“Leave Konomala immediately. Get to a doctor as soon as possible”
Those are the most dreaded words that we can imagine hearing. Just the other day we were talking about how thankful we are that God has protected our whole team from having any medical emergencies here in Konomala. Potential emergencies have always been the scariest thing about living so far away. Thankfully we haven’t ever had to leave home because of a health issue … until a couple weeks ago.
Our family had just gotten home from a short break away from Konomala. We were looking forward to being back home and getting back into the groove of things. Luke and Ellenie had been doing a great job of holding down the fort and teaching our friends through the life of Jesus. Only a day or two after getting back, our oldest daughter Natalie had some odd symptoms. It wasn’t anything to panic about, but we wanted to email the doctor just to make sure. That was Friday night.
Early Saturday morning we woke up to the doctor’s reply. He was very concerned and strongly recommended that we get out as soon as possible to get Natalie checked. It wasn’t life threatening, but it was urgent.
These are the moments that really amp things up and take a few years off the end of life. After a little panic feeling, a few deep breaths, some grumbling, and a plea to God for help … we started packing and talking about what our options were.
We’re a long ways from the doctor. Best case was a full day of travel. Worst case was multiple days of travel.
After a squirrelly hour or two, we loaded into the car and drove 3.5 hours to meet our mission’s airplane at the nearest airstrip. Then we flew for a few hours to the mission centre where we could connect with a doctor. Twelve hours after getting that email, we were sitting in a guesthouse scheduling an appointment for the next day.
Thanks to a massive 7.6 earthquake we were not able to have that appointment the next day. Apparently sitting on top of the epicenter of that size earthquake is not good for delicate machinery or glass in a clinic. Who would have guessed it?!
When things calmed down and were cleaned up, Natalie got to see the doctor.
She did amazing! After all the pokes, prods, lab tests, and ultrasounds, the doctor diagnosed a very treatable infection that had caused Natalie’s odd symptoms.
It took a lot of money and another whole week to get back into Konomala … but we made it.
Seriously, we’re still thanking God for His wisdom, protection, and provision through that little 2 week side note of life.
That God would continue protecting us and our friends from the constant realities of sickness and death in this world. He knows what is best, and we have to trust Him in all circumstances.
Thank Him for logistical and medical provision in helping Natalie.
Pray that He would provide for the lingering financial reality of those logistics.
the Last Corner
Here in Konomala everyone calls this part of the island “the last corner”. If you look at a map it’ll make sense. Our island is the furthest away from the mainland, and on the road our community is a long ways from the main island town. It actually does kind of feel like the last corner of the world sometimes.
The awesome thing is that Jesus is still building His church here! If we were gonna be cool hipster church planters, we would probably steal that name and make a fancy website. But alas, we’re not cool and hipster.
We are now finishing up the life of Jesus with our friends, and it has been awesome to see how God is working in their hearts. A few have truly humbled themselves and responded to the truth that God is revealing to them. Those few humble responses have been starkly contrasted with many prideful responses. Many of the friends we have grown close to over the years are blatantly choosing to reject the truth. Some didn’t want to hear it all, and others were willing to listen until the truth started to reveal some things that were true about their own hearts.
Though it hasn’t been highlighted with mountain top moments, we have brothers and sisters here in Konomala … the last corner! We don’t know what the next seasons of life will look like for this new baby church in Konomala. But we are absolutely confident in one thing … Jesus is faithful. It’s all sourced in His authority, aimed at His mission, lived within His new community, empowered by His Spirit, and growing out of real hope in Him.
For our 10-15 friends who have been seeing God reveal Himself through the narrative of scripture, the journey has been slow, clarifying, and sometimes uncomfortable. Our good Father in heaven is not busy with the fast and comfortable stuff. He brings the deep things of the heart out into the light. That’s where it touches real life. But let’s be honest, most of the time we would actually rather those things be left in the dark. (But maybe that’s only me.) Our friends have been experiencing that same work alongside us.
A few have responded in humility and willingness. Many have responded in hardness and purposeful blindness.
That we (us and our friends) would choose to draw close to our Father, consider His words to be true, and submit ourselves to Him every day.
That the many who are choosing independence would recognize the folly of their thinking and respond to the truth and the Spirit’s work in their hearts.
