Join Us for a Year That Will Change Your Life


Out in the mountainous jungles of Papua New Guinea, people live and die, often without Christ and without medical care. Kunai Health Centre is a living demonstration of Jesus’ ministry, following His example of preaching, teaching, and healing. We have a daily clinic; we do pre- and postnatal care; we deliver babies; we give childhood immunizations. We are a TB center, a vision clinic, a dental clinic, and a place for medical education.

If you are a trained, degreed medical professional, consider joining us to reach beyond your world with the Gospel. A limited number of one-year post-graduate medical internships are available for qualified candidates at Kunai Health Centre.

  • Do you demonstrate a love for Christ and for others?
  • Do you have a burden for souls?
  • Are you a detail-oriented self-starter?
  • Are you a team player with a humble respect for authority?
  • Do you have the health and stamina to serve for long days, long nights, and irregular schedules?
  • Do you have a consistent walk with the Lord?

It is not easy. It is not for the faint of heart. It will test your faith, your strength, and your calling. But if this is what God wants you to do, nothing will compare with it.

Read through our blog. Browse Lena’s page on Facebook to learn more about the clinic ministry from the last several years, and see what the Lord does in your heart.

Then contact us to begin the medical missionary journey of a lifetime.

What do you do when you are the patient?

When You Become the Patient

Dear friends,

Lena and I have returned to the US for a medical furlough and rest. Lena is meeting with a spine surgeon friend of ours this week to determine if she will be getting a long-delayed operation on a bad disc in her neck.

We are thankful for God’s provision of a place to stay and a good surgeon with whom to consult. Our pastor and family urged us to come home, and also recommended us staying off the road for a while; I am glad to comply. We will update you all as soon as we know more.

This is not our regular furlough, and we have every intention of returning to the work as soon as possible. My national translation partner Ben is looking after the ministry and the mission in our absence. Lena’s clinic, however, had to be closed as she was the only nurse we have at present.

We covet your prayers that God will do for us what needs to be done, and for our friends and co-workers in the work back in PNG. Thank you for remembering us and the ministry in prayer.

Blessings in Christ,
John & Lena Allen

John & Lena 2013

An Old iPad Can Spread the Old, Old Story

I rarely ask for help. Call it pride or stubbornness or the way I was raised, but I’m not prone to ask for a hand.

It’s even harder as a missionary, because I live on the gifts of God’s people. Without their heart of generosity, I couldn’t do the ministry things I do.

This is one of those “ministry things.”

Ben Samauyo, our Kamea Bible translator, holding Benjamin Luke, our handicapped brother

Ben Samauyo, our Kamea Bible translator, holding Benjamin Luke (in the green shirt)

We have a young father who is crippled from the waist down who has the ear of his people. Benjamin Luke is an amazing evangelist. Unable to leave his hut on the side of a mountain in remote Papua New Guinea, he shares the Gospel with dozens of people who come by his home. His venue: A mobile phone with the “Jesus Film” in his tribal language.

Imagine 15 people in a dark, smoky hut, crowding in to watch the “Jesus Film” in Kamea. The sound of the video echoes out across the mountainside, drawing more people to come and see. Videos are still an extremely rare treat for our people. Videos in their tribal language are even more rare–since we produced the only videos in the language, all 26 are Gospel videos.

Here’s my request, which is actually a request from our friend Benjamin: Does anyone have an old iPad 2 or 3 that they would be willing to donate? We have already set Ben up with a solar charging system at his thatched-roof hut, so he can charge the iPad like he charges his video phone (an Alcatel Pixie that someone bought for him–and by the way, there’s no phone service in our valley, so all he does is watch the videos and play the music we recorded). The iPad, with its larger screen, would be visible to more people. Ben’s plea: “I have many people who come to see the videos. We would like it if someone could help us to get a larger video screen.”

