For a young boy living in a remote village in Papua New Guinea, receiving advanced medical care can be impossible. But sometimes God brings people together so that the impossible can happen.
Stanley lacked the energy that other children his age possessed. His skin was slightly bluish and he quickly became short of breath.
When Dr. Carl Luther visited their village for a medical clinic, Stanley’s parents took him to be checked. Listening to the young boy’s heart and seeing his bluish condition, Dr. Carl knew immediately that the child had a serious congenital heart disease. Unfortunately, help could only be had a world away. It was a world into which neither Stanley nor his family had ever ventured.
With the help of translators Jim and Joan Farr, Stanley and his father took a six hour boat trip to a town that had an airstrip and planes that could fly him to the capital city. In Port Moresby, a pediatric cardiologist performed a cardiac ultrasound and confirmed that Stanley had Tetralogy of Fallot. Unfortunately, the needed surgery could not be performed in Papua New Guinea.
That’s when Dr. Luther contacted Children First Foundation in Australia and they agreed to sponsor Stanley’s surgery with a prominent pediatric cardiac surgeon in Chania, India.
But having a sponsoring organization wasn’t enough. In order to fly to India, Stanley needed a PNG passport, which would require a birth certificate and a national ID card, and Stanley had neither. Even if he received a passport, he would still need a medical visa to India.
All of this seemed daunting. However, the Lord set into motion prominent people who completed in only a few weeks a lengthy process that could have taken years.
As a result, Stanley was able to fly to India to obtain the needed surgery. He has recovered well and he now has stamina for work and play, and happily joins the other boys in his village in energetic games of soccer.
When many people hear the Lord’s voice and put their talents into motion, lives are saved and witnesses see that with God nothing is impossible.
Gary and Peggy took a long furlough in 2008, not knowing when they would return to their work among the Uramät Baining people of Papua New Guinea. In 2010, while still in their home country, they spoke with one of the translators they work with, who said he and the others had been kicked out of their church.
“What did you guys do?” Gary asked.
“Well, we took Acts 2:38 and started preaching it, that people need to repent and be baptized and receive the Spirit. After hearing our preaching, about 40 youth wanted to be baptized in water.”
Historically in the Uramät Baining area, church ministers have christened babies. When the translators translated Act 2:38: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” God used these words to convict the translators to be baptized as believers, and then to proclaim that message to others.
As these men traveled around their area preaching Acts 2:38, many others wanted to be baptized. Although it has caused some dissension among the people in the area, many continue to be baptized, and today, hundreds have taken this step.
Often after the people had been baptized, they were encouraged to consider any area of their life that held them in bondage and to write these things on a piece of paper. Then they threw them into a bonfire built for that purpose. Others would take certain personal items associated with witchcraft or a questionable cultural practice and throw them into the fire to represent their choice to live for Christ.
A bonfire has special significance in this culture because the Baining people use one in a cultural practice that they have performed for centuries. These Christians, however, have redeemed the bonfire by using it to honor God when they rid themselves of things that displease Him.
Believer’s baptism is now accepted more broadly in the area. Praise the Lord for speaking to these translators and prompting them to preach the relevant truth of God’s Word to their people.