Thursday, February 11, 2010

An update from Amy

Now that the Interface program is over we are spending the next few weeks with missionaries doing the roles we hope to come here and fulfill. The hope is this will give us a good view of how ready we are to come here and serve. We wanted to see how we fit into the big picture here in New Guinea and get a feel for what life would be like.
 I've spent the last 10 days working in the clinic here at the NTM's main center in PNG. Their main job is to keep the missionaries well and healthy because getting treatment at the local hospital is rolling the dice on whether you'll get adequate care. Not to mention that you're taking your chances catching somebody else's germs....a reused needle, the TB patient in the same open ward as you, the dirty sheets, the community bathrooms. The medical system in this country has seen better days. The closest reliable medical system is Australia--that's where most of the missionaries goes to have their children or for big emergencies. The clinic also treats many people from other mission organizations, nationals that live nearby and a few random expats working in country.

The clinic does a little bit of everything--their own lab work, microbiology labs, xrays, ultrasounds, pharmacy. I was amazed. The 2 physician clinic supports all the missionaries, both in the bush and at center. They package up medications and get them on flights to families in the bush. They are always available by email for medical questions and in emergencies, by radio. They teach missionaries how to look in ears and listen to breath sounds. If the missionary can tell that their kid has an ear infection they can give them the antibiotic they've already got on hand and save themselves a plane flight out to the main clinic. Even though it only costs $10 to see the doctor (which covers the clinic's utility bills), trips can add up quickly when the only way out of your village is by plane or helicopter. And, it's that much more time and energy that the missionary can be working on what they are there to do!

I loved getting to jump in and get my feet wet at the clinic. My experience in the ER proved to be very useful because I had seen such a wide range of illnesses. And I had never dreamed of being an ER nurse. Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of room for learning, but it was encouraging to see that I have a good foundation to build upon in that field.

I was amazed at the number of missionaries that live at the main center. It takes about 100 people to keep NTM running in that country! That includes pilots, mechanics, builders, teachers, dorm parents, accountants, tribal supply ordering people, doctors, nurses, people that run the guest house, government representatives, computer technicians, and probably a few more! It takes a large force of people to keep church planters and translators in the middle of nowhere healthy, fed, clothed, sheltered and able to communicate with the outside world! 

Ryan and I are looking forward to coming back and being a part of the work God is doing here. It has been so good to see it all happening first hand. Please pray God would give us clarity on timing and location to serve him as we continue with this trip. Next week we are going to Hoskins to see what life there would look like. That is where Ryan was headed before the cancer scare set Him back a bit. We are still thinking that is where we would like to be long term and are hoping that our time will confirm or eliminate that. Pray that we would see what we need to and that we would be an encouragement to the missionaries there. Thank you for praying with us so far. God has been good and this has been a very good and fruitful time.

Amy Carpenter

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