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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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Greetings Everyone,

Today we left Rossel for Sudest with eight on board (some extras for Misima) and four logs as deck cargo then turned back as there was not a breath of wind.  We will wait one or two days then motor if we have to.

We had a profitable time at the two outreaches.  At Walanga Bay we were able to assess the situation and look to a remedy.  A former pastor has tried to take over the new church, calling himself a Sabbath Day CRC and has caused widespread confusion.  Phil gave them a copy of a letter saying the former pastor had been dismissed for unbecoming conduct and arrangements are in place now to send three young men to oversee the new church and train up a local leader.  The big problem on this island is the number of villages pleading with the CRC to start an outreach but not enough trained/ mature people to lead them.  I suppose it is a good problem in a way.

At the second outreach we showed some DVDs and I did the counselling course.  The elder was really challenged.  He has built up a good sized congregation and is shaping up as a very competent leader just needing some encouragement to make his own decisions and programmes.

Phil also put in a VHF radio at an outreach on the south side so they can now communicate with the main centre on the island instead of making a two hour walk over a mountain and then 1/2 hour paddle in a canoe across the bay.

The local people farewelled us fondly then welcomed us back with much joy as we returned.  Do pray for us for a good wind for the 50-60 mile trip to Sudest and then mild conditions for the anchorage there which is far from ideal.  Phil needs to fix their radio and we’d like to be able to show some films in the evening if possible.  The shore access is one of those miles of black mangrove mud ones and not my favourite.  Also, when the tide goes out the dinghy is stranded about half a mile from the water.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Wayne and Josene,

I’m glad you got some help from our webpage.  That’s what it is there for!!

We have just returned to Bundaberg from the Louisiades – it was a short season for us this year as we have to go to a conference in Adelaide at the end of September.  Also, our three year visa has to be renewed.

Regarding distributing goods – it is a difficult thing to do it fairly as many of the councillors/leaders/ elders/ pastors are not always impartial in their distributing.  Most yachts only go as far east as Nimoa so the islands west of there, especially around Bagaman, Motorina, etc get the majority of the largess.  Sudest and Rossel usually miss out.

The south coast of Sudest, which has few decent anchorages, is very isolated.  Last year we took, among other things, some small soaps that you get at motels, etc.  The response was. “Soap.  We haven’t seen that for years.”  There is no-one on the north coast of Sudest that we could recommend.

Also, Rossel, especially the east point and south coast receive very little.  However, at Tryon Bay there is a Pastor Sigi (everyone knows him) who is probably the most generous, humble and giving man you would ever meet.  If you leave stuff with him he will see that it goes to those in need.  He never keeps anything for himself or his family.  He even takes it on the three day walk to the east end of the island to give to the people there who are very poor.  We have been there with him and have seen just how bad things are at that end.  An example of what he is like – last year he built shelters (houses) for 17 students from other parts of the island who were schooling at Damunu.  Then he fed them, sometimes clothed them and generally fathered them for the year.  None of them was related to him.

At Yonga Bay on Rossel the principal of the small Bible College, Pastor Sai loa is honest.

At Pana Pom Pom I would recommend  Pastor Mila and wife Julie on the Nivani side.  If you get to Panaeati then either Pastors Pete Joe or Steven are honest men.

At Misima Pastor Kingsford at Bwagaoia or on the north coast elder Ganta at Siagara or Councillor /elder Arnold at Liak.  At Kimuta Pastor Palaimo is honest.

These are all people that we are happy to leave goods with to see that they are distributed fairly and not just to their “onetok”.  Some have lived on board with us for  several months at a time and we know their integrity.

However, if you go to Rossel and Sudest I suggest you keep most of the goods for them as they need them most.

Unfortunately many of the yacht get totally conned by many of the leader and pastors and the gear doesn’t go any further than their onetok.

Regarding school books etc.  If you give them to the school direct they usually get distributed fairly.  Again, the school at Damunu on Rossel is “the end of the line” as far as resources from the government goes.

I trust this has been of some use to you.  Have a great time over there.  It certainly is a top spot.  Rossel is our favourite island – we usually spend 6-8 weeks there each year.  Sorry we won’t see you there as we could have shown you some of the lesser seen places.

God bless,

Phil and Pam

This email published for the benefit of other yachties if they want to do something similar .. Administrator

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