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Archive for the ‘Sudest’ Category

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

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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

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Greetings Everyone,

We’ve been off the air for the last few weeks as we have been staying ashore at Jelewaga, a village on the south coast of Sudest Island. It’s been a real encouragement to see the growth in this fairly new church. Last time we were here I challenged them to read the Bible right through and set them a three year plan to do so. They are working on it and Stanley, one of their leaders sets them in home groups, gives them the readings for the week and does competitive quizzes after church on Sunday. It’s a popular event!!

I had also started English classes here before, especially for Ken their pastor who had never been to school. I continued with him and he has made great progress. One of the young men will continue his lessons when we leave and I’m confident he’ll be reading fluently within another couple of weeks.

As well as this I’ve done a lot of teaching with the Sunday School teachers and we’ve shown films most evenings. They really liked “Fireproof” and “Courageous” as there are a lot of marriage problems in this area and the life of Reinhardt Bonke — a real challenge to evangelism.

Meanwhile, Phil has reinstall their radio installation that was destroyed in the cyclone but they lack a battery and are using our little film batteries until we leave. Being able to communicate with the outside world with the radio makes a huge difference for them as there are no other radios on the whole of the south coast of the island.

We were most impressed to see they had kept all the church material safe during the cyclone as this area was the worst affected by the cyclone and many of their homes were completely destroyed. They managed to salvage the solar panel and antenna (the radio and battery died), guitars, Sunday School materials, blackboard, etc and to protect them in a couple of the houses left standing — quite a feat and symbolic of their priorities and depth of their commitment. They decided to rebuild their church building before they rebuilt their own houses. Three young people; a married couple and a single man are planning to go to Bible College next year.

Meanwhile we are waiting on the weather to go to Rehuwa at the end of the island where we would like to spend a couple of days with the church there before we head for home. So far it has stayed wild, wet and woolly!! Thankfully the anchorage at Jelewaga is very secure in the strong south east winds but it is an hour’s trip both ways paddling the banana boat whenever we need to return to the yacht.

God bless you all,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

Just a brief request. We are very concerned to hear that cyclone Ita which did so much damage in the Solomons then travelled directly across the Louisiades, at one stage being centred on Sudest Island. The information we have received is that it has flattened Rossel, Sudest and Nimoa Islands creating huge floods and landslides which have wiped out their gardens (the only source of their yams and other foods) and destroyed their homes, schools and other infrastructure. It is difficult getting any information as there is no communications with these islands now. As the Louisiades are “the end of the line” so far as the PNG government is concerned the likelihood of official help getting there quickly is remote. In fact their local parliamentary member, who is based in Alotau on the mainland, didn’t even know that the cyclone had hit the Louisiades until he was contacted by one of our friends in Townsville asking for information about the damage. Rossel and Sudest Islands are the ones we spend most of our time at when we are over there and we would appreciate your prayers for these people. Most of them are close friends of ours. We don’t know whether there has been any loss of life at this time.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

 

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Greetings Everyone,

We’ve had a very productive time in Sudest, first at the established church at Jelewaga then at their new outreach at Rehuwo. The anchorage at Jelewaga Village is no good so we sheltered behind an island two miles away and slept ashore in the village for almost a week, showing films in the evening. It is a 1 1/2 trip in a paddling canoe and can only be done at near high tide. Phil fixed their HF radio, half a dozen sewing machines and other items while I taught three people to read the Misima Bible and three others to read English, including the pastor.

We left there Sunday afternoon after a tag team preaching and then Phil doing a dedication ceremony for their new church stage — a real work of art built with a bush knife, blunt saw and a hammer. They are hosting a youth camp in December and are very busy digging toilets, building shelters and collecting food with the expectation of 400 or more attending. Their church here is growing rapidly and is a real witness to this isolated and witchcraft-effected island.

They have planted an outreach about 25 Nautical miles further down the south coast. The leader there, Watson, is a quiet fellow but very innovative. His church land was on a slight slope so he built a wheelbarrow out of an old drum, a large fishing float for a wheel and some saplings and shifted “Oh 50 or 60 — I don’t know” barrow loads of dirt to level it. We held the first service in that new church and showed films in the evening. I did three days of Sunday School teaching with the ladies. Phil spent time trying to repair sewing machines and other items, most of which were past it. (The local member gave out several hundred hand-cranked Singer sewing machines just before the elections (a typical vote buying trick) and of over 90 that we have come across so far only one was in working order when taken out of the box. Most are so badly made that they are beyond fixing without suitable tools. Phil has taken photos and is going to write to the CEO of Singer when we return to Australia.) They have a sizable congregation here already and are planning a further outreach.

