When baby Lazarus was born, he died three times and had to be resuscitated. Hence he was given the name Lazarus. Sometime later, we were doing hospital outreach in the ward where there are mothers and babies. And there was Lazarus, sick, looked after by his mother. So we prayed for him and he became well. He has since come sometimes to my Friday kids group with his brothers. He is about 2 now. He has been starting to try to sing some of the songs with us. He is very active and curious. A very precious little boy!

Lois and Neal Semanison are missionaries with Interlink Ministries, on loan to MAF. Neal is working in the Engineering Department, currently putting together a training curriculum for engineers. The Semanisions are from the US and came to PNG 2012.

 

Lois is on a spouse visa and does not have a job or official role with MAF. but she has a big heart, loves chocolate and has lots of time on hand which she turns into blessing the people in the community.

Her background is that of 31 years working as a social worker. When she came to Mt Hagen, after eight days of language training (Tok Pisin), she got involved with a Brazilian missionary couple who were starting a prep school in Polga, Jiwaka Province. Lois shares, “Lillian, a national friend, and I would go once a week to share a Bible story with the children. I began to visit people in the hospital and about 2.5 years ago, I started to visit the prison in town as well. I also have a group of kids that meet in my house on Friday afternoons where I share a Bible story, songs, a craft and some food. I have as few as 9 and as many as 17 children coming. In addition, I have devotions with the compound guards every morning and I provide meals for the guards. I have made friends with a number of nationals so I have many visitors.“

The Lazarus story above and the ones following below are some glimpses of Lois’ ministry to be a living testimony of the love and care of our Heavenly Father, who does not want one of his sheep to go astray. 

 

Hospital Outreach

On Mondays at noon, we go to the hospital. Our first stop is usually the special care nursery. There can be up to 12 babies in there. They are premies and babies with special needs. We try to take onesies and maybe soap and tracts and sometimes bananas. Everything depends on how much money I have or on what others bring. We read Scripture with the ladies and pray with them. Sometimes I even have pictures made by my Friday group kids to give them.
“Some time ago, I was visiting the women’s ward along with another missionary. We were visiting a woman who needed to have surgery to repair fistula. The other missionary was involved in working out the surgery at another hospital. The bed next to this woman had a woman who along with 7 other women were going to have hysterectomies. I spoke with this woman and prayed with her. Later, one day as we were coming out of the hospital, she approached me at the gate and told me that the day we had prayed before the surgery, she had confessed her sins to the LORD and had forgiven all those she needed to forgive. She is the only one who survived the operation. The others all perished. I run into her from time to time when I shop at the market. She just glows and we hug. God did something miraculous in her life as well.“

 

I just took the pair of crutches that one of the other MAF ladies got for me from the Aussie second-hand store. The man needing them is still in bed. It was a car accident. He has had skin grafts and a rod inserted in his leg. He expects to be there two more weeks. He is in a ward with many other accident victims. Sadly, the hospital has no crutches or wheelchairs. One young man is totally unable to walk and desperately needs a wheelchair.     

 

 

This photo shows a little boy in the hospital who was very excited to receive a Jesus coloring book. In the background, you can see the pastor that we have visited many times. He fell down a cliff and has been in the hospital for 4 or 5 months. He just had surgery and the nurse said it did not go well. She said he will be in the hospital for 4 more weeks. We have some crutches for him that were bought by another missionary. He believes God has him there for a purpose.

Nirmala, another MAF spouse, and I visited Lina and Jos from Huya in the Hagen Hospital a few weeks back. Lina has chronic renal failure and was flown to Mount Hagen by MAF as there is only a small hospital in their area and no road access. Unfortunately, there is not much they can do here for Lina, but she has been given a blood transfusion. We were able to take them some food items and some medevac packs that MAF missionary women had put together for such situations as this. This couple has three boys, aged 12, 3, and 1, who are being cared for now by the paternal grandmother. Lina and Jos attend ECPNG church and both are Christians. We have visited them twice now and have read the Bible and prayed with them. They may be returned to Huya next week. Unfortunately, there is no dialysis here. 