Ben & John translating and recording the Jesus Film in Kamea using BSVT

Ben Samauyo & John translating and recording the Jesus Film in Kamea using the Bible Story Video Template developed by JAARS

We would like to get:

  • iPad 2 or 3
  • a 12 volt car charger
  • a case to protect it

Ben has taken good care of his phone, and I know he will do the same with this iPad. We’ll load the Kamea videos on it, plus as many other Christian videos that we can find and legally copy. And this will be the tool in the hand of an evangelist who can’t move more than a few feet–but who reaches more people in a day than many of us.

If you feel like you can help with this evangelistic outreach, contact me at

Jesus Videos in Kamea

In January 2014 we began translating the New Testament into the Kamea language. Utilizing a program from JAARS called the “Bible Script Video Template,” we have completed the entire Life of Christ from the Gospel of Luke, using the actual Bible verses instead of the written script from the film.

We have converted the videos to a format that inexpensive mobile phones can use via SD cards and Bluetooth.

Kamea Jesus videos recorded to SD cards for phonesKamea Jesus videos recorded to SD cards for phones

Here are links to samples of the 25 videos recorded in the Kamea language of the “Life of Christ” series. Ben Samauyo is the translator and narrator on the videos; John Allen is the translation consultant and editor.

Jesus’ Baptism and Temptation

Jesus Film Invitation

Ben doing a recording

Interview with Ben and John (uncut)

The Teddy Bear Talked

In July 2014, our team encountered one of our toughest trials to date while working among the Kamea people.

The day it all came to a head, I had just read a great blog post by Jonathan Parnell entitled “Keep Praying That Prayer.” In it Jon shared how his young daughter prays for her teddy bear to talk. It’s a great post on prayer. At the end, he states that either her prayer will mature for even better things–or her teddy bear will talk.

That morning I shared the story with our national pastor, James Naudi. For a week we had been under a severe trial and had been doing a lot of praying. You know the kind of praying; the kind where you wonder what you are even supposed to pray.

Pastor James’ daughter Jemila had begun seizing a week before. Along with the seizures, she would stop breathing entirely during some of her seizures. My wife Lena, along with nurses Rachel Wass, Ashley Norcross, and Rebecca Florence, and our literacy teacher Sarah Glover, took turns giving rescue breaths to Jemila…at one point they did it for over two hours non-stop. Things were looking grim, because you can’t keep that sort of thing up forever, especially when you live in a remote jungle, and the month-long bad weather won’t allow a plane to fly in to evacuate her.

“What are you doing God, and how are we to respond? We don’t even know how to pray in this, but we trust you to work it out. We pray you would heal Jemila.” But would God heal her–or would He mature our prayers?

Our summer intern, Suzanne Olson, wrote the following letter about that harrowing week:

It all started with a critical medical emergency with a youth girl named Jemila. She is our national pastor’s niece, but lives with his family; and, in their culture, she is his “daughter.” Two Thursdays ago, the nurses were frantically called over to Pastor’s house because Jemila was having a seizure and had stopped breathing. Over the next few days, at least one of the nurses stayed with Jemila around the clock because she was seizing frequently and needed rescue breaths until she could breathe again. Even with much medicine, the episodes continued through several sleepless nights. Few people here have ever seen this kind of sickness, and the side effects such as blurred vision, obstinacy, and violence brought much fear to their already heavy hearts.

Then the spiritual battle began. Most of Pastor’s extended family is unsaved or only nominally Christian. When they came to visit from the neighboring villages, they continually pressured him to take Jemila to a witch doctor because all of the medicines didn’t seem to be helping. Our whole team could feel Satan’s spiritual oppression trying to dominate the situation, but we could do little but pray that the Lord would strengthen the faith of Pastor and the church people. Many times, it seemed as though Jemila would die or the believers would give up on God and take her to the witch doctor. Through all this, God taught me again what it was to feel small and useless–I couldn’t help the nurses except to cook for them, and I couldn’t help Jemila’s family and friends except to sit on the floor with them and pray.

