A Week of the Unexpected

Last week was quite eventful. It started early Monday morning about 3:45am. I woke up to the bed shaking and thought one of the kids was trying to climb into bed. When I rolled over and didn’t see any children, but the bed was shaking even harder, I realized it was an earthquake. In the morning we found out it was located around 100 miles or more to the West of Kudjip and was about a 7.5. Thankfully, the buildings and hydroelectric dam on station didn’t suffer any damage. Some people had things fall of shelves and break, but the damage locally was minimal.  Even this week we continue to feel small tremors.

Many landslides were triggered at the epicenter and buildings were damaged. The last estimate I heard were that 30 people were killed. Here is a link to pictures Connie Aebischer took as Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) assessed the damage and prepared to help those affected by the earthquake.

At some point during the week we also had a lightening strike take out the phone lines on station. They are trying to get those fixed and updated. This biggest problem this creates is when the doctors are on call and the hospital needs to get ahold of them. Thankfully, we have cell phones as a back up and when those don’t work the security guards fetch the doctor to help. The landlines still are the best option for call, so they continue to work at getting those back up and running.

The large autoclave machines also quit working last week. An autoclave helps sterilize equipment for procedures in the ER, for surgeries and for C-sections. We have two large autoclaves and a couple that fit on a table top. Both large machines quit functioning and for a day or so we were able to function solely as a clinic, seeing outpatients and giving medications, but were not able to preform the functions of a hospital. Thanks to the work of maintenance staff, the machines are up and running again. You can read more about the impact this made on Dr. Erin’s blog here.

The power was also going off quite often last week and into this week. Thanks to the hydroelectric dam we have much more reliable power than we could get on national power. I’m not sure the reason, but during the day the electricity was good, but around dinner time most nights last week it went off. Sometimes it lasted for just a few minutes and other times much longer. Nathan’s headlamp has come in handy. Last night he was in the ER stitching up the wound on a lady’s heal. Her husband was mad at her and chopped her with his bush knife, cutting her bone and possibly cutting her tendon. In the middle of caring for her everything went pitch black as the power went out. While he waited for the generator to kick on, he was able to keep caring for her by the light from his headlamp. He was thankful it came on when it did, because all the little nighttime bugs were starting to swarm his headlamp.

One evening last week we made it through dinner and the power went off just as we started chores. The water won’t turn on without power, so in order to do the dishes we had a couple kids run outside with buckets to collect water from the large tanks. We heated it on the gas stove and did dishes by candle light. It was actually a fun evening and just as chores were finished the power came back on.

As Dr. Erin highlighted, there are so many people that help to make the hospital function and last week showed how important each person is, from those working on the phones, to the men fixing the autoclaves, to the security guards and the people working on our power. It takes far more than doctors and nurses to keep a hospital up and running and we are grateful to each person that has a hand to helping to bring physical and spiritual healing to the people of PNG.


*All typos and poor grammar are brought to you by a busy mama trying to get back into the habit of keeping you updated through the blog!







A Little Visitor

I am so grateful for the ways God brings encouragement to us.  This morning I woke up not ready to start the day let alone start a new week.  Nathan was on call Saturday and while we expect Saturday calls to be long, this last call was one of the hardest since being here.  Add that in the middle of an extended q3 call schedule and both of us are feeling worn down.

Nathan called mid-morning to say he had someone that wanted to come down and visit.  It was Baby M and her mother.  Baby M was born with Down syndrome and a heart condition.  They weren’t sure she would survive, but she’s now about 18 months old and doing well.  She lives in the Jimi Valley, which is a remote area about 3-4 hours (depending on road conditions and availability of transportation) from Kudjip and has a small health station as it’s only medical care available.  Nathan has been seeing Baby M regularly as he keeps track of her heart condition.  A couple months ago he brought her mother to meet our little two with Down syndrome and has been able to talk with her not only as a doctor, but also as a parent of a child with Down syndrome.  We were blessed to have a doctor in the States who had a son with Down syndrome.  It was a huge encouragement to have a doctor that could relate on a personal level to both the blessings and challenges of living life with disability.

Baby M’s mother wanted to come down to visit me and the kids today.  She had a bag full of produce for us and she had made both Nathan and me bilums (woven bags) to say thank you for all the work Nathan is doing.  When I first held Baby M she started crying, but she soon settled into my arms and I got to snuggle with her as I talked with her mama.  As they left, Baby M, waved and gave us a big beautiful smile to help bring a little sunshine to a hard Monday morning.


