Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. (Phil 1:3-5)

It has been our very great joy and privilege to live and serve alongside our brothers and sisters at Rumginae, both our national friends and the many missionaries from overseas that have come to share in God’s work.  Sharing joys and struggles builds deep and lasting friendships. 

Rumginae is in the midst of magnificent rainforest, where a little seedling can be transplanted with a small amount of disturbance.  A sapling however, will have many intertwined roots which require a lot of care to extract well.  We are so thankful to God for the way he has blessed our children with an out pouring of love and affection from their friends, big and small at Rumginae as we transition from life in PNG to life in Australia.

During our last last few weeks at Rumginae, we were blessed with wonderful positive and joyful times with the people we have shared our lives with over the last eight years.  We shared many meaningful times and wonderful experiences.It has been the quality time spent with our dear friends at Rumginae that has been special to us. We have visited friends at their home villages, had a number of sleepovers, the most being 19 children on a wet, stormy night after watching ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ with hot milo and pop corn. We had a wonderful time of devotions early the next morning singing, reading and discussing how Aslan restoring Eustace is a picture story of God’s grace in our lives.

It has been wonderful to celebrate all that God has enabled us to experience together as a community at special events with the youth, Sunday School, and farewells with the hospital, missionaries and church.

At the hospital and community farewell, a wonderful traditional feast known as a mumu was prepared in our backyard. Chicken, sweet potato, cooking bananas, sago and greens were cooked in the ground with hot rocks.

Tom and his friends spent most of their waking moments together… and even then, there were some sleep-overs. They recorded some songs together on our back veranda. A small sample can be downloaded by clicking here as mp3 files. Also for a 6 minute video presentation Tom put together for the church, click here. It is a delightfully boyish celebration of life as part of a loving community.

We are now in Australia and are refreshed after a wonderful family holiday in Cairns. We are currently in our house at Mannering Park which we are tidying up for sale. We are also in the process of finding some accommodation in the Nelson Bay area. We enjoyed time with family over Christmas.  Dan has started work up at Shoal Bay which he is enjoying.  The children are looking forward to starting school at St Philips Christian College Salamander Bay at the end of January. We hope to visit with supporters and supporting churches over the early part of 2012. We plan to return to Rumginae for periodic visits to allow holiday relief for Addy and Sharon.  

From all we hear, medical work, other ministry and daily life at Rumginae continues to be very busy and tiring. Please continue to pray for the team at Rumginae, especially Rosie, Addy, David and family, pilot Markus and family, as well as Sharon and the Painter family as they return from home assignment.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race that is marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning it’s shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Heb 12:1,2)

Thank you to each of you who has been a part of this team through your prayers and other forms of help given in Christ’s name. What manner of love the Father has lavished on us that we might be called “Children of God”! What a joy it is to be a part of this wonderful family of God, which does not know the bounds of time or distance.  Unto Him, be glory in the church!

Daniel, Tammy, Tom, Rosie and Sam.

Rumginae November

At Christmas, I have been thinking about one of the verses from the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.
 

Written during the American Civil war, the original words were let us ‘die’ to make men free. Colossians 1:22 says But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. What a wonderful thing God has done for us… through the death of Jesus, those who put their faith in Him are presented to God as righteous – holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. What better reason could there be for us to ‘live to make men free’ and share this wonderful news this Christmas.

During October, we had a visit from a work party from Finley who selflessly served through maintenance, hospitality and ministry within the community.  Their visit was a great encouragement.

In November, Tammy had a treat for her birthday. The children had spent weeks preparing with all sorts of craft, all carefully prepared and hidden on top of the cupboard in the children’s room. Arising at 4.00am, Tom and Rosie prepared their surprises.  Preparations completed, they decided to hang out the washing and do some other housework.  By 5.00am, they decided they needed more noise and therefore woke Sam up.  Not long after, we were all awake!  In the early morning light, as Daniel played The Man from Snowy River, they unveiled their artwork. 