The following Wednesday, six days after Jemila’s sickness began, the church and many neighbors and extended family members gathered in Pastor’s house to pray and establish a unified decision to follow God no matter what happened with Jemila’s life. The next evening, Sarah Glover decided to read Ephesians to Jemila since Bible reading always calmed her down. Although she was almost asleep, when Jemila heard the verse in Ephesians 4 about not letting the sun go down upon your wrath, she started repeating it with Sarah. She then began apologizing, one by one, to everyone sitting there. It was like she just snapped out of it. She hasn’t had seizures or breathing problems since then!

There weren’t too many people in the house at that moment, so Bro. John went around the village telling people to come see her. Seeing her in her right mind brought everyone to tears. GOD IS SO GOOD!!! Pastor and his family were put through the fire of affliction, yet they stood strong and have come forth as gold. It was a revival at Pastor’s house that night–about 50 people crammed on the floor singing praises to God, and Jemila joining right along. She also specifically confronted at least a couple of her relatives who probably aren’t saved, telling them to look at what God did for her and to believe. Now we just pray that she will regain her strength and have no lasting brain injury from the seizures.

Jemila making things right July 2014

Jemila (yellow shirt) making things right with her family and friends

 When I first arrived at the house after Jemila had been healed, she hugged me as she had already done to several others. She told me she was so very sorry for the way she behaved, and wept profusely on my shoulder.

That was when the Jonathan Parnell’s blog post came back to me.

The teddy bear talked.

Define Your Wins & Celebrate Your Wins–That God May Get the Glory

Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can shew forth all his praise?
 Psalm 106:2

It is Sunday, May 11, 2014.

In the space of two hours, our national church rejoiced about some serious wins. The believers saw fruit from their prayers to God and their efforts in the ministry.

As the wins were defined, they were celebrated. And the name of the Lord was praised.

The radio tower, rebroadcasting Bible FM from Mt. Hagen, Papua New Guinea, was constructed in 2013. An immense amount of money, cement, sand, and labor went into its construction on Mt. Yimya, 1200 feet above our mission campus. Just about straight up, to be exact. After our church people carried over a ton of material up the mountain, the site was set up and ready to transmit—until the government refused to give the (already authorized) frequency. Delays, delays, delays. Finally the permit was issued, and the transmitter was set up. Matt flew it in here on last Monday; Pastor James announced to the church that we will all go up the mountain on early Friday morning to install it and turn the transmitter on. The long awaited broadcast of the Gospel in the Kamea region via radio is a reality.

The church celebrated with applause. Win! Glory to His Name!

The second of our new missionary families arrived on the field. John & Marci Gillispie (with children Nehemiah, Elijah, and Hadassah) arrived on a beautiful day. They join Josh & Rebecca Florence (with daughters Abigail and Ruth) who arrived a couple of months ago. Both families are orienting here at our campus in preparation for the ministries the Lord will launch them into in the coming months. Pastor James had special prayer today for our new families, that God would help them to learn the trade language and culture, and for us all to work together well in reaching PNG with the Gospel of Christ.

The church audibly rejoiced. Win! More praise to the Lord!

Jon & Julie Limmer from JAARS (a branch of Wycliffe Bible Translators) flew in to see our Bible translation work. Julie worked on the development team for a video production program that allows us to record our translation and put it into a “slide show” type video of the life of Christ. The results thus far have been wonderful, and they joined us to celebrate—and to see the way the program works in the field. They sat with us through translation, then through back translation checks with our people, and finally an live recording session. They watched the fruit of their labor (and ours) as we invited all of our people to come watch the first nine segments. We sat amazed as our people watched the pictures and heard the word of God  read in the Kamea language. A couple we have prayed would come to Christ were there; they sat and listened, and then received a clear Gospel witness again from some national believers after the videos.

When this was announced in church today, God’s people celebrated again. Win! Hallelujah to the Lamb!

