One of the coolest things we do is work with an awesome team called NTM-PNG. As Coordinating Director we get to interact with all departments to facilitate church planters doing their ministry. Sometimes, things come up that are “off-script” and we get to pull together and function as a family, team, and the body that God created us to be. Here is a recent event that we had the privilege of being involved with – THANK YOU for allowing us to be here and be apart of what God is doing through HIS church.
Here is the official statement on an NTM Missionary that was on a boat that sunk at sea.
Chad is Safe and Sound. God has answered prayers of thousands.
Yesterday at about 1:30pm Chad Earl left from far eastern tip of West New Britain for The Patpatar people group of New Ireland. Chad was heading out to do several People Group Assessments over the next several weeks. However, around 3pm a sudden squall came up and a wave swamped the boat he was traveling in and they sank in just a few seconds. This left Chad and 7 other passengers clinging to wood and cargo from the boat. Three of the women could not swim so Chad and some of the other men stayed with them. They fastened the boat gas tank to a wooden deck from the boat and waited for help. Right before they sank, they had been traveling with another boat which did see them go down and did return to check on them, however the boat would not offer assistance due to fear of the same fate. This boat soon left and continued to their destination leaving the 8 people afloat in the ocean. Darkness soon settled in, leaving Chad and the others clinging to a makeshift wooden float and some cargo for the night. Two of the men drifted apart as they were holding on to various pieces of cargo. They later drifted to shore in the night but Chad and the others remained at sea.
The NTM and church family rallied to action by contacting emergency services, embassies, friends, family, and those willing to pray. At daybreak planes and helicopters were mobilized for search and rescue. All the local folks from Patpatar rallied together and put together a large flotilla of search boats and went looking for the 8 folks at sea which included Chad. Shortly after 7:30am Chad and the others were all rescued, still holding their wooden raft with the boat gas tank. That is 15 hours of floating at sea, 12 of which were in the dark of night.
The NTM family want to thank the many government officials, especially the National Maritime Safety Authority in Port Moresby that worked hard to help us through this emergency. We also want to thank the local Patpatar People group for their help. The people of Patpatar and the surrounding areas did everything possible to make this a happy outcome. Thank you to everyone that worked as a team to be sure that each person was accounted for and returned safely to shore. Thank you to the many that prayed through the night. Of course, the NTM family did a great job of working together like a family does in a time of crisis – thank you. Chad was transported back to the mainland to re-outfit for his planned people group assessment trips. Chad has lost all his gear, computer, cell phone, camera, wallet, Bible, shoes, and backpack. He was left with only his shorts. However, we are so very thankful for his life and safe return.
Through the night we were so thankful that we serve the God that created the ocean and the stars, the wind and waves. We are thankful that a great and powerful God cares about people lost in a vast ocean and folks on dry land that are praying for their safe return.
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by (in) the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
The NTM mission helicopter & plane mobilized at dawn, along with a doctor, nurse, and fellow missionary with 15-yr-experience in search & rescue. Everyone that was lost at sea survived. All of them are fine & the villagers that were with him were taken to a local hospital where they were evaluated. They will all have a story to tell. NTM picked Chad up at the village & flew him to the NTM mission center where he is currently with our mom and dad. He was ready to head straight back out on surveys, but we will ‘force’ him some time to recover & be refreshed before going back out into the jungles. His legs are pretty stiff and sore from kicking for 15-16 hours in the water trying to stay afloat and get to shore. He also has some rashes and chaffing from rubbing against the wooden pallet & trying to keep others afloat. His eyes are VERY blood-shot from all the salt water. Other than that, he is totally healthy.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone, for joining us in prayer.