The hospital has seen many very complicated patients. Please continue to pray for the hospital – the patients, staff, doctors, pilots… In the last few weeks, there have been a few ‘middle of the night’ operations, the most memorable being a lady from Kiunga with an ectopic pregnancy. It can be very hard to find blood for transfusion. In certain conditions, it is possible to recycle a patient’s own blood from their abdominal cavity. In this case we managed to get 2 units of blood for transfusion. It is literally scooped out, filtered and then given back to the patient as an infusion.

For ‘Talent night', Rosie and her friend Delilah sang ‘There’s a hole in the bucket, Delilah, Delilah. There’s a hole in the bucket Delilah, a hole…. well fix it dear Rosie, dear Rosie, dear Rosie…..

God Bless, Happy Christmas and a joyful New Year. 

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. 2Th 3:5 

Daniel, Tammy, Tom, Rosie and Sam.

Monday, December 5, 2011

PNG Independence Day Celebrations 2011

As I look through our photos of the last few months, Independence stands out as a very significant event in PNG. There is a song sung all over PNG called ‘Unity’ with the words From the misty highlands peaks to the coast and island shores, we are Papua New Guinea. By the river banks and creeks, jungle valleys and waterfalls, we are the people of the Lord. Unity, brother take my hand. May the mighty love of Christ stretch across our land. With the cross upon our flag and heaven in our hearts, with love together we will stand…

Independence Day in PNG is September 16th. It is a day for the people of PNG to celebrate their beautiful country and it’s culture.

It is also a day of games – running, soccer, volleyball…

It can also be a day where newborn babies need to gain some independence of their own, even if it means a caesarean section.

God Bless. More news to follow soon.

Daniel, Tammy, Tom, Rosie and Sam

Monday, November 28, 2011

Spears at Suabi and Obo

Dear Friends

Thank you for your prayers and other ways in which we have been supported and enabled to serve in PNG. It has been more than 2 months since our last news – sorry. There has been a lot happening in that time, not least all the things that go with leaving PNG which has been our home for the last 8 years or so, and a part of our entire 14 years of married life. We are writing this from Australia, but will try to put a few bits of news together to give a glimpse of our last 2 months.

God Bless

Daniel, Tammy, Tom, Rosie, Sam

Mic 6:8  The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands: "See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God."

On June 19 we sent out an email saying a young man from NZ had been shot with an arrow. Dr Sharon and I both attended the scene and flew with him in the MAF aircraft to Kiunga. We didn’t say much more at the time, but now this news is well known…. e.g. here, here, here and here! It was also the front page of the September MAF news, which can be found here.

It was a wonderful example of God’s provision with everything being available at just the right time. Rumginae had been without an aircraft for some time. However, only the day before, Pilot Nick had flown a brand new GA8 Airvan, P2-MEW to Rumginae, bringing a sick lady with him.  We thank God for all our CHWs who serve out in the bush. On this occasion, CHW Tebegoi stationed at Suabi was able to administer first aid and call to CRMF who then put an emergency radio call in to Rumginae. Within minutes, 2 doctors and a pilot were on their way to Suabi in rainy, cloudy weather. It was late in the day but we were able to land on the muddy strip in time.

With darkness approaching, Sharon and I gave some basic medical treatment and got him into the aircraft for the medically necessary low level flight to Kiunga.

At Kiunga hospital, there had been no anaesthetist for many months. However an anaesthetics officer had recently arrived and was working in the theatre with Dr Charlie, a PNG surgeon.  They were therefore able to take this very sick young man straight in for surgery. Sharon stayed to help, while Daniel flew back with Nick to Rumginae to get a vehicle to drive back down to Kiunga to assist if necessary and to drive Sharon back to Rumginae.

Two days later, a medivac aircraft took the patient on to Port Moresby, then to Cairns, later to Townsville where, last we heard, he was making a reasonable recovery.

A few weeks later, we heard that a PNG man at Obo had been shot in the stomach by his brother with a broad blade arrow. It was too late to fly to get him – very little night flying is possible in PNG, no night flying in the Western part of the country.

