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Greetings Everyone,

We are slowly making our way south — very slowly — over a fortnight in Townsville where we had the rigging replaced for insurance purposes; four days in Shute Harbour while Phil went to a reunion in Sydney; a week in Pearl Bay sitting out a 30 knot southerly and rolling abominably; a rough bash through southerlies to Sea Hill and then through the Narrows to Gladstone where we are tied up snug in the marina enjoying a rest and catching up with Bruce and Dianne who also shared ministry in the Louisiades and at one time lived there for ten months.

All this time we have been in company with Geoff and Marina Jansen and their son Scott on a catamaran “Island Home”. We met then very briefly before we left Bundaberg for the Louisiades then caught up with them at Rossel Island. They love the islands and the people and have a great desire to return to serve them. It’s as if we are passing the baton!!

When will we be home? Who knows? The elusive northerlies are as elusive as ever.

Phil is 72 today.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

After a rough start, the seas and wind settled down and we did our fastest trip ever back to Townsville — 4.5 days averaging 5.5 knots.

When we arrived we had a very pleasant surprise. The marina people came down to us at the quarantine wharf and asked,”Do you know a man called Guy?” “Yes, Guy Wood.” “Well he’s paid a weeks marina fees so you can have a good rest.”

It was the best gift he could have given us and just what I needed. I am enjoying the still bed, sleeping in, endless hot showers and of course every mouthful of fresh salad, fruit and veges. Phil has been able to get medical treatment for his ulcerated toe before it dropped off. We have been able to catch up with friends. Sunday night we shared our experiences with a small local church run by our friends Patrick and Bernadette Russel who head up Christian Friends of Israel in Australia.

From here we will make our way slowly south as the weather permits. We might stop off somewhere as Phil wants to get to a Narcotics Bureau investigator’s reunion in Sydney in early November.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

Greetings Everyone,

Sorry to be so long in updating but we haven’t stopped. We had several days on the north coast of Misima catching up with three fellowships. The anchorages are really bad and we roll a lot which doesn’t do good things to my stomach. It was also very hot and steamy and after walking all day to reach one village I almost collapsed with heat exhaustion. Then another dinghy ride to Bwanieawa — the most difficult place on earth to get to — for Phil to repair their radio.

In each place they were really encouraged by our presence as no-one had touched base with them for almost three years except for our visit last year and they were very despondent.

Our last call for the year was to Panaeati. You never know what you will be asked to do. Phil did a cargo-run for them to Misima to pick up half a ton of cement for building their church stage. Meanwhile I stayed in the village doing a teaching on inner healing to the ladies. Some of them have a rough time and are carrying many hurts inside.

Now we are doing some hasty minor repairs and packing up, hopefully to set off in a day or two for Townsville as the weather seems favourable at the moment. One yacht just returned to Cairns and said he’d had the best run ever with a six knot average and smooth seas. We’ve had one trip like that in twenty six crossings.

Please pray we have the same.

God bless you all,

Pam and Phil

Greetings Everyone,

We arrived in Misima bearing gifts. On our travels around Sudest we caught firstly two Spanish mackerel then three more, a large pike a trevally and finally another Spanish mackerel. Even feeding five passengers for several days my fridge was overflowing and I was pleased to unload the excess fish and accumulated heads at Misima. They promptly invited us to share a meal — an excellent way to catch up with some old friends.

In Jelewanga the whole community had been saddened by the death of their leader, Ken. I had spent a lot of time last year teaching him English. Fortunately we still had Pastor Sigi with us. He is such quality and spent a lot of time with some of the young men there encouraging them to step up into leadership and promising to send a support team. Phil fixed their radio.

We left one afternoon after heavy rain. The tide was up which means the access to the dinghy was via logs through the mangrove mud. The catch was the logs were underwater. One of three young men walked in thigh deep oozy mud holding on to me and guiding my feet onto the logs — otherwise I’d probably still be there.

By the way, Phil’s foot is better — thanks for the prayers.