During situations such as this where there are no family and friends in the area, it has been important to give the gift of presence and most of all encouragement from the LORD. For such a time as this, we are here. 

 

Resources to share – And how you can become a part of Lois’ ministry

When we have the Jesus coloring books from Every Home for Christ, we give them out to kids. I buy color pencils from a store next to the Christian bookstore. I get tracts from Every Home for Christ, buy some from EBC, and buy some from the Christian bookstore. When we have Bibles, we give some out. The best bargain is the Tok Pisin New Testament/ Psalms in Tok Pisin. Someone in Australia sent me some English Bibles, but they are almost gone. 

Sometimes I have reading glasses for those needing them as well. There are maybe thousands of people in the hospital and outpatient so our resources only go so far. We give out the coloring books to children in the wards, sitting around outside and in the waiting room. 

There have been special needs such as those evacuated from the earthquake area. For them, we also bought extra things like slip-on-shoes and blankets. Sometimes I have found out about someone with other needs and have bought them pillows, blankets, clothes. Many stories… 

Sally Lloyd, an Australian lady who grew up in the area which was heavily affected by the February earthquake, shares about Nagei, a woman who lost all her family in the earthquake and for whom Lois organised the crutches: 

“This beautiful lady has a tragic story of loss and helplessness during the earthquake (surviving with terrible injuries and watching 11 family members perish) – thankful for those who have helped her so far and thankful that she is continuing to receive assistance to try to resume her life with her only living child. The walk to her house is very difficult! We were hearing more of her story and I was translating for someone – must admit to breaking down a few times. Her young son has his own story to tell as well!“

 

Persons wanting to send things up here… such as onesies, little caps for the babies and baby size blankets would be appreciated, also clothes for the mothers. We can buy large blankets and pillows in the second-hand store and also onesies, but the need is always greater than the money available to buy them. 

 

If adjustable crutches could be sent that would be wonderful; people here are fairly small. Wheelchairs are needed as well on occasion. I believe the need for crutches and wheelchairs far exceeds the supply what we can source at local second-hand stores.

 

Friday Kids Group

During school holidays, a couple of young boys joined my outreach team, Anderson (about 10 or so) and Tiger (6 years.) The boys love being part of it. On Monday, at the hospital, we handed out cards made by the Friday kids that come to our house. Getting kids involved in caring for others is a good thing. The prisoners love seeing the kids.

Anyway, July 4 was a big day for Tiger, the 6-year-old who often accompanies his grandmother and us as we do outreach in the prison and hospital. The prisoners like him a lot. On July 4, Tiger gave his heart to Jesus right here in our house. I made a picture sign for him with the date so he could remember his spiritual birthday. Tiger said I gave him that name. I do not remember. He likes it and uses it all the time. Anyway, sometimes the kids sing with me for the prisoners. They help give out the items we have brought for them as well. I have even asked Tiger to pray. His voice is very soft, but it is touching to see him involved.

 

With the Friday kids group in our house, we have been playing Scrabble, but not like Scrabble anyone else has ever played following rules. Basically, anyone who can come up with a word plants it on the board. It helps with the English. Then there are some little ones who just like to have letters for themselves and so I try to help them make words. 

One little boy (Lazarus) thinks the letters are for him just to hold and he put up a big fuss about letting them go. 

You see the group is a mix of ages, which can be a challenge. 

A friend in Australia had sent a card game with Bible figures which you have to match. This is a good game as those who cannot read can see the pictures and get involved in matching.

 

Prison Ministry

While sharing Scriptures with the prisoners recently, I almost broke down as I shared how Jesus took upon Himself our shame, and sin so we could know God’s forgiveness. He took my shameful sins upon Himself and suffered in my place. I noticed one prisoner looking down as I shared this. Jesus had no shame to hang on that tree in my place. He doesn’t want anyone to miss out on this great gift of reconciliation with the God who loves them and sent His only Son to win them back. Well, this week, I am so happy to report that two prisoners prayed with us to receive this gift of salvation personally.

