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PAPUA NEW GUINEA



After almost 3 days of travel and about 3 hours of sleep, I finally made it to my destination of Wewak, Papua New Guinea. I was on the verge of thinking I would never get here.. Amidst my traveling it was so obvious the Lord placed one angel after the next in front of me. Every time I stepped off of a plane and onto the next, there was someone who worked at the airport to escort me to my next location. In Manilla, I was approached right away and escorted all the way (a shuttle ride in which I wouldn’t have found otherwise) to my next gate. In Port Morseby (PNG) I was really nervous about all of the things I had to do in the airport and not knowing the language etc, but once again, there was someone there to protect me and guide me. I knew he was definitely an angel.. He helped me, guided me, got my luggage cleared so I didn’t have to pay for it, walked me to the place I actually needed to be.. 

Sitting in the POM airport was an experience in itself. By a different security guard, I was called beautiful and not in the way you want to be called beautiful. I kept walking through and didn’t acknowledge him.. Guys literally staring with piercing eyes at you, watching your every move.. So once I passed the metal detectors (if you can call them that) in the airport, I sat in the departure-flights room which was a tad intimidating as well. I’ve been the minority before, but this felt way different. I was the only blonde “white-skin” (as they call us) in the entire room. 

Kids didn’t take to my friendly smiles and waves as they normally do, instead their parents told them not to talk to the “white skin.” I waited over 5 hours in that humid, smelly, small room for over 5 hours waiting for my flight to be called out. I’m picturing a Darma-Initiative type room for all of you Lost fans out there..

I started talking to a white family that had walked in an hour before our flight who just so happened to be missionaries in the bush also. I’ll actually be seeing them again in the next week or so! Pretty cool!

When I finally landed in Wewak (4 flights later), I was greeted by all of the Samaritan Aviation members! It was so nice to see and talk to people you knew (sort of)! 

Right away there was exciting commotion.. 

While walking to the truck, we heard yelling and a loud clanking sound.. Two men driving a large truck backed into another truck behind them.. They were yelled at but the driver pulled forward, and backed into it again and once more.. Once everyone in the parking lot was yelling they finally pulled away and sped out of the parking lot. 

What a welcoming! The Palm family (whom started Samaritan Aviation and I’m living on base with), seemed to be intrigued by it, laughed at the nonsense and thought the guy was definitely drunk. 

Soon after they pulled out, the government car (that they backed into) went chasing after them..

Base is beautiful. It’s gated and we have a guard and a dog. There’s no hot water but I have a spectacular ocean view from my window where you can see the hills of PNG also. It’s difficult though at the same time… As women, we are not allowed to go anywhere off base alone. I can see the ocean, I want to go explore and get lost like I usually do.. But this place is incredibly unsafe for a woman to go alone doing those things. 

The first night was filled with laughter, love, getting to know people, the kids, the missionaries.. There’s about 8 kids on base between the ages of 1 and 15. 

My first morning was spent dawn patrolling at a surf spot on the military base with Mark Palm and another missionary on base, and Mark’s daughter Sierra. It was quite the scene, as we rode through town , over sketchy bridges, down roads that when the tide is high, is flooded.. But at 5:45 am in the morning, we pulled up to an empty barreling wave. The guys paddled out as Sierra and I sat in the back of the truck taking photos and videos. It was unbelievable as the sunrise changed the sky to a bright orange.

Sierra is the cutest, sweetest teenager. I loved hearing her heart on growing up in PNG, how when she went back to the states on furrow last year, she didn’t know what One Direction was and she was frustrated. She has one friend in the Hill tribes area that is a missionary daughter as well but craves friendship with someone her age.

After dawn patrol, everyone went their separate ways for work. Being exhausted and eject lagged I tried to nap but ended up making a surf clip from the morning. 

At 2:00 we took a trip down to the Haus-Sik (hospital in Tok Pisin) where the missionaries visit, follow up on, pray with and share the gospel with the patients that they life-flighted there. 

What an amazing experience..

We prayed before walking in and then approached the entrance. When we first walked up to the Haus-sik there was a patient Samaritan Aviation  had helped, now sitting out on the patio.. When one of the missionaries and nurses asked what she was doing out there, she said the haus-sik had kicked them out and she didn’t know how to get back home. This particular lady was from the Bush and had never seen infrastructure before, never seen cars before, and probably never a white-skinned. To get back where she came from it was easily 6 hours away via canoe or walking probably. When patients are that far, usually Samaritan will take them back but the gas was too expensive in the plane .. This is why this ministry needs funding!

She had abdominal pain, tattoos of tribal dots, lines and symbols all over her face, arms and legs and bright red teeth. She had a child with her that we gave candy to.

We moved on to the maternity ward where we talked with 3 of our patients and prayed with them all. Once of them we shared the gospel with for the first time. The stories of these women are heart breaking. And if you could even call this place a hospital, it’s more like army barracks style that’s filthy, hot, unhealthy and sad.

Women in PNG are so tough. 

If Seeing those women wasn’t hard enough, we moved onto the next patient who Is a toddler with both of his legs hanging above him because he broke his phemur. 

As we walked through and visited each patient, it was more and more difficult. Every way you looked, there was someone dying, naked and residing in this unclean place. 

It’s moving. It’s heartbreaking, it’s undeniable that there is a need for Jesus here. 

My heart is torn, it’s full, it’s hurting it’s craving to do something. It’s hard being the photographer sometimes, because you don’t want the person to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. So the missionaries have explained to them all that it’s my first time to PNG (which they’re thrilled by) and i’m taking photos to show to all the people in theunited States so that they can help get them more supplies to better take care of them. 

We shook hands with everyone and loved on them. It’s hard not to get into too much detail or else this would quickly become a short novel instead of a blog post, so if you’ve made it this far thank you for listening. Jesus is moving.

Tomorrow we go to the airport to see the planes finally. I love that everything here is go-with-the-flow- no schedule, because I’ve hit the ground running with so much since graduating andI’ve been craving this slower life style 

I’m reading 1st kings right now as well as finishing up Joshua if you’d like to follow along. 

Please keep praying for my heart. You can never un-see things, but know you have to give it over to the lord who created these people. 

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© 2020 by Catherine McGrath