Friday, 26 July 2013

Jiwaka Jumpers

IIIInnnntro-DOOOOcing PNG's newest Bible quizzing team... the Jiwaka Jumpers!

This is no ordinary team.  The Jumpers are all former or wanna-be quizzers, at least twice as old as their competition.  And competition is exactly why this crew was assembled.  (Well, that and it's a good excuse to study the Word of God.)  The Jiwaka Jumpers are only local opponents for PNG's teen Bible quizzing team--Kudjip Paia.

The books for this quizzing year are Romans and James.  We are all furiously studying and learning memory verses.  Some of us are discovering that our brains don't work quite as well as they did 20 years ago!  GEESH.  The younger generation definitely has the advantage there.

Our first quiz-off is Saturday, August 17th over Romans chapters 1-6.  Gooooooooooo teams PNG!!!

"But what does it say?  'The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,' that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim:  If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
~ Romans 10:8-9

Monday, 22 July 2013

Heart kids heading to Moresby

I just received word that Melendi and Kondo have qualified for surgery by Open Heart International.  Airlines PNG is booking their tickets to Port Moresby as I type.  Thank you for praying for these precious kiddos!  Please continue to do so as they travel tomorrow and have their procedures in the next week.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Strength of my heart

With Dr. Susan on her way to the U.S. for home assignment, I have once again taken over responsibility for the Kudjip heart kids.  Perhaps you remember some of the stories from two years ago:   MaryannePrincess Romania, Konde.

This year we have 6 children with congenital heart defects who will be going down to Lae for screening.  Those who are candidates for surgery will fly on to Port Moresby for care by Open Heart International (formerly Operation Open Heart).  The procedures will be done late July to early August.

In preparation for their journey, I saw two of our heart kids in clinic this week.

Melindi is about two years old.  She has a patent ductus arteriosus, or PDA.  She was screened by the OHI team last year and was referred on to Port Moresby for surgery.  Unfortunately the team ran out of time to do her procedure.  Hopefully she will be a candidate for this year!

Konde is 7 years old.  He has also made a previous trip to Port Moresby; he had a procedure done by OHI in 2011.  His complicated heart condition requires a second surgery.  So we are praying that this time around he will be completely healed.

Please pray for our kiddos--for safe travels, that they will qualify for surgery, and that the Lord will bring healing to their broken hearts.  Airlines PNG has so graciously agreed to provide free tickets for the patients and one parent from Lae to Port Moresby, and then home again to the highlands.  Once we know which children are being referred on for surgery, I will be working with the airline to make travel arrangements.  Pray that everything goes smoothly!

"My flesh an my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
~ Psalm 73:26

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Auntie Margaret's 50th anniversary

Margaret Mugang, or "Auntie Margaret" as so many affectionately call her, is the head nurse in the operating theater at Nazarene Hospital.  And her position is well-earned...  she has served here more than 30 years now!

Last weekend Margaret celebrated her 50th anniversary a.k.a. birthday.  Friends and family gathered at her home place of Gunga Village.  Of course no celebration in PNG would be complete without a program!  Several students from the college of nursing lead the group in worship.  Pastor Philip shared some scripture.  Dr. Jim thanked Margaret for her years of service at Kujip.  A mumu feast was laid out for all the guests to eat more than their fill.  Somehow we still had room for cake and ice cream :).

Auntie Margaret is a tireless servant, champion of the Gospel, prayer warrior, friend of missionaries, and so much more.  What a joy to celebrate her life!

"The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, "The Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no wickedness in Him."
~ Psalms 92:12-15

Saturday, 6 July 2013


This week I had to break it to my boyfriend that I was two-timing him... with a two-toothed toddler.  The little guy in the picture is Eric.  He has asthma and is admitted on A-ward with an exacerbation.  Despite being sick, he is a bundle of giggles.  He especially loves Dr. Steph's kisses!  And I just can't resist his precious smile :).

