Living on an NTM center here in the Islands region of Papua New Guinea never has a dull moment. Being at the center is like living at a “hub” of sorts. There are a few guest rooms here for missionaries to stay in when they are traveling through or when they need a small break from village life. The provincial capital 45 minutes away from us happens to have the largest and best (for PNG standards) “haus sik” (hospital). This brings us in contact with even more PNG people when they come here needing significant medical help. In addition to above reasons, believers from tribal churches will sometimes travel here to seek wise council from the missionaries who live here. Because of the fact that people are always coming and going, we have already been able to meet a lot of people that have helped us learn more and have encouraged us as well. Recently, some of those people have been Jon & Rinyee and their two daughters, Pogalong & Koraate.
Jon and Rinyee are believers from a tribe that was reached with the gospel in 2006. Since Jon accepted Christ he has been discipled and grown in the Lord. He is now a Bible teacher in the church in his tribe. He and his wife traveled here for their youngest daughter, Koraate. Koraate was born with club feet and cannot walk because of it. Through the missionaries in their village, Jon and his wife learned that there was a special surgeon coming to the “haus sik” (hospital) in the town nearby (only for a short time) who could help fix Koraate’s feet. The missionaries offered to pay for an operation to help the little girl. So, they came here for the operation. This little family had never been to a “town” and I was able to accompany them on their first trip to see the house sick were their daughter would have the operation.
Now you must understand, “town” here in PNG is not like any town you would be amazed at. There are few stores that are all relatively small, it is very dirty and very crowded. It was amazing to watch their faces as we drove up to the house sick. Their eyes were open wide and it looked to me like they were doing their best to take everything in. Our visit with the surgeon’s assistant went well and at the end of the long day out, Aimee and I were able to have a conversation with Jon about his impressions of his first “town” trip and about his relationship with the Lord.
Jon told us about how the people here were only concerned about things of this earth and not for the things of God. He told us how he understood that all that mattered was knowing God and walking with Him. How God’s “talk” was what makes us understand what we are supposed to be doing on the earth. Then he talked some about eternity and how wonderful it was going to be when everyone has enough food to eat and when his daughters legs would be perfect again. I wish I could tell you word for word all that he said because it was very powerful and very encouraging.
Listening to Jon’s heart for the Lord was incredible. Here he is, living in the middle of “nowhere” as a child of God. Because of the Lord He is now living his life full of ABUNDANCE in spite of the fact that he has almost no earthly possessions, his daughter was born with club feet and life is very hard. I am so humbled by his eternal perspective and desire to walk with God. Tom, Aimee and I were able to talk to him several other times as well and each time was equally encouraging. What a privilege it has been to meet him and his family and be encouraged by their simple faith.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Koraate did have the operation about a week and a half ago and is healing slowly but surely. Both her legs are in full casts. It was scary at first because she wasn’t eating for the first few days after surgery because of the pain but now she is eating again and seems to be healing fine. As soon as her casts are off and the surgeon has given her the final check up-they will be going back to their home. We will miss them. 🙂 If you would like to, you could pray that the operation did what it was supposed to and that Koraate will be able to walk for the first time in her life!