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Archive for the ‘Rossell’ Category

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

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Greetings Everyone,

Sorry not to have been in touch. We have been off the boat up until today. I have done a weeks teaching at the Bible College and a course on using flannelgraph with the Sunday School teachers while Phil has fixed and fine tuned their HF radio, installed a bigger solar panel, repaired the controller and shown films. War Room was really well received. They are committed to prayer. We have daily prayer meetings, 5 am to 6 am every morning and a good roll-up, too. I told them it wouldn’t work at home!!

When we first arrived, while we were waiting for the dinghy to arrive (it was a couple of days), we decided to walk along the beach to church — about a two hour walk. That went well and when we got there they told us we were preaching — that’s the way it goes here!! Coming home the tide was up and we had to go up over a small cliff. The track was very slippery (Phil reckons Rossel Island mud makes Teflon look like glue) with a sheer drop on the seaward side. I found it quite nerve-racking and have put it on my “Not – to – do – again” list.

We are back on the boat loading up with supplies for three more churches on the south coast of Rossel, I’m doing a three day Marriage and Parenting Seminar at two of them and Phil is installing a new HF radio, solar, etc at the third and most isolated one. It’s hard to imagine the difference being able to communicate between islands with the radios makes. We should be away from the boat for a week or more.

Never a dull moment!

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

The last minute adrenalin rush!! We’d had a fairly good trip, mainly 20-25 knot winds. Wednesday came in with 25-30 knots gusting to 36 knots, big seas on the beam and water flying everywhere as Phil struggled to get the main down and we flew along under a scrap of foresail. The pace was fast and we looked like getting in a bit after midday Thursday. As we were about to enter the reef passage (only a hundred yards wide) under motor with the sails down the engine DIED. Oh No!! I headed the boat back out to sea using a bit of the staysail for steerage and Phil put his head in the engine. I could hear all the tools rolling around the floor as the two metre swells rolled us from side to side.

This vessel has a complicated fuel system with back-up fuel filters and a fuel polishing system. Being the clever fix-it man that he is he soon found what was wrong. It turned out that when he replaced the engine room bilge pump a few days ago he must have bumped a stop-cock on the fuel line effectively cutting off the fuel to the engine; not surprising in the rolling conditions. It took him half an hour in the rolling seas to bleed the fuel system and get it going again.

We then entered the reef passage and anchored safely before dark. Phew!! Thank God this didn’t happen a couple of minutes later when we would have been in the middle of the reef passage –thank you all you pray-ers for the protective covering you keep over us.

Today we are having a REST!!

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

Today we are packing the boat up and getting ready to set off in the morning for Australia. The weather report is encouraging and our aim is to head for Gladstone if possible.

We’ve had a fruitful week at Rehuwa (after Phil got bitten by a dog as soon as we arrived) with me teaching in the daytime and Phil repairing their LED lights and then showing films in the evening. They have really worked us hard but their responsiveness makes it all worthwhile.

The anchorage is very exposed and even with 10-12 knot winds we have had to wear wet weather gear going back in the dinghy against the chop.

We were saddened to hear that one of the Rossel elders — Linus — was set upon by two men and is now in hospital in a serious condition. Please pray for him. This is the third bashing that CRC Church members have received from the local mainline church people. Also please pray for a safe passage for us across the Coral Sea. I’m looking forward to carrots and snow peas and Phil his chocolate and ice cream.

See you in Aus.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

We’ve had a quiet week — at least activity wise. Phil has been busy doing repairs. He brought the HF radio back from the Bible College on the south coast to repair it. He fixed the problem and Peddy took it back over the mountain (a six hour walk) to the college. It worked for a short while then stopped altogether so Peddy walked back with it. The second problem couldn’t be fixed so Peddy walked back with a replacement radio which seems to be working well. It’s a harsh environment for the radios but generally they are going well. The main problem has been the solar regulators — four of them have failed which causes the batteries to eventually go flat and die. We are amazed how much use the radios get. They pass messages all around the Milne Bay Provence with them –school information, health information, trading boat movements, personal messages — there is a constant stream of people coming to the church asking for a message to be sent.

