Saturday, January 13, 2007

Papua New Guinea: The Beginning

The story about how I'm on my way to Papua New Guinea is nothing short of a miracle. Here's why...

October 2006, I came out to Australia and had never heard of Papua new Guinea, or PNG. It's not the most backpackers-friendly place; no travellers I've talked to had gone there, except our church leaders. No, it's not a forbidden city neither. Just that things like women being raped in broad daylight while traveling on a bus aren't unusual, that's all...

Since my arrival in OZ, disciples in the Melbourne Church have kept talking about HOPE Worldwide in PNG, a doctor named Graham Ogle, an American couple--Tony and Tasha--who lead the church in PNG, and this place called Gumine. It'd be amazing to go there, I thought.

Deep down, I feel that my calling has to do with the work in developing countries. This secret obsession/passion started since my time in Cambodia in 2003, the experience that forever changed the course of my life. Something about Cambodia wrung my heart with a profound sense of humanity. I'm still planning to go to Cambodia. But while in Australia, something about PNG also calls me there. Also, later I found out that Doctor Graham Ogle is the same guy who helped start the Sihanouk Hospital in Cambodia. How cool will that be to meet someone like that?

PNG is dangerous, so they say. But I didn't leave the US to seek first-world comfort. Not everyone wants to go where their lives can be endangered. Fair enough. But for some strange reasons, I do. I'm scared and excited. In these places, my senses are most alive, and I write better. Looking back, I should have gone to a journalism school. Maybe I'd have gotten a job as a foreign correspondent for some obscure news network or something ludicrous like that. Well, I guess God has a different plan for me.

I didn't know how I was going to make it out there. My first month in OZ was nothing but a struggle to find work. Whether I'd be able stay for four months as planned or not depended on finding a job. Not only that, a friend who owes me a huge sum of money hasn't kept his promise. Without money, I'd have to go back to Thailand by the end of November, 2006. While the financial burdens were heavily looming over my head, I still wanted to go to PNG. Finally, I gave myself a deadline and prayed that if it's God's will for me to go, He 'd give me a job by the end of November. At that point, I had to surrender all my plans and dreams in Australia to God.

Sure enough, God gave me his answer. I found a job by the end of the month. Then I began saving up. The next step is to get connected with the church in PNG. I emailed someone, but no response. Also, airfare to PNG is ridiculourly expensive for being so close to Australia. Apparently, sane people don't go there. I didn't think anyone else I know would want to go. Who's that crazy anyway? I couldn't go there without solid connections with HOPE Worldwide or the church. Soon I began to feel discouraged planning this all alone.

But I wasn't alone.

Out of the blue while hanging out with Irene, a friend from church, she told me that two guy friends are also going to PNG. What? There are people out there who are as crazy as me!!!

It's true when God is at work. He's not slow as we think He is. When God wants something to happen, nothing can stop it.

I contacted the two guys. Unfortunately, one had to cancel because of work. The other is still going also because of work. He was asked by HOPE Worldwide to document the work in Port Moresby, the capital of PNG.

Tim Lumsden will be my travelling buddy to PNG. I told him that I won't be able to protect him if anything were to happen, and his hope was somewhat dashed...

I have five weeks to prepare for this trip, and I really hope to get malaria pills for cheap. I don't want to spend a fortune on a doctor's visit in OZ.

Five weeks to save up. Five weeks to do research on the country. The cool thing is that Tim will be doing exactly the kind of work that I want to do for HOPE Worldwide and our church--documenting God's work in developing countries. I promised to be Tim's personal attendant for a week and carry his equipment around. Bribery works, and he eventually agreed to let me tag along.


  • At 11:44 PM, Blogger george carra said…

    This part of your entry was the most beautiful for me because you got to trully put all your trust onto/into God's hands.That would of taken a true test of a woman. George


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