The next morning at 630am, Daniel and pilot Harold flew to Obo. The flying conditions that day were very difficult with low cloud and rain. At Obo, we found the man still hanging on to life but in very poor shape. He was flown from Obo to Tabubil where a blood bank, anaesthetist and surgeon were all available. Sadly, he died on final approach to Tabubil airstrip.

 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MAF 60 years in PNG

Christ died for us, so that we could live with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. That's why you must encourage and help each other, just as you are already doing. 1Th 5:10-11 

Dear friends

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support for us. From our last update, the lady from Mougulu did arrive. She was extremely unwell when she arrived. We resuscitated her and proceeded to an operation to remove her ruptured uterus. Sadly, she had arrived here too late and she died a few hours after the operation due to sepsis. Caring for women while pregnant and during the delivery as well as caring for children from birth to 5 years of age are health areas right at the top of our priority list. There are many, many completely unsupervised deliveries in remote areas resulting in unnecessary death or severe illness. We are thankful for the opportunities that exist to help. We pray that the overall development of health services for remote communities will improve.

Our MAF pilot Matt with Linsey and Ned have travelled to Australia to await the arrival of their second child.  They have faithfully served here at Rumginae since 2007 and we have loved sharing that time together.

While they are away, we have enjoyed catching up with pilots Mike, Jason and Nick and now have pilot Harold here until the end of October.  It has been wet and misty with low cloud making flying difficult. Continue to pray for MAF for safety and ability to provide a service to isolated places while short of pilots and engineers. Yesterday 3 patients arrived from all over Western Province.

This year marks 60 years of MAF operations in PNG. As part of the celebrations, Rumginae was privileged to be visited by musician Steve Grace travelling with MAF to help them celebrate. The MAF plane was welcomed with a wonderful display of appreciation and support with traditional dress and dances. Our children were involved in a public drama showing what happens when someone is bitten by a snake in the bush – how all those involved work together – the CHW in the aid post, CRMF radio network, MAF and the hospital doctors and staff. In the evening the local church was overflowing as people enjoyed some MAF stories, testimonies and to Steve singing.

 

We were blessed to have Steve, his wife Kerrie and the team at our house the next morning for breakfast. It was such fun and really special, as Steve who had lived in PNG as  missionary kid, returning to Australia at the age of 11, took time to make sure our kids understood what a special life experience they have had. He tells of a childhood memory of himself standing on a chair in church singing at the top of his voice. Tom could really identify with his ministry – flying around, telling people about Jesus, singing while playing the guitar and harmonica. The team stayed less than 24 hours, yet it was a very special time for us.

From here they moved on to Wawoi Falls, then Mt Hagen. It is a busy time for them. We have been listening to his CD over and over ever since! His Heritage CD has wonderful well known songs.

Dr Addy was able to travel right across the country recently to Kimbe to attend the PNG Medical Symposium. While Addy was away, I was the only doctor at Rumginae. Sam confidently prayed  that if I needed help God would send another doctor. It has been busy including 3 caesarean sections, twin deliveries, vacuum deliveries and many more sick patients. Four times in the 16 days that Addy was away I really wanted a surgeon’s help, and four times Dr Charlie (surgeon) came by to help – 2 mostly amputated fingers, one very sick lady with abdo pain and a 31/2 year old who had fallen onto sharp bamboo 24 hours previously with a lot of intestines coming out of the hole. I was very glad of God’s answer to Sam’s prayer. 

In the lead up to Father’s Day weekend, the children from church held an outreach in the hospital. Tom, using the language which local children speak – an accented blend of Tok Pisin and English, talked about Jesus who being fully God and fully man was able to and did die for our sins. As an MK, he has an intuitive understanding of the culture. It was wonderful to see him combining this with his love for the Lord to share God’s message of reconciliation with mankind. To summarise, he demonstrated how we can be reminded of the gospel by looking at the PNG flag.

The black can remind us of sin (Rom 3:23, 6:23a).  The Southern Cross and red can remind us that God made peace through his Son’s blood shed on the cross (Col 1:20b,1Jn:7b). The golden bird of paradise can remind us of the promise of God to those who believe that his Son, Jesus, died on the cross and gave his blood to forgive our sins, then we will have eternal life in paradise with him.(Luke 23:43). 

