Sunday, October 31, 2010

All the Blue Shirts

Every three to four months, Nazarene Hospital receives a shipment of medical supplies from Nazarene  Hospital Foundation, a non-profit organization formed by Dr. Todd Winter of Medford, Oregon.  These 20 foot containers are filled with valuable and often desperately needed equipment and supplies.  Many times, God has provided what we have needed that very day the container was opened.  There are stories of items going directly from the unloading area into the operating room to be used immediately!

Todd is often able to send other cool things.  Like a shipment of extra t-shirts from a research study.  It was great fun to hand them out to every patient.  On the pediatric ward, it was the parents who received the shirts!  This day it was Stan and Gabby who helped us pass them out.  We had a little fun with the XXXXL shirt!

For more information about Nazarene Hospital Foundation and how you can help, check out the website.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Worship at Bilu

This Sunday I was invited to preach at one of the "bush" churches, at a place called "Bilu".  Judy was not able to go with me, and there were no missionaries or volunteers who could go.  I asked some of the college of nursing students if they'd like to go.  Five of them decided to go along.  I had never been there before, so the pastor offered to meet me in Banz.  The only problem was that we forgot to specify a time!  I guessed the time, but the pastor had wanted to start early this week, as it was a special service.  He waited patiently for me, however.

Lina, Lydia Kolum, Elvis and Nixon, NCON students went with me. 

The Bilu Church of the Nazarene's sanctuary and prayer house.  A foundation has been poured for a new sanctuary in the future.

We drove to the village and then walked a short distance to the church building.  The people were waiting patiently for us.

It turns out that this was a special service for this church.  They had participated in a community evangelistic crusade in which 179 people had made commitments to Christ.  Twenty-seven of these had chosen to unite with the Nazarenens.  After greeting us, the people invited us to wait with them for the group of new Christians to arrive and then participate in greeting them. 

 A lot of kids were trying to get into every picture I took, so I took a group photo to placate them.  Some "big kids" sneaked into this one.

While we waited the pastor got his hammer and tore the woven matting that is used as wallboard in the thatched buildings from a section of wall at the back of the little sanctuary.  When we talk about a church "splitting at the seams" we don't usually mean it this literally!

 There!  Instant overflow seating!

 The new believers process in

The group of new Christians arrived, led by three members of the organizing committee for the recent crusade.  They passed through a double row of people singing a welcome song, and went into the church building.

 The worship team led in lively worship

 The NCON students shared a testimony and a song

 This is the "preacher's eye" view of the congregation.  The people raising their hands are the new believers.

Well, of course they would have a lunch for the guests.  It's a good thing that I took the NCON students along, or it would have been a very lonely lunch for me.  This was a very nice meal, including several grand (and expensive) touches.  There were 2 kinds of rice (and rice is pricey for most people), chicken (and chicken prices are up as well, do to high feed prices), and of course a variety of fruit and vegetables.  Garden produce is also getting hard to come by due to the drought.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

And The Children Waited

Life can sometimes be full of disappointments especially for children in a third world country.
We have a great work and witness team here from Australia.  They are helping to build some desperately needed employee housing for the hospital.  Some of the team wanted to do bible school activities with children from the surrounding villages and I arranged the times and places and drove the cruiser.

We were scheduled to go to Lena's church on Friday.  Lena is our friend who is working at the volunteer house, cleaning and helping in food preparation for the team.  On Thursday, she asked that we reschedule to Tuesday.  She was worried that there might not be many kids attending on Friday because it was the end of a holiday week.  Well . . . through a series of miscommunication, the children expected us on Friday.  They all went to the river to wash and then dressed in their sunday best and waited.  We didn't come.  Lena got home that night from her work and reassured them that the missionaries would come on MONDAY.  (No, it was Tuesday!)  The excitement mounted again!  By 10 a.m. on Monday morning, everyone was again clean and waiting.  They waited.  And waited.  They sent runners up the dirt road to watch for the mission landcruiser.  They waited until 4 p.m.  We knew nothing of this!  Lena came home from work and explained that tomorrow was the day for the Pikinini Klub.

With great faith and probably lots of hope, the children again washed, dressed and waited.  Would the missionaries come this time?  Thankfully we did!  They were ecstatic!  We had a great time.  People from throughout the village were drawn to the church by the happy laughter of the children.  Thank you, Australian team members,  for caring about these children!


Friday, October 1, 2010

The Challenge of Continuing Education

Many of you probably understand that all doctors in the United States are required to acquire continuing medical education in order to maintain licensure.  So . . .  why should that matter to a missionary doctor you might ask?  Well, for several reasons, not the least of which is my desire to try to stay up-to-date with current medical knowledge.  But more pressingly, in order to remain licensed in PNG I must remain licensed in the U.S.  Therefore, even when I'm here in PNG I need to keep up on the requirements.

While there are many ways to earn continuing education credits, one of the best ways continues to be live, in person medical conferences.  There are none of these offered in Papua New Guinea.  I can try to attend some during my furlough time while in the U.S. but many of the conferences offered there are not particularly relevant to my work here.  Most missionary physicians have a similar problem.

For a number of years now, the Christian Medical and Dental Society has offered a solution.  Dedicated volunteer faculty from all over the U.S. go out every year to teach CME courses to missionary doctors.  Many of them have either served in the past on the mission field or have volunteered at missionary hospitals.  They understand the conditions under which we practice.  The meetings are designed to also be a time of spiritual refreshment for the missionary families.

The doctors here at Kudjip take turns attending the conference which is held in Thailand.  This coming February its my turn!  The hospital here helps as much as they are able.  There are still many expenses involved that are not covered by other funds.  It will cost about $5000 for Judy and me to go.

Would you prayerfully consider helping us to attend?  If you want to chip in, please send your donation (which is tax deductible) to: Nazarene Financial Services, 17001 Prairie Star Parkway, Lenexa, KS 66220.  Mark the check "Work of A & J Bennett."

If you prefer to give online, go to this web site.