Pediatric Advanced Life Support

by Karen Weaver

The Ukarumpa Health Centre serves both Papua New Guineans and those from other countries. The staff often gives medical treatment for common ailments such as skin infections, respiratory problems, malaria, broken bones, cuts, etc. Usually they are routine procedures, but fairly often, usually weekly, the clinic has to serve in a life-threatening emergency.

This is why it was invaluable that all clinic staff had the opportunity to be trained in Pediatric Advanced Life Support by Dr. Helen Doss. Not only does Dr. Helen have more than 30 years of experience treating children in the highlands of PNG, she is also certified by the American Heart Association as a Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) instructor.

During the training, doctors, nurses and community health care workers learned to accurately assess the source and severity of a problem, begin immediate interventions, and stabilize the patient for transport to a hospital. They practiced working as a team with other medical professionals, reviewed the location and use of emergency medical equipment, and solidified their knowledge on the correct medicines to give for each type of treatment.

Not long after the training, the staff had the opportunity to apply their skills when a six month old infant came to the clinic with severe pneumonia. Rhona, a community health worker taking the course, immediately recognized the severity of her illness and asked for assistance from Megan, RN, also in the class. She affirmed, “This is exactly like the case we practiced yesterday and I knew what do!”  The child was stabilized, started on treatment, and transported to the local hospital for further care. A child with this type of illness would have likely died if not seen as quickly and if Rhona had not recognized her severe illness and immediately started appropriate management and treatment.

Dr. Jenny said, “When a medical emergency hits, especially one involving a small child, it is scary. That’s why it is so valuable to have PALS training to run through different scenarios over and over, until we can function well as a team in the face of life and death situations.” All of the medical staff is grateful for the training they received and for the privilege of helping children and their families.

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No More Fighting

by Karen Weaver

“There will be fighting among us this afternoon!” This was the warning a church leader gave his visitor.

This district church president and others had just been reading the printed New Testament and listening to the audio recording of it. Even though it was in a related language and not their own dialect, it was close enough that they were transfixed on the message. Their interest was so keen that their eyes didn’t want to leave the printed page and their ears didn’t want to stop listening to the audio playing on the solar-powered MP3 player. When Jeff D’Jernes, the visiting translator, would pause the player, the people listening would look up and say, “Let’s hear more!”

Seeing their interest, Jeff asked if they would like an adaptation of the book into their own dialect. However, the church leader declared, “The Long Islanders do not speak the same as we do, but our ears can hear it. Just give us copies of what you have.” That’s when he learned Jeff had only brought six copies and predicted there would be a fight among his people for the books. The dilemma was solved by sending a boat to Long Island to bring back several cases of New Testaments and AudiBible players.

Several years have passed since that visit. After many hours of listening to and reading God’s Word in this neighboring language, the Lokep people have realized there are parts of the message that aren’t totally clear to them. There are some words they don’t understand which obscure the meaning. Now they have a new request, “Could you write an adaptation into our dialect so that we can understand God’s Book clearly?”

Jeff and his PNG co-translators will soon begin work on this important project. In the process, Jeff will train a national translator in the skills needed to do an adaptation of the New Testament into even more languages.

Their dream is that one day everyone in the area from any language group will be able to own a copy in the words they understand best. There will be no more fighting for books!

Just the Beginning

by Karen Weaver

One Sunday morning some of the Titan translators stood before a local church congregation and took turns reading aloud a portion of Genesis 15 in the Titan language. This was the first time the people had heard God’s Word read in their own language. Everyone there that day was deeply impacted, but no one more so than the elders themselves.

The church leaders had an argument months before this which had caused a rift between them. As a result, they hadn’t spoken to each other, even about church business, for months. For the Titans, maintaining good relationships is everything, so this rift was devastating.

But God had a plan! When the Scripture portion was read in Titan that Sunday, God spoke powerfully to the hearts of these leaders through his Word in their own language. Immediately after that service, the leaders mended their broken relationships and began meeting again.

The Bible says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that each person who belongs to God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” God’s Word did exactly that in the lives of the church leaders and others that Sunday.

Grateful for how Scripture in the Titan language had spoken powerfully to their hearts, and looking forward to the team translating more of the Bible into their language in the future, translation facilitator Steve Clover declared, “This is just the beginning of what God will do among the Titans once His Word is available in the Titan language!”