At the extreme eastern end of Sudest is another new house fellowship. Samuel, the leader paddled his dugout canoe all day (25 miles) bringing his wife and small child to come and meet us. He has a solar panel and battery which he brought with him for Phil to check (the battery was DEAD). He will get another battery and Phil gave him a VHF radio so he can communicate with Rossel Island which is only ten miles across the ocean from him.

Sudest has been a very dark place for so long. (It is the biggest island in the Louisiades but has a very small population due to deaths by sorcery.) It is great to see these churches springing up. They really value our input both in materials to get started and in teaching and encouragement.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

We set off for Sudest Island after the last e-mail but could only make 2 knotts against the heavy winds and sea even with the motor flat chat so decided to head for the North Coast of Misima instead.

We spent a week at Siagara, preaching on the Sunday and showing films on four evenings. I also taught four people English; two who could read a bit but had no ideas on spelling and two starting completely from scratch. Abraham, one of the beginners, preaches in the church at times but had to get someone to read the Bible to him. He was excited about learning and the pastor there promised to keep the teaching going for all four. I left some of my long shorts with the pastor as he had none and mine fitted him perfectly. He would have fitted twice in Phil’s.

We then moved to Liak, spent two nights showing films and in the daytime I continued teaching English to Isikel, my original pupil from last year.

Phil planned a trip to Bwaniyewa to install an HF radio. This would have to be THE hardest place to get to. Even locals have died falling off the cliffs along the track and going by dinghy (the local dinghies are about 20ft long with 40 HP motors) is only marginally better — maybe. They took us, solar panels, battery, HF radio, wire, aerial and all the tools, etc, in a dinghy and landed us between two rocky outcrops against a cliff face with waves pounding in. Jump when you are told to!! Phil took some interesting video going back down to board the dinghy on the return trip and also of the trip back where he was really concerned the skipper would flip the boat. The swells were over three metres and we were airborne often. I was looking the other way and was blissfully unaware but hanging on like crazy.

In the end we ran out of fuel, thankfully just past the rocky cliff-face (which is most of the coast there) and we had to paddle the dinghy to the nearest village and walk the rest of the way. I think we needed danger money for that trip!! Anyway the locals were ecstatic. The radio will be used not only by the church but also the whole community for medical emergencies and to pass messages. This village is a five hour walk or one hour dinghy ride from the nearest first aid post. (Dinghy travel is expensive — outboard fuel on this side of the island is K6.30/ litre; thats about $3.15 and we used 20 litres for the trip).

Next stop hopefully will be Sudest. We came about half way yesterday. It was rough and the staysail got a tear in it so we are spending a lay-day today cooking, washing and repairing the sail.

Please pray we get calm weather for the next few days as the anchorage at Sudest is not good.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

It was worth the wait.  We set out two days later for Sudest with the wind to order — thanks for your prayers — and had an enjoyable sail and two fish on the line.  Jelewanga is a lousy anchorage but we had three windless days and high tide all day — perfect combination.

We’d been feeling rather negative about the new outreach at Sudest as we had heard the damage to the radio was deliberate and there had been jealousy and division over the clothes and other things we had taken last year.  But we had the BEST time with the situation quite the opposite to our expectations.  The problems had been sorted out and the people were together and incredibly hungry for the things of God.  All they wanted was as much teaching, worship and prayer as we could fit in to the short time we had.  Jerome did a great job preaching, I did the counselling course and the fist day of my leadership course, Phil showed DVD’s at night (and replaced the radio) and we all prayed for virtually every man, woman and child.

The positive signs were:-

1)  There is good growth in the church especially with four new husband and wife couples, solid and serving side by side.

2)  The church recognized through the leadership teaching what a godly man their leader Ken is and two of them told him so publicly in the meeting.

3)  Some inland villages had said it was difficult for them to get to the church so Ken had built “a highway” for them.

4)  Ken, who had never been to school, is now starting to read and speak English by sheer determined effort.

5)  They have planted two new outreaches on Sudest which we hope to visit next year.

We left rejoicing.  Keep up the good prayer work.  Phil’s men’s conference is 10th to 12th October.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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