Speaking of boyfriends, I have yet to introduce you to my REAL one.  This is my man Andy.  He is a pipe fitter, amazing photographer, and volunteer missionary from my home state of Ohio.  I met him just over a year ago when I was on home assignment.  He came to PNG about six months later to do some work for the hospital and on the hydro project.  We have been officially dating--from opposite sides of the world--since January.  (Gives a whole new meaning to "long distance."  GEESH.)  I thank the Lord for bringing this godly man into my life!

"See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland."
~ Isaiah 43:19

Friday, 5 July 2013


PNG isn't a wealthy country, but the land is rich for agriculture.  Gardens and plantations cover the valleys and foothills around Kudjip.  The markets are a rainbow of fresh produce--mountains kaukau (sweet potatoes), cabbages, broccoli, pineapples, and many other fruits and veggies.

With the abundance of food available, we don't see malnutrition all that often.  At least in grown-ups.  Unfortunately it isn't all that uncommon for children under the age of 5.  In fact, we have several kiddos admitted with malnutrition on A-ward right now.

There are a couple of reasons that children in PNG become malnourished.  

First of all, adoption is very common among the people groups in our area.  One mother who has a bunch of children will gladly give her new baby to another woman who has none.  Breast milk is replaced by powdered whole milk, Milo (a chocolate energy drink), or kaukau and water.  These replacements are not adequate nutrition for babies under a year of age.  Some adopted babies are fed with formula, although it is not always mixed appropriately or may be made with contaminated water.  I cringe every time I see a baby being fed with a bottle, especially if it is filled with milky-brown Milo.

Another contributing factor is the relatively low protein diet of the highlands.  Garden fruits and vegetables are abundant.  Peanuts and beans are the most consistent source of protein.  Eggs are an occasional addition to the diet.  Meat is a rare luxury.

I recently saw an 18 month old in clinic.  Mom's chief complaint was that her arms and legs had been swelling for the past week.  Sure enough, her extremities were puffy with non-pitting edema.  She also had light-colored, brittle hair.  On a blood test, the total protein was quite a bit below the normal range.  Her diagnosis is kwasiorkor, or protein malnutrition.  I treated her for worms and talked with mom about increasing protein in her diet.  We will see her back in clinic in a couple of weeks.

Some children are at risk of malnutrition because of chronic disease or recurrent infections.  Their bodies just can catch up to the demands of the illness.  Ismael is one of our kids on A-ward.  He has tuberculosis.  As you can see, Ismael is "bun nating" (skin and bones) and has the appearance of a little old man.  This kind of malnutrition is called marasmus, or protein-energy malnutrition.  The treatment for marasums is to first of all get rid of the underlying problem.  In this case, we are treating Ismael for TB.  This in addition to a diet high in fat and calories will hopefully help him to start gaining weight again.  

BTW, the white girl in the picture is Liz.  She is a PA student visiting from Trevecca.  Ismael loved her from the first day :).  Lucky Liz... I only made him cry!

"Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead."
~ James 2:15-17

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Fuzzy bunny ears

I am taking a break from maternity to round on A-ward (pediatrics) while one of our docs is on vacation.  I have the oxygen side of the ward, which means that most of my patients are admitted with pneumonia or heart failure or are just really, really sick.  Some are admitted with other illnesses such as diarrhea or meningitis or malnutrition.  Oh my word are there some cute kiddos admitted there.  They bring me joy!!!

This is Philip.  I would guess that he is about 2-3 years old.  He has femur fracture... basically the really big bone in his leg is broken.  He was put in skin traction to keep his leg straight while the bone began to heal.  He had to sit in bed with his leg strapped down for about 4 weeks.  And he was--almost--always smiling.  (The fuzzy bunny ears, which were a gift from a church in Arizona, were an added bonus.)  What a little trooper!

We ordered an x-ray this week to see how the femur was healing up.  There is a pretty good bit of callous there, which means that the bone is growing strong.  So good for him but much to my own dismay, my favorite kiddo was discharged home.

"People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.  When Jesus saw this, he was indignant.  He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'  And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
~ Mark 10:13-16