God bless you all,

Pam and Phil

Greetings Everyone,

SO much has happened in the past ten days. We finally got some zoom and endured the usual two hour wet trip to Wale where I did a day teaching Sunday School teachers and a three day conference on Marriage and Parenting. Phil did an hour’s walk further down the coast to liaise with a catamaran with engine trouble and came back with a coral cut that developed into a tropical ulcer which we are still trying to get to heal.

We returned to Damunu where they gave us an INCREDIBLE farewell — a major production with song, dance, drama, speeches from visiting dignitaries and tearful farewells then of course a feast. Even the school was closed so the teachers and students could attend.

The next day, just on dawn, Pastor Sigi’s wife and daughter came out in a canoe weeping uncontrollably. I thought someone had died. But NO. The whole family had been so upset at our leaving, especially Sigi, that Julie came out to express their grief. It was a VERY moving experience. In the end Sigi and Julie decided to come with us to Sudest Island while we visited the churches there. Phil installed an new HF radio in a very remote village on the eastern tip of the island. After sailing to Sudest we had another two hour very rough dinghy ride to the village. Phil took his GPS and clocked the dinghy speed — we sat on 19-20 knots when we were not dodging reef. Phil was worried that the jarring would harm the radio but all went well.

When we returned to the yacht they got Phil to check why the government radio wasn’t working. We cannot doubt that these people value the work we do with them. It is proving very hard to say goodbye.

Today we sailed to Jelewaga on the south coast of Sudest and will spend a couple of days here doing some work.

God bless you all,

Pam and Phil

Greetings Everyone,

Transport and communications are the two biggest problems here. Local trading boats are no longer allowed to carry passengers if they are bringing fuel. It effectively makes it twice as hard for people to get around, often taking 3 to 4 months for mum’s with new bubs to return from hospital in Alotau. And fuel is always in short supply (apart from being over 8 kina a litre at Rossel, that’s over $4). We’ve been waiting a week for some zoom to get to our next venue.

Meanwhile Phil has installed one new radio at Morpa and relocated an existing one here at Damunu. The bush houses only last 7 to 8 years and have to be rebuilt.

The locals are SO pleased to have them. Misima now has mobile phones (if the sun has been shining and the phone tower has power) but the people in Rossel don’t get a signal. They climb a high mountain early in the morning but usually are unsuccessful in getting a connection so they really count on the radios and the whole community uses them. Phil is very popular and is constantly getting messages of thanks from the OIC of the local government area here. I think as well as sending people to Bible College, it’s one of the best services we have been able to provide.

Lack of medical facilities are also a problem. I was asked to dress a little girl’s leg. She had put a coconut on her knee and got a bush knife (machete) to open it and she missed the coconut and cut her knee. The aid post nurse was away and all she had on it was a lump of cotton wool. It was deep and gaping and really needed stitching. She was in a lot of pain and was only six years old. I disinfected it, applies butterfly clips, dressed it and gave her a panadol. She didn’t cry — just looked at me with big eyes. You need to be a Jack of all trades here.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

Greetings Everyone,

We had a harrowing trip back from the South Coast through a narrow reef-strewn passage that had been dynamited in the past for trading boat access. It is only about nine metres wide in places. The problem was the tides. They are low almost all day. We tried to take the rising tide in late afternoon but it was impossible to navigate with the setting sun in our eyes and we had to do some difficult manoeuvring and anchor for the night. We left just after daybreak the next morning and scraped through with 0.1 metre under us. The locals are still amazed we got through.

Since then we were honoured guests at a joint school meeting to launch a new curriculum for the elementary schools. They are to teach in English instead of their own languages — a positive move. I gave a speech on the value of education and presented copies of my booklet on teaching English to each of the teachers.

On Sunday Phil, with his usual reluctance, gave an excellent sermon entitled “Where is the Joshua Generation?” challenging young men to train under their leaders now to fulfill the needs of the future. The leaders want him to give the same talk next Sunday at Morpa, six miles further north.

Never a dull moment!!

God bless,

Pam and Phil