Trusting God in Prayer

by Karen Weaver

More than 30 men and women, who were leaders from five of the nine villages in the Wampar language area, met to study God’s Word and to learn how to apply it to their lives. Each day they gathered under the big mango trees of Zifasing village to learn from the Scriptures.

One of the presenters, Lynda Wick, focused on the motivation for prayer. She wanted to encourage the group to stand firm against traditional expectations in the face of difficulty. As Lynda addressed the group, she knew that it was likely that some of them had been pressured to turn to sorcery when God didn’t seem to be answering prayers in their favor.

In the study, they looked at the passage describing Jesus praying in the garden the night before his crucifixion. He prayed to his Father, “Not my will, but yours be done.” Even in his darkest hour, Jesus voiced his trust in God’s will.

They also examined the life of Paul. Even though he was a good worker for God, he still had trouble. Although Paul prayed to God about his troubles, and was confident that God heard him, sometimes the problem persisted. However, Paul did not turn his back on God. He learned that God’s grace was enough and that God’s power was made perfect in his weakness.

At the end of this time together, one of the students shared how this lesson had impacted him. “Previously, I prayed as if God were my servant and He must do what I asked for. Now I see that I am God’s servant and I must trust him and follow how He chooses to answer my prayers: yes, wait, or no.”

These Wampar leaders have now returned to their homes and are sharing with others in their local churches the truths they learned from studying God’s Word.

Learning to Read and Write

Story and photo by Janeen Michie

“Many nationals do not know how to read and write in Tok Pisin or their own language. It’s a problem for them as they are shut out from the world. They can’t follow the media or read a newspaper. When purchasing medicine they can’t read the prescription.” Mavis said sadly.

Mavis Matmillo teaches adult literacy courses at the Ukarumpa training center. She says, “You see people picking up words. Everyday is joy to see people change.”

Janet a student of the literacy course says, “I couldn’t read or write as a child. My parents didn’t put me in school. I didn’t know my ABC’s.” She grew up gathering firewood, working in the garden, and collecting water. As an adult she heard about the literacy course. Janet says, “I had a big hunger for reading the Bible. I heard about the school at the training center. I was very happy and I wanted to come and read the Bible for myself. Next year I will come back and learn more from the next course.”

Kete Oroti attended school from kindergarten to grade 1. As an adult she took the literacy course and after receiving her certificate says, “I’m happy that I can read & write. God has a plan for my life. I can read the Bible and now I can work.”

The Day Ann Rose Smiled

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Story and Photo by Susan Frey

Sylvester would leave home for weeks at a time, traveling to another village hours away to work with the other Baruga translators.  When he returned home at the end of each work session empty-handed, he would see his wife’s frown.  Ann Rose was not pleased that her husband spent so much time working on translation without any material gain to show for it.  She was not a Christian, and did not understand why her husband could not spend his time working for money.  Because of her constant criticism, Sylvester found that he was not able to work on the translation in his own home.

This continued for more than two decades, until a group of Baruga traveled to Ukarumpa in late February 2017 to do an audio recording of the Baruga New Testament.  This time Sylvester brought Ann Rose with him because he wanted her to witness firsthand the work that he had been so dedicated to for so many years.

While at Ukarumpa, Ann Rose began to feel an intense pain in her stomach.  She was rushed to the Ukarumpa clinic, where Dr. Carl Luther diagnosed her with inflammation of the gall bladder.  He recommended that they go immediately to the hospital in the capital city of Port Moresby for emergency surgery.  Sylvester and Ann Rose did not have the money to travel to the city, nor did they know anyone there who could help them out, and so they returned to their village in a remote part of Oro Province instead.

Months of sleepless nights followed as Sylvester dutifully cared for his wife – feeding her, carrying her to the toilet, and tending to her every need.  “She was in so much pain.  All my hope was gone, and I thought she would die,” Sylvester recounted with obvious pain at the memory.  “But on the night of October 5th, she received God’s healing.  Early in the morning, she woke up and said ‘I’m hungry.’”  Sylvester found some sago in the house, boiled it, and brought it to her to eat.  Much to his surprise, Ann Rose greeted him this time with a warm smile.  His astonishment only grew when she said, “We will thank the Lord before I eat.”

From that day forward, Ann Rose has been healthy and pain-free.  The change is not only in her body, but also in her heart.  Instead of criticizing her husband’s work, she has come to believe in it as passionately as he, and they now work together as a team to promote the translation work among the Baruga people.