Combine the hospital visitation ministry with May River Iwam and what do you get? Some prayer needs far more interesting than my humdrum life! Joel Naiti, a man from the village of Aumi where I lived from 1980 until 2000 has been here in the hospital. Joel came to Wewak several months ago with an eye problem. He opted to spend big bucks (K200 = about $70) to go to a local clinic for a “full body scan” to tell him the source of his illness. The scanning machine also supposedly cured all that ailed him and he went home. Last month he came back to see a real doctor as he has an extreme case of exophthalmos – one eye so swollen it’s nearly pushed out of the socket.


Soon after Joel’s arrival we were able to talk with his eye doctor about what caused Joel’s problem. Dr. Pahau came to Joel’s bedside armed with computer pictures to help explain to us and the 3 or 4 other Iwam fellows also crowded in the tiny space. The ophthalmologist spent probably 20 minutes “storying” about the illness and letting us ask questions. To find a doctor who can take the time for a detailed explanation — wow! That falls in “nothing short of a miracle” category! You medical people reading this have probably already guessed the cause — Joel is probably a worst case scenario of untreated thyroid problems.

Treatment options to save his eyeball were nil. The eye surgeon removed it and will send it off for a full pathology report. That however, as the doctor was kind to explain, can take up to a year. Meanwhile Joel was scheduled to return to his village with thyroid meds and eye drops to hopefully save his other eye. His departure for home is on hold though, as the doctor has kept him in the hospital under observation of his remaining eye. It does not look good to me ……..

But wait! There IS a “good news” side of this story! In all the years I’ve known Joel he has NEVER been at all interested in things of the Lord but this malady is serving as a wake-up call for him. He admits he now “thinks about God” and he sees his debility as punishment for his years of following the “fashions of the ground.” I had a bit of a chance to talk with him about that and to share the gospel with him. Now he needs further input from fellow Iwam believers who will take on an ongoing discipleship role in his life. 3 of the Iwam currently in town are key men for that ministry – Daniel Kawi, Sotias Maum (pictured standing with Joel), and Justin Peter. Prayers will be appreciated that they, and other Iwam believers, can minister to Joel in such a way as to draw him into a true relationship with Christ as his Savior.

OTHER NEWS perhaps of interest …. Mid-June a local construction company uncovered an unexploded 1 kiloton WW2 bomb outside our mission property fence. The army looked over the situation but the timing for the find was not good. PNG was then right in the middle of their national election, so the army were on standby in case needed to keep peace. They could do nothing about removing the bomb at that time. During the past 2 months we all admit it has crossed our minds from time to time how fleeting life can be. At any moment we could all be transported to glory! I intentionally did NOT share this earlier as I know the worry wart syndrome it could create, at least among those in my family who were equally as well schooled in the art of fretting as I was by our dear Mama. Being a sensitive issue (in more ways than one) we waited along with our PNG neighbors trying to keep the army “remembering” that there was a blast waiting to happen. We certainly didn’t want to be “the ugly  Americans” undermining our relationship to officials here by demanding they “do something!” Fast forward to around Aug 1st when rumor had it that the neighbors got tired of waiting. They put the bomb in a wheelbarrow, moved it down the hill and left it at a main intersection on the road.

They then set fires to grass piled up along the sides of the bomb. Everyone lived to tell about it so we guess it wasn’t as sensitive an issue as we had imagined possible! The army or maybe the police must have collected the bomb from the junction since it’s no longer on the road. So – all’s well that ends well, eh! It has been a sweet time though contemplating that in the blink of an eye what COULD potentially happen. Since it didn’t God must still have work for us to do for Him here! Thank you, Lord!

On the lighter side …. Last month I mentioned that a longtime friend was planning to visit! Gillian Baxter, hailing from Grantham England, arrived 20th of August. Her luggage took the scenic route staying extra days in Singapore and finally arrived 5 days later. We’ve had a wonderful time catching up and reveling in what will probably be our “last fling” before our eventual reunion in heaven. She’s also been a blessing to all, helping out in various ways – being one of the adults accompanying the home school kiddos for a beach outing and judging the children’s sand castle competition; teaching a bit of British background to the Stuart children; sharing her salvation testimony at our Ladies Bible study; accompanying us on hospital visitation rounds; assisting with creation of books in the Tribal Resource Center; counting cash in the finance office; helping make the Stuarts farewell days hopefully happily memorable; and the unending housework including making REAL British meals, washing dishes, doing laundry ….. the list is endless! I’d sure love to keep her here!

Literacy will factor highly into the coming days. The missionaries in the Amdu language group are finalizing their Primers and Readers for me to critique before they are ready for printing. I will be flying into Amdu for their first days of classes, possibly in early October. The Kaje tribe will have their initial primer construction workshop next month but it may be right at the time I need to be in Amdu. It’s scheduled for a fortnight pay week for our employees AND all the end of the month finance duties. The Kaje dates are not flexible as helicopter flights are involved and that chopper is not always available! Good thing God has the agenda all planned! Please be praying with me for how the 2 trips may both possibly work out!

Again my grateful appreciation goes out to each of you who are standing together with me in the work God has entrusted to us here in Papua New Guinea. Your thoughts and prayers are so encouraging and are important in keeping us on track as we follow God’s plan for our lives and ministry each day. Thank you for your part in this His work!

Co-laboring to bring back Christ as King!
Hope Sharp