Goodbyes

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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

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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.

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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!

Accusations

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.

Hospital Evangelism

This morning we joined some of the hospital staff and other missionaries for hospital evangelism.  It is a time we come together and visit each ward in the hospital to sing songs with the patients, listen to a devotional and pray with each patient.

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This morning Rachel Thompson gave the devotional and shared about the stories of Jesus calming the storm and Peter walking on water to Jesus before being distracted by the storm around him.  She shared that no matter where a person lives, whether in PNG, Australia, China or America, we all face storms in our lives.  Just as Jesus was there with Peter, holding his hand in the midst of the storm, Jesus is there for us as we face trials and sickness.  Jesus is faithful.

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The group started in A ward, which is where the children are cared for.  Next came B ward for the adult medical patient and by the time we got to C ward, for the surgery patients, our kids were ready to go home and eat.  We told them we’d visit the last ward, D ward, and then head home.  Once we got in they were glad they didn’t miss out.  This is the labor and delivery ward and they enjoyed getting see the tiny babies beside their mamas and see the even tinier babies in the nursery that serves as the NICU.

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The kids and I don’t often get to see what goes on in the hospital, so this is a special time for us to spend time with the patients and the patients are eager to talk.  Those that Nathan has been following are excited to meet his family.  We are grateful for the opportunity to minister together as a family.

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Creating a Garden

Our internet has been working well for two days now.  After nearly a month of poor internet, I should be able to get some more blogs up.

Over the dry season Nathan hired several men to help him dig up garden space.   He went down to the river with them to gather stones for edging the garden and filling in a dry well.  I was amazed how quickly they were able to get all the work done.  They also have a great eye for making the edging stones look good.  Nathan would lay in a stone and Pastor A would come over to make it fit just right.  Nathan enjoyed getting to do some of the work with the men and was thankful for the extra help when he had to go to work.

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One of the things they did was dig a dry well.  During the rainy season our back yard gets very soggy, so we’re hoping this giant hole, along with a ditch dug out back, will help the water run off a little better.

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This was the depth after the first day of digging.  The next day they went down several more feet and then filled it in with large stones.

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Knowing how deep the hole was, it felt a little strange to be standing on top once it was filled in.

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All the dirt from the hole was used to fill in this low spot that collected water.  After three months the grass has pretty well filled in all of the dirt they laid out.

The Oregon Gardens is one of my favorite places to visit and Nathan is working to make our own tropical version of the Gardens.  There’s been flowers blooming for months and everything is growing in beautifully.

These pictures were taken about two months apart.  We should be getting some tomatoes, pineapples and kaukau (sweet potatoes) from the garden soon.

 

Quick Update

A quick update to let you know that we are doing well.  A cold has been running through the station and our family seems to be through the worst of it.  Daily rains have returned and our water tanks are once again full.  The internet this month has not been working well, so I haven’t been able to blog much.   Hopefully it’ll start working better again so I can catch up on blogging and emails!

Buai

It was startling to see when we first arrived.  Drops of bright red are found all over the ground at the markets and in town.  It comes from chewing betel nut.  The bright red stains the user’s mouth and leaves red splotches on the ground from spit.  It gives the person a high and a sense of euphoria.  It also causes mouth and throat cancer.  This article by the BBC describes the growing problem of betel nut use in Papua New Guinea.  It’s not uncommon to see young kids with lips and teeth stained red from use.  The soaring use along with limited medical care available means the incident of oral cancers will continue to increase.  Please pray for the staff as we treat patients with this cancer and pray that as people find freedom in a relationship with Christ, that they will also be freed from the addiction to buai.

 

A Month to Say Thank You

As we enter the middle of October we would like to say thank you to some special families we know.  Nathan and I both grew up as pastor’s kids.  We’ve seen the high and lows that come with being in the ministry.  We’ve seen the sacrifices our parents have made and the faithfulness of God through it all.  We’ve seen the difference church members make who are not only their pastor’s cheerleaders, but also their partners in ministry.  We’ve seen the wounds that run deep when critics go a step too far.  We’ve witnessed the joys when churches come together to support each other and see lives changed.

Besides being PKs, we have many friends who have pastored.  I hesitate to list them, because my tired mommy brain is sure to forget someone, but I think it’s important for the Vavold family, Martin family, Brown family and Torgerson family to know how much we appreciate them.  We pray for you all often and whether you are experiencing the mountain top of ministry or the valleys that come as well, know that your faithfulness has not gone unnoticed.  Thank you for the work you are doing no matter where you are right now.

We’d also like to say a big thank you to the Johnson family who pastor our home church.  It’s not an easy decision to move from the big city to a small town.  It’s not easy having the full time job as pastors as well as another job to help pay the bills, but it has been exciting to see the spiritual growth.  We are grateful for your willingness to follow God’s call.

We’d also like to thank my parents who are pastoring in Medford.  I am grateful for the extra time we had to spend with you before moving here.  I got to see your ministry through the eyes of an adult and appreciate the spiritual depth you both bring to teaching and worship.  Thank you for your faithful example to following God’s leading in your lives.

During this month of October, and throughout the year, take the time to let your pastor know that you appreciate their dedication.  Be their cheerleader and partner in ministry.