“There is a big problem here at the clinic. A lady is giving birth to twins. The first one came out, but the second baby is stuck.” It was our head canoe driver calling from May River. “We need you to call the float plane.”
I called the office of the mission organization that provides emergency services to this part of Papua New Guinea, but I got no answer. It was early afternoon, and I knew that if the airplane didn’t leave by 3 p.m. from Wewak, there wouldn’t be enough time for a round-trip flight before dark. I quickly sent an email but received the disheartening reply that the float plane was out of fuel until the following week.
Having a satellite dish that provides an Internet connection in the village has made communication a lot easier. When we left the village this time, we set up an old smart phone to access email and loaded a program that allows phone calls to be made over the Internet so that we could be in contact with our canoe driver and he could call us in an emergency.
We were spending some down time in Port Moresby and had joined a small tour group for a day outing to visit the site of the first SDA mission station in Papua New Guinea and then journey slightly further to the southern terminus of the Kokoda Trail made famous during World War II.
I called our canoe driver and let him know that the airplane wouldn’t be able to come because it didn’t have any fuel. I asked him to give one of our drums of fuel to the clinic boat driver so he could take the patient downriver to where a truck could take her to the main hospital in Wewak. This is not a pleasant journey anytime, and we knew it would be torture for the poor laboring lady, but it was her only chance. We called family members in the U.S. and asked them to keep her in prayer.
On a Sabbath afternoon 10 days later, my phone rang. “Orion, we have a big problem here at May River. A lady from Auni (the next village upstream) is in early labor, and her blood pressure is too high and going higher. This is an emergency. Can you call the float plane to come and get her?”
I called the mission office for the float plane, and the pilot answered. But the news wasn’t any better than before. “The ship came in from Lae this morning, but when I went down to the dock, they said a mistake had been made, and our drums of fuel were not on the ship.”
Again, I had to inform our canoe driver that no airplane would be coming. I knew that sending this lady out the same way we had sent the lady 10 days earlier was out of the question. The boat driver wasn’t back yet, and anyway, carrying a lady in this condition over rough roads after a 12-hour boat ride would almost certainly kill her.
We couldn’t do anything to help her, so we turned to our contact list and sent out an email requesting prayer for this lady and the clinic nurses. A day went by, and emails were pouring in asking for updates, but we didn’t have any new information. On Monday morning, our canoe driver called to tell us that the lady had given birth to a healthy baby late Sunday afternoon. He also told me that word had come from the lady we had sent downriver. She had arrived safely at the hospital where she, too, had delivered a healthy baby. We rejoiced and sent a follow-up email to our prayer warriors praising God for these two miracles.
Without the prayers and financial support of Adventist Frontiers readers, none of this could have happened. Only in the Earth Made New will we be able to fully understand how many lives have been touched because readers like you have supported mission work around the world.