Pastor James and three of our national men returned from an evangelistic outreach to a neighboring tribe. They preached in markets, witnessed to many people, passed out many Gospel tracts, and saw a good response overall. On their last night out, two old men came to see them in the hut where they were staying. As they told their stories, Pastor James shared the Gospel with them. One of the old men shared his story: He was an old warrior, and told James that he had killed many of James’ Kamea people. Bare-handed, the other old man confirmed. The others concurred with his story. The man said, “I have no hope. God isn’t able to do anything for a man like me.” James went on to share the love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace of God that are found in Christ. After a while of sharing, the old man realized his need—more than that, he realized Christ’s sufficiency. Pastor James was able to lead both the old men to Christ. As he told the church this morning, they celebrated.

We all celebrated. Win! Praise to the Lord, the Almighty to save!

Defining and celebrating wins is important. But if we focus more on the wins than on the God Who gave them, we miss the point. Speaking of all His wonderful works should cause us celebrate the might of our God, the love of our Father, the sacrifice of His Son, and the glory of His name!

This Old House

I say, this old house, but truthfully it is not old.  It was built about 6 years ago. Its walls are made of woven bamboo, its roof is made of bamboo leaves.  It has no running water, no indoor toilet, and no lights; it only has the usual the central fire pit. Complete with three small side rooms, it is large by Kamea standards.

On this particular day, this old house, only a 20-minute hike away from our house, was used to hold the body of a man whose soul has already gone to his Father.  He had died the morning before while out in the bush, and they brought his earthly body down to this house.  People came from several hours’ hike away to pay respects.  Today this old house was filled with mourners, at times crying loudly.  Today, Pastor James preached the Gospel inside this old house as we all sat and wept.  And as I sat, I thought of all the things this old house has seen in the last 6 years.

Actually I made several trips to this old house to see the old man, for he had chronic urinary troubles, always looking after him by flashlight. We told many stories over the fire, passing medicines across the room to him.  And later, as his health failed more, his sons would stop at the clinic to pick up his medicines.

My first visit to this old house was because there was a sick lady staying there.  Oh sure, I see LOTS of sick people in various bush huts.  This one was no different, really.  She came from a distant village and had been an inpatient at the government hospital for a couple of weeks, but was not getting any better.  I do not know how they treated her, but I immediately recognized the signs of TB, and started treatment.  We visited her daily, even gave injections by flashlight.  Over two weeks she improved so much that she was ready to hike back to her own home.   The family that owns this old house wanted to burn it down for fear of contracting TB themselves.  So this old house became a source for instruction and education.  They decided not to burn it down, but let it stand.

Once I was called out on an emergency to this old house.  One of the community leaders from a neighboring village was cutting firewood with an ax and missed.  He had cut the artery in his foot and was bleeding profusely when Margaret and I arrived.  Margaret did her first difficult suture job on this man’s foot, while I instructed.  It was successful, and the man stayed that night in this old house, too.

A couple years ago, I was called one morning to come to this old house because of a lady who had a difficult birth the night before.  When I got there, she was walking around outside the house holding the new baby.  Everyone was fine, thankfully.  But I knew neither she nor the baby would be sleeping in the house for several days due to custom, even though this old house seemed to welcome everyone.

Another lady stayed in this old house: Maria from Wake.  The family brought her to our clinic one morning in a sheet.  They carried her for hours after they realized she could survive.  She had been bitten three times on her hand by a death adder a couple days earlier.  After she was semi-stabilized, she went to stay at this old house, where she continued to recover for a couple of months.  Margaret spent hundreds of hours in Maria’s care, dressing her hand and arm, giving her antibiotics and pain medicines.

This old house has been a blessing!  It has been there, right on the dirt trail, and many have been helped.  The old man’s life was like this old house.  He was a testimony to the Grace of God.  His physical walls were made of things that were temporal, just like the bamboo and leaves.  But inside there was a central Light that shined.  Others knew of the Hope that was inside him; there was rest in his heart.  Satan would have liked to have burnt down his spiritual house, but God had a purpose.

Oh, the lessons we can learn from this old house.

The Gospel is Real

It all started around 11 PM on Monday night. We were sleeping soundly when Sarah Glover shined a light on our window calling to us that Lena had a patient. We dressed quickly and went to the clinic, finding a large crowd carrying a patient in a sling. The injured boy was the son of our church’s song leader. As Sarah went to get Rachel Schellenberger, Lena began to assess the child’s head wound. It seems he was sitting in a family garden when a rotten tree fell and struck him on top of the head. The two nurses agreed: He was not going to make it.