For prayer:

  • Dr David, with Emma and Joshua arrive on Monday. They are staying until early February. Pray for them as they settle in.
  • During October, we have some friends visiting from Australia to help with some of the maintenance on the station. Please pray for their health and safety and for their time of work and ministry.
  • For time with Gene, the hospital volunteer project coordinator who is visiting. Pray for fruitful discussions and progress.

Finally, we have spent much of the last 10 years at Rumginae. Our ability to be here providing health care in Christ’s name has been made possible through the prayers, friendship and financial giving from supporters in Australia who are our partners in this work. In late November 2011, we will leave Rumginae and return to Australia. We have prayed about the right decision for our family and have decided to return to Australia, predominantly because of the children’s schooling needs.

We will be moving to the Nelson Bay area where Daniel will work as a GP. We still hope to have contact with Rumginae through short term visits.

God Bless

Daniel, Tammy, Tom, Rosie and Sam

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Prayer request

Eph 6:18  Do all this in prayer, asking for God's help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God's people

Dear friends

Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer. We have had friends write back to us appreciating their ability to be involved through prayer in bringing health and healing to patients here at Rumginae. Please keep one particular patient in your prayers.

Out at Mougulu is a young lady in labour with her 4th child, however she has been in labour for 3-4 days and it appears that the baby has died. She arrived at the health centre this afternoon, is in a lot of pain and is very unwell. She may have ruptured her uterus. We are praying that she will survive the night so that we can get her out by air in the morning. If she does get here in the morning, it is likely to mean a very difficult operation for Addy and I. Please pray for wisdom and strength for those caring for her tonight (health workers Mary, Gideon, Jerome, Sowato) and for those of us likely to be trying to help her tomorrow.

It has continued to be remarkably busy here. Since our last update, we have performed 2 more operations for patients with a very infected appendix – one in that condition for 8 days, the other for 3 days. We have also had 3 very sick children and 2 men with chest pain and shortness of breath and many more very sick patients. All are recovering reasonably well. As I am not really an anaesthetist, I did find it a bit stressful giving the general anaesthetic for an 11 year old girl whose appendix had been inflamed and leaking for 8 days. She is a very determined little girl who is now wanting to get up and going as soon as possible which is a real pleasure to see.

Over the weekend, we had a youth retreat. There was a lot of good teaching and our children really enjoyed their time. Saturday night was ‘talent’ night. I might describe this in more detail another time – I dressed up and performed 2 songs with words made specifically for the occasion. As soon as the show was over, it was time to operate on the 11yr old girl, getting home about 1-2 am. I (Daniel) was then preaching on Sunday morning (1 Timothy 4:6-16) and was really challenged to set a good example in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. I hope others learnt something from the passage as well.

God Bless

Daniel

Friday, August 5, 2011

August update

Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of his great mercy he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away. (1Peter 1:3-4)

Dear friends

Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support which sustain us. This week has been a little tiring and it is at times like this that it makes such a big difference to us to know that people around the world care for us, pray for us and support us in other ways.

Monday’s ward round was a real pleasure as Dr Addy and I went from patient to patient trying to make the best decisions for each and taking opportunities to teach CHW students and staff about various things. Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we also have a scheduled time on the HF radio (hence a ‘sked’) to talk with any outstations who would like advice from a doctor. Over about an hour we speak with health workers in aid posts and health centres all over Western Province and beyond. The afternoon looked like it would be fairly relaxing.

Rumginae fairly recently became connected with mobile phone coverage. During the ward round, Dr Addy received a call from nearby Kiunga hospital. The communication was about a lady with a bleeding ectopic pregnancy who needed surgery. We agreed to do the surgery at Rumginae and the patient was sent up to us. While the patient was still being driven the 40 minutes up the ‘highway’, another phone call came through. The physician relieving at Kiunga had just been presented with another patient with a bleeding ectopic. This patient, however, was in much worse condition due to the loss of a large amount of blood. He managed to resuscitate the patient and accompany her up to Rumginae as well as assist us with the anaesthetic.

