16 March 2011

The Beginning of a Lifetime Adventure - PNG W&W 2010 (1)

This marks the beginning of the adventure in serving God in whichever way He wants me to.

Since the beginning of this year, God guided me down the path to go to Papua New Guinea, and His direction meant that this year was full of PNG planning, organizing, dreaming, excitement, waiting.........

As a result of this, from September 26 to October 10, 2010, I was in Papua New Guinea.

The experience was AMAZING!!!!

Words really cannot describe the journey as I spent two weeks in a foreign country, at the Kudjip Nazarene Hospital. The sights, the smells, the people, the landscape, the travel, the hygiene [or lack thereof], the smiles and handshakes of the people, the work, the joy and passion of the missionaries, the language... All of these things are so imprinted in my mind, and I hope that I never forget them.

If I had photos with me, I would insert some into this post... Unfortunately I don't, so head to Facebook and check out my PNG Work & Witness album there!
On Saturday September 25, I left Adelaide with Alex, Peter and Debbie, and we flew to Brisbane. We spent Saturday sight-seeing in Brisbane, stayed at the Ibis Hotel Saturday night, and then met the rest of the Work & Witness team at Brisbane airport early on Sunday morning, September 26. It was a tiny bit daunting, knowing I would be spending the next 2 weeks with all of these people I'd never met before. Everyone was so friendly though - I was desperately trying to keep all of their names in my mind!!

Our flight was delayed by 3 hours. Pacific Blue's electronic check-in system was down Australia-wide, and two of our team members were stuck in in the check-in queue for over 2 hours. Eventually we flew out of Australia - which was SO exciting for me, because I've never left the country! At least, I was excited on the inside... I was a bit exhausted from waiting around all morning, I probably didn't look too thrilled!

When we arrived in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, we were struck by the intense humidity and heat. Because our original flight was delayed by 3 hours, we had missed our connecting flight from Port Moresby up to Mount Hagen. So we spent a couple hours sitting at the airport, while our team leader Grame and other team members searched for accommodation and alternate flights to get us to Mount Hagen. The very last hotel on the list they'd been given had the exact amount of rooms that we needed - AND it was owned by a Christian Pastor in that area!!! The hand of God is amazing!

So we ate tea in Port Moresby and then stayed the night there. It was really quite scary... Driving around town, there was people everywhere; fences 9 feet tall with barbed wire strung around the top - just really didn't feel very safe. I was in a room by myself, which was quite daunting. Many prayers went up from me that night!

So the next morning we headed back to Port Moresby airport and jumped on a small plane for our flight to Mount Hagen. To give you some small insight to the sights and smells, I was sitting next to a man on the plane [each side of the aisles had just two seats together] who was really quite dirty, and a fair few times throughout the flight he was blowing his nose on his t-shirt. I admit, my tummy really didn't feel good after seeing that and being so close to that... Such an eye-opener and a bombardment to the senses!

When we arrived at Mount Hagen, we met Judy Bennett, who is from the Kudjip Nazarene Hospital. She drove us out to the mission station. Even just that drive was amazing. The mountains; the clouds; the little grass huts in the bush; so many people walking along the main road; families sitting under trees...

Driving into the Kudjip Nazarene Mission Station was SO special. Knowing that I had been called there for even just this short time was really overwhelming. I had such a yearning in my heart to do all I could for these people! Seeing the nurses in the "waiting room" (a tin shed with some wooden benches), looking at the patients; seeing so many people just waiting to see a doctor... really touched my heart and opened my eyes to all I have here in Australia. I am SO blessed!! God definitely used this time to make me much more grateful for what I have.

...to be continued...
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