Since then Phil has repaired two generators, the schools whipper snipper (all working), a chainsaw (not working — needs parts) and repaired (fibre-glassed) holes in two of the local’s dinghies. In return two men spent three hours diving on our boat to remove the forest that was growing on it. So much for Fiji anti foul!!

Meanwhile the weather has been anything but quiet with bucketing down rain and bullets off the mountains that keep us spinning like a top around the anchor chain.

They had plans for us to go to another outreach this week but a death in the village has put our trip on hold but I think they will send us to a village on the opposite side of the bay for this weekend (nothing confirmed as yet). We are looking forward to moving and catching some fish. It has been a very lean year fish wise.

Please pray for some better weather and some relief from the Rossel mud. Phil has his soccer boots out to negotiate the slippery slopes.

Radio Australia has been dead for a fortnight so we haven’t had much news from home except what we get from our friend Bruce when Phil talks to him on the HF radio.

God bless you all,

Pam and Phil

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We have just returned from a weeks’ trip to the south coast of Rossel Island. It was fun? going round in their dinghy (a 20 ft banana boat). The wind and tide were against us — the wind over twenty knots most of the time. The tide was falling so we alternately motored (very wet) where there was no coral and paddled and poled (very tiring) where there was coral. In all we poled about seven miles.

Firstly, Phil installed a radio for the government station at Pambwa number one. It had been delivered in January last year but no-one knew how to install it. Phil had to rewire the antenna, install the solar panel (luckily he had taken some of his own parts as they were missing a few) and battery and radio and finally they were able to contact Disaster Base in Alotau and let them know they were on the air. Communication are so difficult in this area and they were very grateful.

From there we went to a small Bible College at Pambwa number two and then to the churches at Wale and Abilete showing movies each night. The favourites seem to be “The Jim Elliot Story”, “The Cross Over China” and “Cinderella Children”. The latter is a very challenging story of an Australian grandmother working in Uganda. It can be down-loaded on the internet and is worth watching.

Some people had been causing major troubles in all of the churches (all denominations) telling them that if they didn’t go to church on Saturday they would go to hell. They were mixing this with some of their old pagan beliefs from their past. Phil and I gave them some teaching on Romans 7 and 8 and Galations 3 to help them see the difference between the old and new covenants and it clarified their thinking and they want the summary typed out and laminated for future use. We also showed a Joseph Prince video on Law and Grace that addressed the issue.

Today Phil has been doing some major repairs to the Rosma Bible College radio with the long distance help from a friend in Australia who has been directing him by radio.

It is always satisfying making the effort to visit the south coast as they are so isolated, so appreciative of the supplies and teaching we bring and so attentive to our needs as we overnight with them. Next year we have promised to do a three day Marriage and Parenting Conference at Wale and to install a radio at the most remote outreach at Abilete.

God bless you all,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

I feel as if I’ve come home!! Rossel Island is really where our hearts are and Sigi and Julie, the pastor and his wife, are our best friends. They had almost a year at the hospital in Misima as Julie almost died from a severe ear infection but is now fully recovered. The church has survived intact and was full on Sunday and again on Wednesday evening when we showed movies — an animated cartoon of the Jesus story which is surprisingly good, some cute children’s singing and a cartoon version of The Jim Elliott Story.

I replaced most of the Sunday School materials as theirs had been spoilt in the cyclone. They have over 100 kids in their Sunday School and do a great job. Phil repaired their guitars and re strung them so I can teach some of the beginning guitarists.

Tuesday night it bucketed down rain and we filled all our water tanks. Peddy made us each a “granny stick” as the Rossel mud is now back in full slide!! Rossel mud makes Teflon look like araldite!!

It’s good to stay put for a while. More later.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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