We have worked through a lot of the dental patients that have presented at Morobe Station. Because of this, three of us were sent to triage patients from a new village a short six minute zodiac ride away. It was the first village that I have been to since coming to Papua New Guinea. I loved it. As someone coming from a culture that is filled with all sorts of distractions, I can honestly say that the simplicity of the life here is refreshing. Refreshing, but not without hardships. While in the village, I ran into a man that I had met a few days ago and his wife. His name is Pari. He stood and talked to me on the beach while we waited for the zodiac to return to take us back. I learned that he is the son of a pastor. He himself loves the Lord and has been involved in youth ministry in Lae and some other highland villages. While he was doing youth work in the highlands, he met his wife, who also was involved in the ministry. When they got married about a year ago, they moved back to this village near Morobe because he has his family’s land here. He shared that he and his wife lost a baby girl about a month ago. That is the reason why he has a beard. Part of the customs here is to let your hair grow when you are grieving. The way in which he shared about his life revealed a humble, steadfast strength founded in his faith. He pointed out a pregnant lady sitting on a porch nearby. “I prayed for her.” He said. ” I prayed for her because she hadn’t been able to conceive for eight years. Now she is pregnant. Her husband has been having trouble with drugs, but I’ve been talking to him. He is starting to make changes to turn his life around.” Pari inspires me. He has stood out from the beginning just by the way in which he has cared for his family while they receive medical treatment. Hearing his story and seeing the way he is intentional with everyone around him, even in the midst of great grief, has caused me to pause and reflect again on what it means to find peace in Christ.
When we got back to the boat, I went straight back to sterilizing the dental tools. It was more of a relaxed day since we didn’t have as many patients. My team mates on the dental team found out that today is my birthday. So the blew up balloons and wrote on them to decorate the clinic. I have grown to really love them in the past week. Each person on the team is so willing to contribute everything they have. Everyone is filled with encouragement to lift one another up through the challenges of the day. I have been blessed to work with them and talk with them each day.
In some of our down time, I was talking to one of the full time YWAMers who is working as a dental assistant in the clinic this week. She has been with YWAM for four years now and has served on the ship for these last six months. She told me about one of her stories serving in a village with the ships primary health team. A man showed up to clinic with his baby daughter, whom he had carried in his arms for three days to reach the doctor. She had a very rare skin disease that caused her whole body to break out in boils and blisters. After assessing her, the doctor working in the clinic that outreach had to tell the father that there was nothing that could be done and she probably wouldn’t live very long because the disease is terminal. My friend, seeing this, felt heart broken for the man. She went up to him and asked him if she could pray for him, his daughter, and his family. After praying for him, she felt God telling her to remind him that He would carry that man through the hardship just like that man had carried his baby girl for the last three days. The man teared up and told her that he was ready to walk away from his faith if God didn’t show up in that day. He told her that she had been God showing up to him. He left feeling encouraged even though the YWAM team couldn’t offer the physical healing needed for his daughter. “In discouraging situations like that where you think you can’t do anything to help, God can still use you to make a difference.” My new friend told me as she concluded her story. She is my age and God is using her in powerful ways.
The day ended with our moonlight serenade, the ship’s talent show. We all gathered on the top deck and laughed at the silly skits performed and magic produced. Some of the dental team got up there to perform a dental parody of the Wiggles called the Giggles. We sang a corny song written specially by one of the dentists. It went like this:
Brush your teeth. It’s the healthy thing to do. Brush your teeth. Don’t want them going phew! Brush your teeth. You only want your best. Brush your teeth. You don’t want morning breath.
To end the show the lights were turned off and we sat and looked at the stars together to end another wonderful day.
As others headed to bed and I headed to write this post, I ran into our photographer, who was just finishing her work for the day. I told her how much I have enjoyed looking at her beautiful photos. Her response was, “You know, I just love capturing the picture of God through you guys.” I loved the phrase she used, ‘picture of God.’ I think that being around this group of people, where every single person is on fire for God and willing to stop at nothing to reach the goal of spreading His love, provides a picture of the Holy Spirit that is so clear it is impossible to desire anything less than all of God. Tasting the adventure that comes with following Him to the ends of the earth makes it impossible to be lukewarm in faith. Seeking Him, worshiping Him, seeing His glory expressed through those around me creates this wholeness that fills me up so much, I have no doubt in my mind I have found what everyone in the world is looking for, the purpose of this life. I was born to be His and so were you.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. -John 14:6 (Pari’s favorite verse)