SmythsInPNG's Weblog

October 28, 2010

October 28, 2010

Filed under: Aviation,Missions — smythsinpng @ 5:19 pm

Door Frame

Three times passengers didn’t show up for planned flights and this turned out to be a slow week for flying, so I’m trying to play catch-up on the hangar construction.  I welcome the opportunity to begin bringing order out of the hangar construction chaos.  I need to secure the passenger access area from the workshop area of the hangar; for security and safety. The wonderful work team built a nice wall last summer to separate the two and left a nice door frame.  Now I need to install a double door. 

cabinet maker

Miles Making Cabinets

Does anyone here know how to make doors?  I do not but I am learning from my co-workers who have skills in carpentry in addition to their other ministries.  Apparently no two doors are created equal here.  Looking at an existing door I could see that there are no nails, so that must mean it was glued.   Since a hardwood 2″x4″ board is what I have, I cut it down to manageable one inch strips, then cut those to lengths where I can fit them together to resemble a door that is 32 inches wide by 80 inches tall.   That size seems to be close to the standard for the other doors there.  Now, what do I do to make the frame look like a door?  I found some salvageable thin plywood to slap on the outside of the frame, found some wood glue and clamped plywood on each side of the frame.

Door Construction

When the glue dries I will find out if I made it strong enough support door hinges and a door knob. 


We are trying to build a bit more exercise into our daily routines.   Sometimes I walk along the highway in the morning, where children are gathering to walk to school and business people are waiting for a ride to work.

Taking the Highway to School

The children sometimes ask to have their picture taken.  As soon as the camera comes out they go into “wild and crazy” mode, trying to stand out the most in the picture.

Acting as Clowns

Kids seem to be able to make a toy out of almost anything.

Common Toy

Some are simple and some not so simple.  I wonder why tractor parts are so frequently on my cargo manifest?

Uncommon Toy

In the Mengen tribe, a co-worker has been assisting the missionary team there by shaping the airstrip.  Mud and a thick mossy grass have been restricting my aircraft operations, so our co-worker has been scraping off the wet moss and digging ditches with the tractor to divert water away from the centerline of the runway.  We very much appreciate the stress reduction and increased safety that comes with the airstrip improvements!  Now if there were only some way to keep the pigs off of the runway! 

Scale Calibration

Periodically we have to calibrate our scales to make sure that what we load on the aircraft is actually the same amount of weight that we think it should be.  Overloaded aircraft don’t do too well when confronted with tall trees at the end of short runways.  Calibration of the scales falls on the available trained personnel.  Guess who!  This involves putting certified weights on the scale, recording what the scale reads, taking the weights off, adding weight on the scale to match that reading, putting the certified weights back on the scale, recording the reading and repeating the process until the scale’s capacity is reached. In this case we used the supplies at hand to assist with the calibration process. (This scale was very accurate.)

October 17, 2010


Filed under: Missions — smythsinpng @ 2:50 pm


Noun.  The act of advocating, or speaking or writing in support of someone or something.  The act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy; active support.

to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly:
–noun 2. a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc. (usually fol. by of): an advocate of peace. 
3. a person who pleads for or in behalf of another; intercessor
n 1: a person who pleads for a cause or propounds an idea [syn: advocator, proponent, exponent]

The role of advocacy in our ministry is large.  Early in my teenage years I desired to reach people in remote areas of the world with the message of everlasting life in Jesus Christ.   Who, me?  How?  After growing up in a foreign country and spending more than ten years of training for missionary work in six different states I knew a lot of people a very little bit and had worked in several churches as a Sunday School teacher or Youth leader but had no real roots in any one location from which to draw to begin a career ministry overseas.  This is where advocacy really helped.

My biggest advocates were my parents praying for me daily and bringing me before their church for prayer regularly. They introduced me at their own speaking engagements around the country.  I shared my desire to speed the gospel to the tribes.  From their relationships, God raised up people in several states who have supported me and Diana in ministry for decades. 

Advocacy also came from friends.  They asked, “What can we do to help?” One couple sponsored a reception at their local church.  By their invitation people I had known previously came from all over the state that day to visit and send me on in ministry.  Another sponsorship into that church’s Vacation Bible School resulted in the church’s support that has continued to this day.  