 

Along with the weekly hospital outreach, going to the prison for outreach is a highlight each week for me. God has been providing English Bibles and Tok Pisin Bibles in unexpected ways. Some Bibles we have that were obtained from the US are especially designed for prisoners. Another tool used is sharing written testimonies of other prisoners who have had their lives changed by the Saviour. 

The prisoners are put in cages with no blankets, no beds, only a hole for a toilet and no steady supply of water. They often have only the clothes they came in wearing. As we have been able, we have tried to address some of the needs for blankets, clothes, soap, Bibles, tracts, reading glasses, a scone (yeast roll) and a sweet treat. We were told not to bring fruit as the peels are disposed of in the toilet and clogged toilets are then a problem. The prisoners are given rice once a day. Sometimes the prisoners come from places very far from here, so no one can help them with personal needs.

 

The children in my Friday group in our apartment sometimes make cards or pictures for the prisoners or for those hospitalised.

The number of prisoners varies from maybe 50 to as many as 70. The population is constantly changing. Some are in and out right away and others are in for a while awaiting resolution of their court situation. We do not ask them what their charges are, respecting their privacy. However, sometimes we hear from other sources, such as a newspaper report and so on, why a particular group or person is incarcerated. 

 

It has been my joy to have former prisoners at times stop me in town and tell me that I had visited them while they were incarcerated. Some have surrendered their lives to Jesus and their whole lives have turned around.

I feel like dancing in praise to the LORD! 

I was purchasing petrol for the MAF car that I use and I had some tracts with me so I handed them to the man serving me and some others while I was waiting. The name of the man serving me is Giyus, and he told me he had been in prison when I visited and he had read the pamphlet I had given him. He made a change in his life and now he has this job. He is not yet connected to a church. God is amazing. His Word changes lives.

During one of our hospital outreaches on a Monday, there was a man all bandaged up waiting on a bench for an X-ray or something. He said, “You visited me in the prison last week and gave me toothpaste.” He also said he has decided to turn to the LORD.

 

“Yu gat kek?” (Do you have cake?)

I bake a lot of chocolate banana cakes and share them around with guards who watch the car while we cross the street to go to the produce market, with market ladies who generously give me extra, with an assortment of people who come to our gate, with our guards, and so on. Well, I guess the word is out.

The other day, while I was getting the car filled up with petrol, I decided to give out tracts. After giving out a bunch to passers-by, I saw there was a small bus, and I went over and gave the driver and passengers each one. A woman by the door asked me: “Yu gat kek?” Well, no, not this time. I guess the word is out about the cake, and it made me “laff” (laugh). 

The opportunities abound. 

Thank You, LORD that we can be here for such a time as this.

Thank you all for partnering with us in this venture. 

God is doing amazing things in the lives of people.

Lois Semanison 

Story by Satish Moka

 

‘Uniform’ doesn’t refer to a ‘pair of clothes of a certain color’ or ‘things of similar size’ or any of the twenty or so descriptions given in the Oxford Dictionary, in this place, it stands for P2-MFU, the venerable Twin Otter which is one of the workhorses of the MAF PNG program. If you can strain your ears and pick up those syllables, so surprisingly softly spoken in this world of steely engineers, you can hear a few more strange phrases like “fan gone U/S again in Uniform” (a malfunctioning fan in P2-MFU) or “Lima will come up by noon” (which has nothing to do with South America but our aircraft P2-MFL being handed over by the pilots for routine inspection at noon) and even simple things like “please pass me the flat and the ¾’ (a request for a flat screwdriver and a spanner of that size).