That we would remain faithful within our own family and as a team to love each other well.
10 thoughts on “a mini Medivac & a baby Church”
Great job condensing a huge amount of what’s transpired into this update!! Can’t wait to get there to see, feel, touch, hug all of you and meet our new brothers and sisters. Praying for softening of the hard hearted ones. Love you and so proud of you all !!
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Wow! There sure is a lot going on with you guys! I’m so thankful Natalie is okay! And it’s amazing to hear about the “baby church”! Praise the Lord!! ________________________________
So glad all worked out well for you all. Praying God’s anointing on all that surrounds you. I love your newsletters. Very well spoken and God honoring, but honest as to the reality of living on this planet. I really enjoyed the aerial view of your world! Thank you for sharing and God bless you all!
Aw, you guys! So sorry to hear that you had to leave so shortly after arriving back from your break, but I am thankful to hear that Natalie is doing well and things are clearing up. Yeah, those are hard words to listen to when you must leave an area for medical reasons.
You can imagine how hard it was for us when Joyce’s renal team in Australia summoned us and said we needed to get out of PNG within 2 weeks otherwise it could be life threatening if she needed to go on dialysis. Of course, we didn’t feel we could pass the baton on 16 years of work in 2 weeks, so we asked God to give us 10 months.
Back up 13 years prior to that incident when we both had wellness issues and had to get out of the tribe. Our plan was to hike out to a logging road and catch a ride to the coast for a flight to Hoskins. Our hope was making it to a village near the road and spend the night there. However, we were that ill that we crawled for the last hour and a half on her hands and knees to get into the village. Ended up on a small plane, commercial flight, the next day that lost its engines over the jungle. …And that’s another story.
We know how to connect with you guys in prayer and have ongoing prayers going upwards for you guys. Hang in there. A tip of the hat to you guys for serving and sacrificing so much to be there for sake of the Gospel and those dear people you are ministering to.
Love-n-stuff Dave & Joyce Hilt
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Thanking the LORD along with you that Natalie is doing better. Praying for the expenses and for all the teaching. So exciting to see our brothers and sisters in the Lord growing. Keep looking to JESUS and seeing HIM be in first place in your lives.
It is encouraging to hear of God’s grace and protection for your family and in particular for Natalie. Happy to know she is well. Hearing of God moving among
Bill Burtis Sent from my iPhone
Praying for you guys and the gospel to reach the hearts of the Konomala people. Glad to hear about your good outcome for Natalie. Will pray about your financial needs regarding that. Sincerely, Dave Meunier, Pastor, Plainville Baptist Church, Plainville, MA (John 4:34)
Well I accidentally hit the send icon and off went my unfinished email. It is good to hear of God moving among the people of Konomala and drawing them to himself. Thank you for serving them and bringing the Gospel to them. We will be praying for God to draw more to himself and the other challenges you face. On this end of the world we are in a hard season. On September 11th our son Genji was killed in a motorcycle accident. Genji was in the Army and stationed in Germany. He was coming up to his 23rd birthday. He was doing well in the Army and had plans to marry a young lady in the near future. Our hearts are broken and we are grieving deeply. We rejoice as Genji believed in Jesus for his salvation so we know he has been called home. The days God ordained for him were complete. It took sometime but his remains were returned to us this past Friday, September 30th. A very emotional day. Jesus has poured his love on us through His Church, family and friends. We are currently planning for his funeral in NC where we are and for a Memorial Service in Colchester where he grew up and lived. Keep sharing the gospel for no one knows when their days on earth will end. We are also mourning the loss of our sister in law who passed away on September 25th due to complications from diabetes. And June’s mom is in Hospice and will likely pass soon. So things are very hard right now. However we have been comforted and touched by God’s Goodness, Faithfulness and Grace. The Gospel will be preached at Genji’s funeral. Pray the Holy Spirit would open hearts to hear and receive God’s love through Jesus. By Grace Bill & June
Bill Burtis Sent from my iPhone
Thanks for your updates and photos! Continuing to pray:)
It was so good to see you guys a couple weeks ago! I thank God, again, for answers/meds to help Natalie and for His protection for you guys in the earthquake. It’s also so exciting to know there are new believers there in Konomala. Praying for clear wisdom and direction and you continue to teach and disciple.
Love to each of you,