It wasn’t until about 1am that we finally headed home after such a quiet day! The surgery was very difficult for the second lady sent to us. We managed to auto-transfuse 2 units of her own recently lost blood, and she needed another 3 units of blood plus a large amount of other fluids. The surgery was technically very difficult. Today she is still very weak and in some pain but is recovering, praise God.

The first patient sent to us, who was less sick, had her operation second. The anaesthetic and surgery went extremely well and the operation was over and done with very quickly. We sent her home on Wednesday!

We have also been caring for many sick children with respiratory difficulty – bronchiolitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis. This has necessitated leaving the generator on over night, which has put us in a tight situation with our diesel use. We will have to be careful over the next few months. There are other patients with heart valve disease, hepatoma (liver cancer), 2 patients with recent leg amputations for trauma or cancer, patients who have had big peptic ulcer bleeds, snake bites and more.

On Wednesday, it was again time to be stirred to more action. I was called to the radio at around 7am to speak with Obo health centre. The midwife at Obo was asking advice about a lady who came in without any previous antenatal care, who was having very slow progress with her delivery of twins. It was her 6th time to be pregnant which adds many more risks (eg bleeding). Thankfully, pilot Matt was expecting to be flying over Obo later in the morning on his way back from the South of the province. Meanwhile, I received a phone call from Kiunga hospital wanting to bring up a patient for appendicectomy. Of course, that would be fine with me. Around the time of the midday ‘sked’ I learnt that Matt had landed at Obo, but the first twin had finally delivered. The second twin soon followed. His passengers must have been very thankful that they weren’t left at Obo for Matt to bring a patient to us…. however, there was a patient that did need to come in … from Dahamo, many miles to the north.

Kiunga brought their patient, lots of theatre equipment, 2 theatre staff, the surgeon working with the Ok Tedi mine and another 2 doctors working in Kiunga. What they needed that they did not have is an anaesthetist (which is the role I played that day). Dr Charlie (the surgeon) skilfully removed the very severely infected appendix. Towards the end of the operation, the plane landed. Finding that the patient just arrived from Dahamo also had appendicitis, we all repeated the procedure and removed another appendix. It was very helpful to have a surgeon available.

Please do remember these post operative patients in your prayers, and the many other very ill patients we are caring for.

In early July, we had a visit from the Japanese ambassador to PNG to open a new CHW school classroom. This now gives better capacity to cater for the increase in student numbers. The school can take up to 30 students per class (60 students in total for a 2 year course).

Dr Sharon has travelled to New Zealand for 6 months of home assignment. Please pray that she would be refreshed and enjoy this time with her family and NZ friends.

Please pray for a return to full health for quite a number of our staff who are ill, some in hospital, with various things. Pray for some of the organisational things happening at the hospital including trying to get adequate medical supplies, trying to organise for new houses to be built (the materials are here, now we just need to get them up), for upcoming visits from a small work party, from our volunteer project manager and other visitors.

This year marks 60 years since MAF began flying, starting off in PNG. To mark this anniversary, musician Steve Grace will be travelling around with MAF holding performances in various places – including Rumginae! http://www.stevegrace.com

Praise God for some wonderful answers to prayer on the ward. Es…   was very unwell as a result of kidney failure after a snake bite. I wasn’t sure that she would live very long at all when she arrived at hospital, but she recovered well and went home happy.

 

Talking of snakes, we have had quite a few snake experiences lately. Just near our house, some people found a large python which they killed. We managed to get some photos before they took in home to eat.

A lovely family outing recently was to Senamrae to visit our friends CHW Danwaf and his family. We enjoyed seeing where they live, drinking water from a green coconut, walking to the river and playing with their children.

For a few days last week we had our friend Jo visit. It was wonderful to have some extra help in the school room.

Please pray for the youth retreat being held this weekend and for Daniel who is preaching on Sunday.

God Bless

Daniel, Tammy, Tom, Rosie and Sam