SmythsInPNG's Weblog

September 16, 2008

September 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — smythsinpng @ 11:58 am

Yesterday about 2:30 in the afternoon I received a call that there might be a request for a medical evacuation.  The missionaries involved were communicating with the doctor about the situation. One of their children had a serious infection in a dangerous location. 

I began to check various satellite weather sources and prepare a flight plan.  A quick look outside showed a bunch of rain showers. Praise the Lord for an Instrument rating and properly equipped aircraft!

A short time later word came back to me.  Yes, the doctor thinks they should come out of the tribe to get better medical assistance. I called Diana who was finishing up assisting another missionary with Bible translation formatting in MS Word.  She would be listening to the radio to keep track of the flight.  I began flight preparations in earnest and was in the air soon thereafter.

The family and tribal friends were waiting at the remote airstrip.  One does not simply walk away from a house set up in the tribal location, so I know they have been very busy shutting things down and packing. 

Except for about half an hour of flying in rainshowers, the flight was uneventful.  There were sunny skies on both ends.  I guess we know Who controls the weather!

A day later there are small signs of patient improvement but we are still praying for full healing.   

Snack Hut

Snack Hut

Today was Papua New Guinea’s Independence Day celebration. So I drove the motorbike into town to observe the festivities. We were uncertain of the conditions so Diana stayed home. Large crowds in this country can a be rather volatile environment but can be a great way to learn values and local culture.

Along the way there were various kinds of gatherings and decorations like a snack booth covered with palm leaves.  Most vehicles were covered with decorations or decorated people.

Decorated Vehicles

Decorated Vehicles

A large field had been lined with county fair type snack booths, PNG style, for vendors to sell their products. Every shaded spot was packed with people as the sun was blazing hot most of the day.

There were a few musical groups on the stages and 29 different groups all decorated in traditional tribal dress to represent the provinces throughout the country.

In the middle of the field was a “greased pole” with a bunch of prizes suspended about thirty feet in the air.  The first person to master the pole tosses the prizes to the crowd on the ground.

Grease Pole Climb

Greased Pole Climb

This guy got my attention when the crowd let out a roar and about three hundred people started running toward and past me.  Thirty sandals and a wide variety of other clothing articles went flying through the air. He used a chain from a chain saw to assist his climb and pulled the guy above him down to reach the top. So apparently he broke the rules.  The last I saw of him he was riding in the back of pickup truck or “ute” surround by half a dozen police officers.

"SingSing" Group

"SingSing" Group

"SingSing" Group 2

"SingSing" Group 2

The traditional dress competitions didn’t start as early as I had hoped, so I had a bit of time to talk with people while waiting in the shade of a  tree.  Quite a few of the more educated people are available for conversation on a holiday such as this.  I had several opportunities to share who we are as missionaries and our vision for reaching PNG people with the gospel.  Several of the folks from our tribal locations also introduced themselves to me.  God is constantly at work in the lives of us all, so you never know how He will use a particular conversation for His glory.   

Thanks for praying!

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