To read Part 1, go here.
The Work & Witness Team consisted of 14 people from SA, NSW, VIC, ACT and QLD. It was such a pleasure to arrive at the mission station with them and experience the newness of this culture together.
We were taken on a tour around the hospital and various buildings. The people in the hospital, whether patients, family of patients or other visitors, were so patient. Not only patiently sitting in the hospital, probably with nothing to do and very little food to eat, but also with us tourists who wanted to take pictures again and again and again. In fact, they just LOVED having their pictures taken!!!
The craziest time was in the emergency ward - there was a young boy who had a huge gash in his leg. Blood was pouring out onto the floor, yet he did not make a sound or complain once. No one looked at us as if we shouldn't be there. We hesitantly took photos, and were not scolded.
We stayed in Barnabas House. This was a new house, built on the mission station, by previous Work & Witness teams. We were SO blessed to stay in this massive new building, full of the comforts of home - soft mattresses and pillows, plenty of blankets, sofas, electrical appliances and running water. In fact, it was so nice that I was slightly disappointed. Inside, I had been picturing much less-established accomodation for the team, and I had been looking forward to living very simply. I didn't care where we stayed - if we stayed in a grass hut, I would have been happy! One other reason for my slight disappointment, is that I was there to help others, not to be living just as rich as I would if I were at home. I wanted more sacrifice and more discomfort. At the same time, with the long work days we had, of course I was grateful for every provision.
In the middle of the grass just near the house was a lovely grass hut - a rotunda-type structure. It was round, and shaped around one large pole in the very middle. Around that pole was a counter-style bench. All the way around the outside of the hut were benches to sit on. We ate meals here, mostly at lunch-time on work days - we would come up from the work site with the other workmen and eat together, and often laze on the grass before going back to work. On our last day, we also had a barbeque with the workers and a bunch of the missionaries. After eating, we shared, prayed and sang together. It was such a sweet yet sad time with everyone that we had come to love.
I have one particular fond memory of this little spot. On the only Sunday that we were in PNG, after lunch I was feeling a bit tired and needed some space to myself, so I went and sat in the hut. Clouds were coming in and the sun was fading away. My head was heavy and my eyes were not willing to stay open, so I just laid down on the bench. Next thing I knew, I woke up to very grey skies, rain and thunder. It was just amazing. I felt much more refreshed, too!
I did not realize that no one knew where I was... Everyone was worrying about me, and a some of the team had been looking for me. Along with that, there were two "suspicious-looking" men lurking around the fence behind Barnabas House - right near where I was sleeping. Alone. Thank God for His protection!
I will continue to share my PNG experiences!
...come back for more...