Good ole Dr. Seuss! A few of his books still rank as classics in my thinking – “500 Hats…” being among them, perhaps because of the frequent need to switch which cap I’m wearing. Thankfully I am nowhere near the 500 mark!

Thanks to fellow missionary Jason Stuart I rarely don the Hospital visitation hat anymore. I don’t have a PNG driver’s license so must have a chauffeur – and it became easier for Jason to “just do it” rather than organize times. (I have long refused to get a PNG driver’s license as I fear getting “lost” deep in one of the bountiful pot holes, or at the very least demolishing the underneath vitals of the vehicle trying to maneuver thru the ruts we call roads.)

When he isn’t here though, I am in line to fill in. He has been away with his translation consultant responsibilities a lot of late, and leaves soon for a 5 month resident requirement stint in Australia so ……. for now anyway, that hat is out of the closet and getting a work out. A chauffeur has been assigned and so far it’s working…

A few glimpses from the ongoing venture ……

Nokee from the Siawi language group brought his wife Kati out for treatment for TB – a very common ailment here. The ward where they lived for 4 weeks is not exactly “home, sweet home.”

Baby Aisak from the Nimo/Nakwi villages was brought for treatment of a buluri ulcer. (A very nasty debilitating tropical ulcer caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans. For more info and pictures – Google it.) He too was housed on one of the old hospital wards. Both families have returned to their respective villages now but further healing is needed before either patient is healthy again.

A patient we currently visit is Wendi from the Owininga langage group. She is blessed to be on one of the NEW hospital wards! These recently opened wings boast cleanliness, privacy curtains, adjustable beds, sheets & pillows with pillowcases, a chair for the guardian / care giver to sit on. There’s even an electrical outlet so they can charge their cell phones. And, wonder of wonders — overhead ceiling fans for each bed!!!!!!!! And they work!!!!!

Wendi can certainly use your thoughts and prayers. Various versions exist as to how she was cut but suffice it to say, her toes and part of her foot had to be amputated. Wendi’s mother Mata is a sweet Christian sister in the Lord whose husband Aisak – a leader in the Owininga church – died just a few months ago. Please pray for them as God brings them to mind.

Another hat long in storage – May River Iwam

Because the Iwam usually “need” help beyond my ability to provide, once again, it is Jason who deals with the “Iwam askims.” (Iwam askims = requests, appeals, demands … usually for things needed purchased in town, money, messages relayed on the 2-way radio, money, flight arrangements, money, selling gold they’ve found at a nearby mining location, money……)

Recently however Mark and Daniel came to visit. They were my right hand men and like my “sons” during my years living in Iwam land. Both were key translation helpers and church leaders for a time. Visits from these 2 men are decidedly different from when other Iwam contact me. They don’t come with a lot of pressure to feed their financial aspirations. They are always eager to just sit and “story,” filling me in on what is REALLY going on among the Iwam. The tidbits they’ve thrown out are indications of the need for prayer for the May River Iwam.

  • The church at Aumi / Waumo village rarely meets. The group at Aiwanu village is still struggling along.
  • Even the church leaders at Aumi / Waumo are encouraging the sick to find out which “inukamyau” (Local spirits long worshipped by the Iwam) cause their illness and the Iwam pastors then pray asking God to oust that spirit being and make the person well – definite syncretism mixing traditional Iwam beliefs with the Word of God.
  • Only 3 people that Mark knows of actually read from the Iwam New Testament.
  • May River mother tongue literacy continues to be non-existent 

And a few matters where we can praise God for being at work among the Iwam

  • At least those 3 people ARE into the Word as has been translated into their mother tongue.
  1. Pastor David who formerly declared the Iwam NT hard to understand – likely because he does not read Iwam fluently and prefers studying the Bible from the trade language Melanesian Pidgin version – a very “surface” language leading to little in-depth understanding of deep spiritual truths.
  2. Also Sotias – a younger brother of Mark who also holds the title “Pastor”
  3. Sara – wife of Mark’s brother Sosua.
  • Another of Mark’s younger brothers – Sekop – used to be a sorcerer – but as one of Mark’s grown sons lay dying, he admonished his extended family to follow God instead of traditional Iwam ways. Sekop no longer practices sorcery.
  • There is an interest in mother tongue literacy at 3 villages where Iwam literacy has never been done in the past – Waniap, Waniom and Aum! Please pray for Iwam willing to commit to the task of teaching them.

A couple of final matters for praise and prayer

  • Christina Hutteman has her citizen oath date – Aug 28th! Lord willing the paperwork for her USA passport and PNG visa will go smoothly and they can be back with us by October!
  • Jason Stuart and his children leave Sept 1st for their 5 month annual stint in Australia. Pray for them as they again settle in there – and for all the needs here that Jason usually handles for us.

My sincere thanks to you once again for standing together with me in the work God has granted us the privilege of doing for Him here in PNG. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for your prayers and other evidences of support that enable me to be here. You are greatly appreciated!

Co-laboring to bring back Christ as King!

Hope Sharp