Please be praying for Baby M and her family as they raise her here with so few resources.  Pray for wisdom for Nathan as he treats her heart condition and for us to continue to encourage her mother as she has encouraged us.  And pray for strength during this time that is extra busy.

Our little ones were too busy watching the baby to look at the camera!

Putting Beetles to Work


Our bug catchers have been keeping themselves busy and these rhino beetles don’t get a free ride when moving into our house.  This one was put to work pulling a miniature PNG flag on a sled.  While they are strong little creatures, the kids had to downsize from the first giant sled they made.


We’ve also found that tying a leash on the beetles makes them much easier to catch when the giant beetles decide to go for a little flight inside the house.  If they do escape their leashes we’ve learned to turn out all the lights and the escapee will soon land near a window which makes it much easier to catch.


Have you every wondered what an angry beetle sounds like?  This one doesn’t like being blown on or touched.

With the internet not working in the fall and then the holidays, I haven’t kept up on blogging.  We’re working on some blog posts and hopefully get back into posting regularly!

Our First Christmas in PNG

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Not because of the cold weather and snow, but because of all the decorations and Christmas parties and church services.  Nathan and I went into town last week and were greeted by a giant inflatable Santa sitting on top of a strip mall.  The stores were full of lights, ornaments and Christmas music.  On station several of the houses have lights strung along the porches and each ward on the hospital has Christmas decorations up.  Here’s a few pictures from various Christmas events from the past few weeks.


This video is the kids singing and signing a song at our Enligh lotu (worship) service that happens once every other month.


The Christmas play at Enlish lotu.  The tall men in black are King Herod’s tough guys.  Everyone did a great job and the play was quite funny.


Caroling on the wards Christmas Eve.


Handing out gifts on the wards


Nathan with the nurses he’s been working with on D ward for labor and delivery.  Friday evening he had to rush to the hospital for an emergency C-section and we got to meet the mama and baby he helped.


This big sister wants another baby brother or sister to hold, so was quite happy to have a chance to hold one of the babies on D ward.  All the kids love seeing the many tiny babies on this ward.


Christmas caroling around station in the sprinkling rain.


The boys at our table for the missionary Christmas party.  The pictures really don’t do the decorations justice.  The decorating committee went all out and it was lovely evening.


The high schoolers entertained us with a PNG version of the Twelve Days of Christmas with a couscous in a guava tree, three MAF planes, cicadas singing (or screeching) and many other uniquely PNG experiences.


Our baby girl wasn’t too sure about Santa, but our big girl was quite happy to have Santa passing out presents.  Santa was played by Uncle Bill.

May you all have a very Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Christ and look forward to celebrating his resurrection!

Preparing Gifts

Even the little ones have a chance to be involved in ministry.  In preparing for Christmas Aunt Gail invited some of the little MKs to come and help prepare gifts to give to patients on Christmas Eve.  We counted through stuffed animals for the kids, toiletry kits for the adults and baby kits for the newborns.  These will be delivered by the missionary families to patients on all four wards of the hospital.

While sorting through the gifts we came across some bottles of neosporin, so we gathered those to deliver to the surgery department.  Neosporin has been in short supply, so we were glad to find these.

We also got to say hi to Nathan since he was in the ER when we walked by.



Jim and Kathy Radcliffe have been serving in Kudjip for nearly 33 years.  They’ve raised their six children here and have touched countless lives both in Papua New Guinea and the United States.  When I travel into town and someone hears that I am from Kudjip they often share a story of how Dr. Jim saved their life or the life of a loved one.  Kathy has been involved in ministry in countless ways around the hospital.  Her calm spirit is a blessing to patients, staff and missionaries alike.  Many people have decided to follow Jesus through their ministry.

Praying over Jim and Kathy

Their time at Kudjip is quickly coming to a close as they prepare to move back to the United States just before Christmas.  There have been many goodbyes and last weekend was a chance for the missionary family to say goodbye.  While I am disappointed to have to say goodbye so quickly in our time here, I know God will continue to use them as they return Stateside.  Would you pray for them as they leave a place that has been home for 33 years.  Pray for their transition back into life in America and for their ministry there.


In this game we were given quotes and had to guess if Kathy or Jim said them.