 

 

 

My attachment with the Engineering Department, which is part of my pilot’s training and familiarisation of how MAF PNG operates, started with the Monday morning briefing right after the Lotu (morning devotions before commencement of work for the day). What took me by complete surprise was that the briefings were literally Brief! Hangar Coordinator Lazarus Nuleya (Laz) curtly passed on the instructions and with an “em tasol” (‘that’s all’ in Tok Pisin), the purely functional briefing ended and within minutes the hangar was transformed into a beehive of activity. After Engineering Manager Tom Meeks welcomed me to the department, Chief Engineer John Kamalan (JK) briefed me on the safety aspects, the work planned and walked me to the hangar. At its centre, was the Caravan P2-MAG which came in for its 200 hourly inspection. Stripped of its engine cowling (covers), pilot and passenger seats and with several gaping hollows in the underside of wings and tail because of panels removed for inspection, the aircraft offered a totally different sight. Stepping inside, it was more like a dissected specimen in a biology lab – the usual plush white interior was now a bare metallic primer green and with the entire floor removed, it revealed the underbelly of MAG – control cables, several bright orange hoses, steely metal pipes and a bunch of thin white electrical wires in a tight loop running along the length and breadth of the frame right into the tail cone.

Coming outside, I could see a thick white folder on one side on a table which most of the engineers were frequently referring to – ‘the work package’.  The Maintenance Controller, Clay Walters, had already painstakingly assembled the ‘work package,’ which in addition to the routine maintenance activities associated with the inspection also included the ‘snags’ (defects in aircraft systems) reported by the pilots and a few observed by the engineers themselves. The package included routines on the Pratt and Whitney PT6A turbo-prop engine, flight controls, avionics and replacement of the propeller. 

Since I was scheduled to commence my conversion onto the Caravan in a month’s time I was more than excited at this prospect of working with  MAG. The most obvious thing that stares you in the eye is the engine, mounted right at the front is the steel behemoth, the engine – now devoid of the cowlings, the propeller and several fittings, and I walked towards it.

I could see Engineer Joseph Tambure working on the engine, slowly and steadily digging into the innards of the powerhouse. With his hands tangled within the maze of metal tubes of varying diameter, wielding a shining spanner and a torch, after a few agonising minutes, he managed to finally extract that specific valve, to access and inspect a certain ‘filter.’ The inspection was another ball game altogether, as he positioned himself into impossible angles trying to get a glimpse of that elusive filter. In spite of the magnifying mirror mounted on a telescopic antenna and the omnipresent torch, it took about a good quarter of an hour to finally get a decent peer at the ‘screen filter,’ which seemed to hide itself within the recesses of a small pipe. After a second opinion from JK, it was assessed that the visual inspection was satisfactory. Joseph signed off the work completed in the ‘work package folder’ and moved onto to the next job, removal of fuel nozzles, mounted along the circumference of the combustion chamber.

 

In the interim, my eye caught attention of the busy activity unfolding in the cockpit. Here I could see our sole lady engineer, Mechanical Trainee Amber Joy Mori, trying to affix a yellow bar across the two control columns (pilot yokes or steering wheels if you like it) with a green tape. It was in response to a snag reported by the pilots that the control column was slightly tilted with the ailerons in a neutral position. Once the neutral position of the control column was established and locked, she proceeded on to check the tension of each of the cables – steel wires which transmit the pilot’s inputs through a series of pulleys, bell cranks and push-pull rods to the ailerons mounted on the wings. The next step was to increase/decrease the tension of the wires by adjusting the turn buckles, which seemed to be located at such places that need your body to be at more than full stretch. It was more like trying to put a thread in a needle with your hands under your car seat. Working on the wires, adjusting and readjusting she finally got them right. However, since it was work involving the flight controls, this had to undergo a ‘duplicate inspection’ so as to be fool proof and later Laz completed this task. Meanwhile Amber proceeded to work on the issue with elevator trim, more work with wires and turnbuckles.

 

 

All through this while, Alwin Mas was busy working on the left wing tip. There was a reported defect of LH Nav light Inop (red navigation light of left-wing tip inoperative). Standing on the ladder, he unscrewed the light cover and replaced the light only to find that the defect still persisted. He had to go one step further, and further investigation revealed that it was a loose connection. Problem solved, the light was tested and found ‘sat.’ It was time to move on to the next item in the work package, the autopilot. During the same time, Kalex Menson was focusing on the undercarriage as he was fitting a black sleeve onto the fairing.

