supplies.

It has been nice having plenty of MAF people and planes coming through Rumginae. We got to fly from Hagen to Rumginae in MAFs first turbo charged Airvan – MFK pictured below with Airvan MFJ and C206 MAJ with our house behind. Please continue to remember MAF in prayer.

Three MAF aircraft at Rumginae

We really appreciate your prayers for school. There are good days and hard days. One interesting project was getting Tom thinking about what happens downstream when we do things to the river.

Tom's project on the Fly River (pdf 350kb)

The diggers are still in the middle of the river, taking the island away truckload by truckload. There are a lot of land ownership issues surfacing, involving the local villagers as well as the station / church. Please pray that everyone’s concerns can be worked through amicably. Pray for Dr Mike who is acting as a resource and liaison person for the church regarding their legal rights etc.

We have a lot of complicated obstetric patients on the ward at the moment. Pray for these mothers to have safe deliveries.

Please pray for Phil, Glenda and children moving back to Kiunga this week to continue their important mission work with local pastors and community.

We thank God for Tom and Rosie who recently turned 9 (!!) and 7 (!!). Sam wakes up each day asking if it is his birthday today.

Also… one last birthday… the Priest family furniture shop in Forbes turned 40 this month. There has been a lot of celebrating in Forbes. We are looking forward to getting home to see them at the end of this year.

Priest furniture turns 40 God Bless

Daniel, Tammy, Tom, Rosie and Sam

Saturday, May 9, 2009

2008 Health Service Statistics

Daniel Sam Tammy Tom Rosie near Cairns April 2009

Over the last month we have enjoyed good biblical teaching and team building at our conference in Mt Hagen. After conference we were able to get away for a holiday in Cairns. Now we are back at Rumginae again.

The body which looks after church-run health services in PNG is the Churches Medical Council (CMC). Please pray for the CMC meetings in Port Moresby this week. Our representatives will be our director of nursing (Pia) and hospital administrator (Max) as well as the CHW School principal (Amos).

The meetings provided a stimulus for Daniel to get the 2008 annual report and statistics finished. If anybody would like the entire report, it is available for download from our website (

In 2008 we saw 8642 outpatients at Rumginae, (63,153 for the entire health service), had 815 admissions, 187 deliveries (25% of which were low birth weight). There were 3 maternal deaths we know about – 2 at Rumginae. To us these are not just statistics but very vivid memories of trying very hard to save a mother’s life. The admissions to Rumginae were referred from all over Western Province and Southern Highlands. About 183 of these were brought in by MAF… that’s an average of one very sick person being flown in every second day. Thank God that we have MAF based here. We are enjoying having Harold, Rick and Lauren here and having Nick and Paula visit.

There were 390 X-rays, 193 ultrasounds (all done by a doctor), 310 operations (up 26% from 2007) including 26 caesarians, 2 craniotomies (opening the head), 3 ectopics, 11 skin grafts…

We are looking forward to reviewing our statistics and doing our best to improve in areas where we need to improve. Please pray for the health service leaders as we address problems and deal with areas where we are not doing as well as we should.

Thank you for your prayers for E**a who was finally diagnosed with an acute leukaemia. She seems to be doing well on chemotherapy. The in-service training in Kiunga went very well with Daniel, Addy and Mike all working together to teach about 60 health workers about snake bite management, bleeding after delivery of a baby, retained placenta and more.

This week – pray for Tammy with Tom, Rosie (and Sam) still settling into a home schooling routine. Pray for quality time with friends for Tom and Rosie in particular. Pray for CMC meetings in Moresby to be fruitful. Pray for Daniel, Addy and Mike to work well together and be able to learn more and teach more. Pray also we could plan ahead and get on top of the many maintenance needs. We are looking forward to a visit in July from a group of country NSW people wanting to help out in practical ways. Continue to pray for the witness of staff and others to each patient we come across. Pray for a very awkward situation out at Mougulu with staff resigning and others needing to be moved on.

Thank you so much for your interest and prayers.

Daniel, Tammy, Tom, Rosie and Sam