The little ones played toys during the festivities



The Doctor Preaches

Over the summer our friend, Pastor A, asked us if we would visit his church and have Nathan preach.  In September, Nathan had a free weekend, so he prepared a sermon in English and began translating it into Tok Pisin.  The local tribal languages can be complex, but as a trade language, Tok Pisin is a fairly simple language that uses a lot of description rather than specific words.  For example, a toe is pinga bilong lek (finger belong leg).  With all the descriptions needed in translating, Nathan realized that even though his sermon was a reasonably length in English, it was going to be incredibly long in Pisin.  He shortened it down in time for Sunday morning and we hopped in the Land Cruiser to drive the 15 minutes to pick up Pastor A along the side of the road.  He directed us up a dirt road just off the main road and we tried to make it up the hill.  It had rained some the night before and we didn’t make it up the muddy road the first time, so we rolled back down, put the vehicle in four wheel drive and made it up the second time without a problem.


Most off the congregation was waiting at the church when we arrived and greeted us as we climbed out of the Land Cruiser.  Pastor A’s wife was there with their four children.  We had met his wife and oldest son before when they came for lunch, but were able to meet their other son as well as the their two little girls they adopted.


About a year ago they built the foundation, frame and roof of the church building and for now the open walls let in a nice breeze during the service. Everyone entered and took off their shoes and our family was ushered to the front of the church.  Pastor A introduced our family and then led the singing and three people accompanied with guitars.  After knowing his story of once being a rascal who was always looking for trouble, I loved sitting there watching him lead singing and seeing his passion as he encouraged his congregation.  His life has seen an amazing transformation through his relationship with Christ and it is evident in all he does.

At one point during the singing I noticed more eyes on us than usual and turned to look behind me.  Our youngest son was perched on the concrete foundation with his eyes closed and head swaying and he sang along with the congregation.  The lack of walls proved to be a little distracting to my bug catchers as they saw crickets and beetles crawling through the grass.  They were itching to jump to the other side to catch the little critters.  They stayed through most of the service, but hopped out to join the other kids towards the end.


After the service we chatted with many of the people and then they presented us with fruits and vegetables to take home.  We are so humbled by the generosity of the people when we visit a bush church.  And it is a blessing to be able to worship along side fellow believers.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving greetings from Papua New Guinea!  We hope each one of you has a special time with friends and family this year.


In the land of perpetual summer I completely forgot to pick up all the fixings for Thanksgiving dinner on my last trip to town.  The kids assured me, though, that pizza would make a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.  So we enjoyed a lovely pizza dinner together with crystal light sent by friends from home and Nathan’s homemade french fried onions.


We are thankful for each of you.  The support we have felt in preparing to move here and, now, in being in Kudjip has been amazing.  So many of you let us know that you are praying for the ministry, have sent us packages from home, have made it financially possible for us to be here, and have checked in to see how the adjustment to life in PNG is going.  You are helping to bring physical and spiritual healing to the people of PNG and we are deeply grateful for each of you.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


On Friday morning Nathan was examining a child in the club foot clinic.  He looked over to the ER just adjacent to the room where he was casting and saw Dr. Bill McCoy treating a patient who had been accused of sorcery.

In PNG and other countries around the world, death is not seen as an accident or natural part of life.  It is believed that death comes because someone else brought it about.  A woman is usually accused of causing the death and she is tortured for her supposed sorcery.

Just a few months ago a toddler chocked on some food and died.  Two women were accused of causing the child’s death and were tortured for 36 hours before the police rescued them.  One died shortly after and the other woman was brought to the hospital, but she, too, died from her injuries.

In an effort to stop the torture, the woman will sometimes accuse another of sorcery and the cycle continues as the blame is shifted to someone else.

Several years ago a woman was accused of sorcery and was burned alive.  Her young daughter was taken to a place of supposed safety, but on Friday this little girl was brought to Nazarene Hospital because she became one of the youngest victims of torture after being accused.  Six years old.  Six.

We are here to help bring medical care for people who would not otherwise have it, but more than that we are here to bring the hope of Christ.  He will bring freedom from the chains of evil.  He will mold a society that is uniquely Papua New Guinean.  A society that is not bound by superstition but instead values each member as a child created in His imagine.  In the midst of horrible situations like this, there is hope that is found only in Christ.  Will you pray with us that God will break the bonds of this practice.  Pray for this child as she walks the long path to physical and psychological healing.