Meanwhile, Francisco Aska was right at the end of the plane, next to the rudder working on the defect of ‘excessive play in rudder gust lock handle.’ This job involved fitment of actuator reinforcement which needed to be manufactured in the workshop. It was cutting of plates, drilling holes and after three hours of hard work, Francisco had the desired object in hand. With the job completed, it was time to join hands with Alwin for the work on the autopilot. Laz was busy working on assembling the new propeller. Watching the diligence and precision required for the same, it was more like a doctor on an operating table than an engineer in a hangar. This he was doing while also coordinating the work and keeping a sharp eye on the progress of work.

As the pace of work continued to build out in the hangar, Francis Kama was busy sorting out the paperwork associated with the aircraft as a part of an upcoming inspection. The burden of painstakingly checking every entry seemed to give his face that weary look which seemed to say, I’d rather have my hands in grease. Engineer Brandon Coker on the other hand, was busy with loads of paperwork, literally tonnes – of folders and files, past records and present, in plastic bins and huge packets – sorting them out, one by one for storage. I could also see Clay staring into his screen, carefully monitoring and analysing the reports on the engine performances that have been downloaded and processed.

 

As the day progressed there was a call about “Uniform (P2-MFU) coming in with a defect.” Work had to be redistributed and engineers were allotted to rectify the snag as soon as possible to enable it to meet the operational commitments. Joseph was by now inspecting the combustion chamber with a borescope (a light and lens combination mounted on a flexible wire which is physically manoeuvred into the area of inspection and gives a visual feedback on the screen). Earlier I saw him open a bolt that required nearly 120 moves of the spanner (with a clearance of less than an inch for the spanner movement) while the next one needed only 30. While Jade Kunika and Francisco were replenishing the oxygen tank Maro Kopi was busy with fixing the autopilot with Alwin. Laz and JK were busy trying to get Uniform back into business.

It takes more than sheer engineering to keep the aircraft flying, I realised. It takes backbreaking hard work, commitment to excellence and tremendous flexibility on the part of our engineers. Their penchant for quality with built-in checks and balances, the meticulousness of paperwork and the monitoring of the aircraft and engines with an eagle’s eye are all essential ingredients that bring in foolproof safety to our flying operations. These bunch of men in dark blues with their soft-spoken voices and steely resolve are truly the ‘wind beneath our wings.’

Story Tim Bax, Member Care Officer at MAF Canada.

During my recent Member Care trip to Papua New Guinea, I had the privilege of spending time with our Canadian families in Wewak, Telefomin, Rumginae and Mt Hagen, as well as visiting a number of bush airstrips MAF flies to in the highlands. Needless to say, it was a great privilege to see our families in action and to have some extended time with them and in their homes and communities. While I took away a wide range of impressions from my time in PNG, the most indelible impression left upon me was the profound impact MAF is having on the lives of our national workers, many of whom have been serving with MAF for decades.

 

One of the first national staff members I met was a man named Steven, a “Traffic Officer,” one of three members of MAF ground staff supporting the three pilots and two aircraft at the remote base of Telefomin. He greeted me with a warm, engaging smile and shook my hand vigorously. 


For the next few hours I watched Steven interact with his colleagues, our pilots, customers and community members as they got on and off the plane, loaded their produce into the cargo pod for transport, and even carried a young boy on a stretcher to prepare him for a medical evacuation flight. I also witnessed him working hard under the hot sun refueling our aircraft with a hand pump, drawing Avgas from a 55-gallon barrel. As he moved the ladder and refueling apparatus from one wing to the other I couldn’t help but wonder how many millions of litres of fuel Steven had pumped into our aircraft over his 20 plus year tenure with MAF and how many lives were changed because of his faithful service and constant positive attitude. 

