Saturday, September 16, 2017

10 years at Kudjip

When I boarded a plane in Texas, 10 years ago to travel to Papua New Guinea and work at Kudjip, I thought I would be gone for 2 years.  Shortly after arriving in PNG, I knew God was calling me into full-time missions, and so after my 2 years with the Post Residency Program ended, I stayed for a 3rd year as a volunteer in order to determine if Papua New Guinea was the place God had me to serve long term.  Within 6 months of that 3rd year, I knew PNG was where God had called and continued to call me, and so I joined the Angus Church of the Nazarene in New Mexico on Easter Sunday in 2010 and my journey as a Nazarene Missionary has continued ever since.

Sept 16th, 2007 was the day I arrived in Papua New Guinea.  It is hard to believe it has been so long, and yet in other ways, I remember arriving like it was yesterday.  Remembering staying overnight in Port Moresby unexpectedly, remembering my first market experience right outside the airport in Mt. Hagen, the big welcoming party, my first of many meals with my new neighbors (McCoys), my hospital tour, and so much more.  I remember my first week rounding on our Surgical Ward while Dr. Jim was away, and the patients and staff all laughing at my attempts to speak Tok Pisin.  I remember my language tutor Samsali and her kids who helped me to learn Pidgin in my first weeks here.  I remember working with Bill on our Medical Ward and bombarding him with questions.  I remember trying to talk and pray with patients in Pidgin, as I was first learning it.  I remember my first few weeks/months in OPD and trying to rotate which doctor I would ask a question too, so it didn't appear to one doctor that I was as clueless as I felt in caring for the tropical diseases I was seeing in PNG.  I remember doing some of my first C-Sections with the help of other missionaries and transitioning from needing help to doing them on my own.  My first introduction to Settlers, to Rock Slides, to Bush Churches, gardens and so much more.  Despite being far from home, the welcoming nature of the PNGians and the missionaries, allowed me to quickly settle in and soon PNG became home.

Thankfully, some of my early memories are still happening today, not a lot changes here - patients still laugh at me and my Pidgin, Bill still answers all my questions, I still eat meals with the McCoys or other missionaries, I get to share Jesus and pray with patients, I get to care for patients with a variety of diseases, at times feeling like a seasoned missionary and at other times I feel like an outsider, trying to understand the PNG culture, why orders don't happen, why violence and abuse keeps happening and much more.  10 years from now, I fear I may still be wondering about some of the cultural things I don't currently understand.

10 years is a long time to be anywhere and for most of us, we ask ourselves - if it has been worth it.    I don't know for sure how many patients I have seen, but this is the best estimation of those I have seen in the past 10 years.  
- over 100,000 Outpatients cared for
- over 30,000 Inpatients cared for
- over 500 Nights on call (although it seems like a lot more)
- over 250 C-sections
- Tens of Thousands of patients learning more about Jesus and being prayed for and with.  

As a missionary, numbers of patients is one thing, but lives touched and changed by God's love is another, and one not easily counted, but I trust God knows.  Yet, even if the numbers were only a quarter or half of what I estimated, it would still be worth it.  I know Kudjip is where God called me to 11 years ago, and is the place He is still calling me to serve today.   I really can't imagine anywhere else I would rather be serving today, and hope that I can continue to serve as He has called for as long as He calls.

I also know I couldn't be here without the prayers and support of many people/churches back home, who make this possible.  THANK YOU to all of you who Pray and Support me and make it possible for me to be here and continue to be here.  If anyone would like to learn more about that - you can go to this website or email me with questions.