The week began for our family in Port Moresby. It was the end of our supply run, during which we race around the city, trying to purchase everything we can think that we might need for the next three months.

Sunday morning, I preached at Morata Baptist Church for Pastor Holmes Tako. I preached mainly to Christians on a Life of Integrity. While we saw the altars filled at invitation, the biggest blessing I received was the six young people that got saved.
Right after church (2 pm), we were driving to lunch. We stopped for traffic, and the bus in front of us decided to back into our rental car. How does one handle an accident in Papua New Guinea? There is no “911” to call and report the accident! I quickly called Pastor Holmes–his phone was still off, due to church services that morning. I then called Avis, the rental car company, and told them to come immediately.
The bus was unregistered. The driver was unlicensed. The owner of the bus had no insurance. The police station did not have the staff to handle the paperwork required for the accident. Nice.

Monday morning, I took off with the family for Kanabea. Another aircraft had just taken off from Kanabea, and he reported cloud ceilings of about 7,000 feet across the entire area (our airstrip sits at 4,000 feet above sea level), but he also mentioned isolated showers scattered throughout. A quick call to Kerema confirmed that they were getting heavy wind and rain. Another aircraft was operating about ten miles north of Kanabea, so I proceeded. Forty-five minutes later, I came across a line of rain and clouds that went to the ground–there was no other choice–I had to turn around and go back to Port Moresby. (To speak highly of the logistics in PNG, there is a stretch of about 90 miles across the southern half of PNG where there are no airstrips open–they have all been grown over with brush.)

Tuesday morning, we tried again, and this time I was able to get into Kanabea, and make a trip to Kerema to pick up more cargo we had sent on the 7 hour truck-ride.

Wednesday morning, I was able to do another trip to Kerema, as well as drop off Missionary Jason Ottosen and National Pastor Jack Naudi in Komako. The trip into Komako is always a questionable trip–the slightest amount of wind makes landing there very difficult, so we have to do that trip in the early morning. Unlike the strong winds we were receiving at Kanabea, there was NO wind at Komako! That was definitely a miracle.
I had planned two flights to Kerema, but with the turbulence and direct cross-wind at Kanabea, I decided to call it a day after my first landing back there!
When the pilot wants to “toss his cookies,” it’s a bit too much turbulence.

Thursday gave me a day to catch up on some paperwork and carpentry projects around the house. One of the things I’ve wanted to do for Becky for a long time is replace her gas stove. The one she has been using for 8 years is the same little gas stove we bought when we lived in the bush house, when we first moved here. She can only fit one pan into it at a time. We have been saving money for a new stove for a while, and the Christmas gifts that generous people gave last month put us over the top. She picked out the stove last week in Moresby, and I sent it on the truck to Kerema. The problem: I had to cut a space in the counter to allow it to fit. Thursday was a perfect day for that job!

Thursday afternoon, the SIL Aviation helicopter, a Bell LongRanger landed in our front yard! Johannes Rehm, the pilot, and a good friend of ours, decided to overnight with us, and that set us up for an amazing Friday.

Friday morning, it looked like we were getting ready to experience a rainy-weather-day like Monday was. I pre-flighted TMK at Kanabea, all the while not knowing if we would be able to take-off! But, by the time I had completed the pre-flight, the weather had cleared up nicely. Is it possible to have a “small miracle”?

I took off for Komako, where I was supposed to pick up Missionary Jason Ottosen and Pastor Jack Naudi for the weekend services here in Kotidanga. The flight is only 5 minutes long, but the Komako airstrip is in a different valley. When I turned up the valley, I found ground fog all over the valley floor. Bummer! I circled three times, each time looking at the movement of the fog, and hoping to detect a pattern and figure out how long it would be there. On the third circle, I gave it away. Back to Kanabea to refuel, and off to Kerema. That would give time for the fog to clear at Komako.

When I landed at Kerema, I found Johannes rigging up our new sawmill for the sling-load into Kotidanga! How super-exciting to see that the sawmill would be at our village today! Our old sawmill is wearing out, and having a new one is totally awesome.

I loaded Becky’s new stove into TMK and a few new truck batteries for our solar array. (Each of those batteries weighs 77 pounds–and that’s without the electrolyte!) After dropping the stove and batteries at Kanabea, I tried Komako again. This time, the fog was cleared but the wind had picked up. It was a direct headwind down final, which was a huge help–I would not have been able to land if it was a tailwind.

I picked up Jason and Jack and dropped them off at Kanabea, returning again to Kerema. On the second trip into Kerema, I picked up Pastor Jorim Kimas and his wife. Jorim graduated from our Bible School in 2010, and is now helping the Helzerman family get a church started in Kaintiba. Jorim’s wife Tabitha has had some serious health issues over the last few years, and it has all been tied to pain in her sinuses. The short version of that story–earlier this week, my mom and dad escorted Jorim and Tabitha to Port Moresby where she was able to get a free CT scan done! They found an infection, started a new treatment, and Tabitha is already feeling better. I picked the two of them up in Kerema, and returned them to Kaintiba. Jorim did not even have to miss a single Sunday–from the remote village of Kaintiba into Port Moresby and back in just a few days. The CT scan is a miracle–but the return within a week is a miracle too!

Upon landing back at Kanabea, it turned out the timing was perfect. Another five minutes later, and I wouldn’t have been able to get in. The clouds had built up in the approach area, and they closed the airstrip right after I landed. Miraculous–He held the clouds back for me to get home.

I arrived back at Kotidanga around 2 pm, and the unthinkable happened. By way of background, there is a major mobile phone company here in PNG called Digicel. They have the Digicel Foundation, which is a way for their company to give back to communities, and they focus on healthcare and education.

It turns out that the CEO of the Digicel Foundation along with two of her Senior Project Managers were going to be at Pangoba, a village about 8 miles south of us. Johannes, the helicopter pilot, was flying them in to look around at that village.

Being such a great guy, Johannes flew them over to our village, and we got about 30 minutes to show them around and talk about how they might be able to help us out here with our medical ministry. If we were in the States, this would be on par with having the CEO of the Bill Gates Foundation stop by and look at your non-profit hospital. Simply miraculous.

As I installed Becky’s stove late in the afternoon, I realized that the company in Port Moresby had supplied us with the wrong fitting for the propane tank. My heart sank as I contemplated waiting another three months to get the right part. Missionary Andrew Schellenberger came and looked at it, and within ten minutes he had found a spare connection that did the job. A miracle for the new stove just topped my day.

I stepped into the shower after a 14 hour day; and I thought, Does anybody else get to experience such an exciting life?
…and how do I fit even one day into a single page of a monthly prayer letter?