Later, during my training for bush flying, another friend drove me four hours in his car to introduce me to his former home church.  We were warmly received and that church began praying and giving to support the ministry God has given us.  More than fifteen years later that body of believers in Christ also continues to enable our ministry in Papua New Guinea through prayer and gifts.

 Before my first “official” (non-medical) Home Assignment in the USA a friend introduced me to someone who sponsored me into his home church; organizing housing for me, arranging meetings in homes, opening opportunities to teach Sunday School and to speak in front of the church.  That church has continued to increase involvement in our ministry; sending work teams to assist us, praying, giving and supporting us in many ways.

 Some of my best relationships have resulted from one person introducing me to another.  I was introduced to my wife through one of her friends who was actively praying and working to meet Diana’s desire to find a spouse of like mind and heart.

 The chairman of the Missions Committee at a supporting church became aware of our need to resolve some ministry moving expenses still hanging over our head two years after our move in 2007.  One of his ideas was to contact all of our supporting churches and inquire about working together to bring this matter to conclusion.  I must admit I balked at the idea of sending out a letter asking them to give to this project.  Perhaps it was born of American cultural pride that I should ever ask for money for myself.  What a selfish and self-centered idea that was!  … As if we were living in Papua New Guinea for our own comfort!! No, it is a good thing to allow God’s people to become aware of ways that they can help us become more effective in ministry. Today, due to the generosity of our supporters and persistence of our advocate, our moving expenses have been paid in full.

One of the most fascinating aspects of our advocacy for the tribes of PNG is watching God transform men and women, through their faith in Jesus Christ, from self-centered individuals to advocates for their own people and the tribes beyond.

 The more we build relationships here in a foreign country, the less we are able to build new relationships or maintain past relationships to build our support at home.  We greatly value our relationship with each of you who have so heavily invested in us. The longer we are overseas, the more important relationships built in the past become; and, often, more distant.

We appreciate you being our advocates in the USA while we are unable to be there to represent our ministry and the people of Papua New Guinea!  We appreciate your faithful generous gifts.  We appreciate your advocacy in prayer before our God Who has ALL power.  We appreciate you representing us to those who do not know us, there where you are, and bringing us to the memory of those who have known us.  God is our Provider and Sustainer and He has chosen to use you to be His vehicles to provide, support and encourage us.   Thank you for being His vessels!

October 10, 2010

October 10, 2010

Filed under: Missions — smythsinpng @ 3:34 pm

This is my one chance to post something on 10/10/10 so I don’t want to miss that opportunity.  To start off with I wanted to post some quotations of tribal testimonies from earlier this year.

What we have to offer the people of Papua New Guinea is not religion but freedom.  This country is full of religion and the bondage religion brings. The people of Papua New Guinea need the freedom endowed by their Creator.  This freedom He offers is available to all, but not all know about it.  That’s where we come in as messengers.   Then those who know about the freedom must appropriate it by faith in God’s Word and His provision through Jesus Christ.

From the Ma tribe:
“Before we were bound by many rituals and superstitions. We used to give much of our time to these things. Some of us used to be sorcerers, and all of us were afraid of sorcery – but no more.”
“Before the Word of God came, we, each of us, went our own way and did our own thing. We had no respect for authority. God is changing us.”
“We have seen growth in our battle for purity.”
“We have seen God be faithful to us in learning to deal with our anger, and speaking the truth.”

This past week included a visit to the Highlands so that patients could see the dentist and aircraft maintenance could be completed.

Dental Run

But before that could be completed we had to finish some other business of dropping off some missionaries at a location where the leaders of several tribal churches were gathered to discuss church business.

Arrival for Church Leaders' Meeting
A church in Holland was involved in supplying mosquito nets for the children in this area.

Mosquito Nets

Rising at 4 AM and in the air at 6 AM we were able to complete the delivery of mosquito nets and missionaries in time to depart for the Highlands while the day was still young.

Highlands Highway

Upon arrival, the patients traveled the hazardous Highlands highway to the dentist and I stayed at the hangar to interact with our aviation support team as well as prepare for travel the next day.

Gifson has helped many years

Time in the Highlands gives a rare opportunity to look at baskets and purchase vegetables for the Islands team.  I enjoyed not sweating for almost a full day in that cooler climate!

Veggies & Baskets

The neighbors bring their garden produce and baskets several times a week to sell to the tribal support missionaries living in the Highlands.

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