Like I mentioned before, Madang is on the coast of PNG so it’s HOT! Fortunately, POC takes place on top of a nearby mountain. The area is called Nobnob. Besides being significantly cooler with lovely ocean breezes, we get to enjoy spectacular sunrises almost every day! (And, yes, we are up to witness our share since breakfast is at 7:00 AM, and some of our duties begin at 6:00 AM.)
We arrived yesterday in the town of Madang—our new “home” for the next six weeks while we attend the Pacific Orientation Course (POC). This course was designed to teach those new to PNG about the culture and the Tok Pisin language. It’s a long story why we haven’t done this course before, but we’re finally here!
Our living quarters consist of a 12’ x 18’ room (approximately), in a dorm with 14 other such rooms. We share a men’s and a women’s bathroom with the other participants, and eat all our meals together in the community dining room. I’ve learned that we’ll soon be taking turns to help prepare the food and clean up afterwards. I’m enjoying the respite from menu planning!
Since Madang is on the coast where malaria is more prevalent, we all sleep under mosquito nets at night (see photo) to protect us from the carrier mosquitos that tend to bite from dusk to dawn. Claire and Isaiah were a little unnerved about the tents over their beds, but soon decided they were “cozy”. Isaiah pretended he was a caterpillar in a cocoon, so this morning we checked to see if he had turned into a butterfly. <grin>
New faces have joined the work here in PNG, and there have been a number of ministry changes made during our 3-year absence. One thing has not changed, however: Safe, reliable, air transportation is still vital to this country—not only for our translation teams, but also for the local people.
A few weeks ago, the aviation department received a radio call from a remote village saying there was a local woman with a bad infection in her leg. She needed special medical help quickly. Could we come with one of our aircraft and get her out of the village? It took our pilots a couple of days to get into that specific airstrip because of bad weather, but they were finally able to pick her up and transport her to a location where she could receive medical treatment.
Later, Jon was told that it was a three-day walk from this woman’s village to the nearest road. Without the aid of the aircraft, it is likely the woman would never have made it to a hospital. By the time our pilot saw her, she was already too weak to sit up let alone walk on rugged jungle trails for three days. We thank God that our pilots were able to help her in time. We consider it a privilege to not only be part of bringing God’s Word to the people of PNG, but to also help meet physical needs as God allows.
*Photo by Robert Noble