 

 

One of the next national staff workers I met was an older woman who was affectionately introduced to me as ‘Mama Kathy.’ Kathy had been helping clean the house of one of our expat families in preparation for my arrival. After asking her how long she had been working for MAF, and how she first started working with MAF, she began to tell her story… 

 

Over the course of the next 45 minutes, I heard a story of heartbreak and hope. During our time together, Kathy revealed that early on in her marriage, she had become a serial victim of domestic violence and that her husband had beaten her badly. With tears streaming down her face, Kathy went on to further explain how the eldest of her three sons had lost his life at the hands of some of her neighbours. This resulted in her needing to move her house (literally, the timbers, walls and roofing iron) for the safety of herself and her remaining two children.

While she revealed a number of dark chapters in her life story, she also began to share a storyline of hope that God had been divinely writing in and through her life and ministry with MAF. You see it was through her work with MAF that Kathy was able to break free from the darkness of domestic violence and begin to see the light of God’s grace in her life. Kathy worked hard for her family, was assisted by some of the pilot families to move her home to a safer location, was able to send her children to school through her work with MAF and eventually send one of them off to University. She was even able to forgive the men who killed her son, and live peacefully with them, even though they never faced justice. Today, she’s underwriting her grandchildren’s education, by continuing to serve through the ministry of MAF in Telefomin. While MAF has definitely had a profound physical and spiritual impact on Kathy herself, I can’t help but think that the impact on her own children, and now grandchildren, has been even greater!

Story and Photos by Dave Rogers

Of all the flying I do in PNG, I find medevac flights the most rewarding. MAF flights benefit the communities we serve in many ways, but nothing has a more immediate and tangible impact than a medevac. They are usually some of the most operationally difficult flights to manage given they come up at short notice, in the middle of our flying program, and often late in the day when weather or daylight is an issue. This makes it all the more rewarding when you get it to work.

My most recent case was no different.

Goroka, our home base, from the air

 

I was making my first stop on my second trip in the middle of a busy day when I was approached by a man asking if I could fly a badly injured woman to Goroka. She had been hit in the head with a rock as a result of a community dispute and was in urgent need of a doctor.

The regular health worker was away in town, and they had no radio or cell phone reception to call for help.

I tried to use the aircraft HF radio to contact the base to discuss the situation, but due to poor coverage that day I couldn’t raise them. I didn’t want to try for too long given the urgency of the situation. I was going to be on my own in working out the best way to help.

The community didn’t have the means to help cover the costs of the transport, and the provincial government fund had run out of funding a few months back. In this case, I decided it was serious enough to make use of the dedicated MAF medevac fund – established by generous donors.

The only problem now was what to do about the almost full plane load of passengers and cargo I was due to drop at the next two airstrips. A quick look at the figures told me it wasn’t going to work to take any extra loading due to the take off penalties of the short strips I was headed to. i.e. I had enough room now but would be too heavy to get off the ground at the next stop.

My next thought was to see if I had enough fuel to make my next two stops, unload all the passengers and cargo as planned, and return for the woman. It’s typical for us to carry around 30 minutes of extra fuel (on top of the reserves already required by law) to allow us margin to deviate around unexpected weather. Because the weather was really good, I decided I could use this extra fuel to help me get back and make the extra stop.

I worked hard to get back to the community as quickly as possible, and when I got back there about 45 minutes later, I was glad I did. They had to carry the woman to the plane and she was barely conscious. I couldn’t get her to stand on the scale so I had to weigh both her and the carrier together and work out the difference.

Loading the injured woman into the plane at Simogu

 

I quickly completed the paperwork and shut everything up to get ready to start when I got a tap on the shoulder from the guardian who indicated she needed some water. I was about to give her my own when someone in the community ran to find a bottle. Now we were finally ready to get her on the way to the care she so desperately needed.

Once in the air, I sent a message to the base using our satellite tracker asking them to call for the ambulance so it would be ready when we landed.

My message to our base. I was obviously too busy to proofread!

 

They replied moments later saying they’d made the call, and sure enough, as I taxied in – there was the ambulance waiting for us.

We got her loaded in and sent her on her way and I continued with the rest of my busy day, satisfied in the knowledge we’d been able to change, and quite possibly save another life.

Moving the woman to the waiting ambulance