We had the men place his body on the floor (as is custom) so the family could gather around him. The missionaries were crying, the family was crying. I asked Pastor James to pray. In a few minutes, this young boy passed from death to life. Then the “haus krai” (house cry, the PNG style of mourning) began. The family and friends, most of them church members, soon gathered up their son’s body and went across the trail to their home. And the crying increased.

In the dark of the midnight, the missionaries all sat on the clinic veranda. We cried, we contemplated, and we all wondered what God would do. Andrew Schellenberger prayed. We sat together a while longer, and went home.

At dawn, the haus krai resumed. Early on we went to sit with the family. These young converts are facing new beliefs in a loving God as they struggle with the old ways of their ancestors. Some family members were looking for the reason the boy had died; in PNG traditional beliefs, no one dies without a cause. Even accidents are brought on by sorcery or unsettled disputes. The boy’s father was dismissing such talk, as were many of the believers. He maintained that God was in control.

When I went to bed the night before, I never thought that I’d help build a coffin box the next day. I never thought I’d be at a haus krai at the start of my day. And I never thought something more could happen. But it did.

While we were building the boy’s coffin, one of our preacher’s wives came to tell us that a new convert at our church plant in Ipaiyu had also died overnight. This young father had trusted Christ a few months ago, along with his wife. About three months later he contracted a mysterious illness that left him nearly paralyzed and brain damaged. Though it looked like he might get better, he suddenly died.

This was a new believer in a new church. The people of the community already give our believers a hard time for believing God’s word. Any little bad thing that happens is blamed on these believers. What new accusation will arise now?

Some things I just don’t know. I know this: We had two haus krais the same day, both for young men. The Gospel was preached, in word and in deed. And in the days that followed, the effect of the Gospel on the lives of new believers showed the might of the Resurrection. A young widow stood faithful. A young father and mother not only stayed faithful, they grew in the Lord. Grief is very real to each of them, but God’s word has been more real.  The Gospel is real.

Thank you for helping with our Baby Milk Program!

At the end of 2013 we received a great financial gift in the amount of $5,000 toward our Baby Milk Program. It was totally unexpected and totally, gratefully accepted! We have had many give differing amounts during the last three years, and we are grateful for each gift.

In 2011, and again in 2013, we were able to ship some baby milk in our containers from the US. These were donated or purchased for us, and those numbers are not reflected in the amounts below. Those were added blessings!

As you see the list below, the 2 pound cans we use (900 grams) will last a baby from 1-2 weeks, depending upon the size of the child. Each child’s progress is monitored, and most are on the formula program for one year.Baby milk can

Below is an accounting of our designated Baby Milk income and expenses for the Baby Milk Program from 2011 through 2013. The fluctuation in costs per can has been mostly due to exchange rates between the US dollar and PNG Kina. The only expenses we show are the purchase price and freight charges to get it out here to our clinic. God has always supplied the need in response to prayer. For those who pray or who give, we thank you–and so do our mothers and babies.

Income:       $1,415
Expenses:   $5,325
Total cans purchased: 300
Cost per 2 lb. can: $17.75
Babies served: 42

Income:       $627.51
Expenses:   $10,446.22
Total cans purchased: 547
Cost per 2 lb. can: $19.10
Babies served: 58

Income:       $6,414.16
Expenses:   $8,396.37
Total cans purchased: 471
Cost per 2 lb. can: $17.82
Babies served: 58


Twice the Blessing

The clinic was open and it was an extremely busy day. But our most frustrating case was a patient two mountains away who had just delivered twins.  “Please send medicine that will stop the bleeding!”  Postpartum bleeding is a main cause of mothers dying, and this lady has TWO babies to care for.  Unable to hike to her, we told them that they needed to put her in a litter and carry her to the clinic.  Their minimal response made it clear that they were not going to do it.  There are cultural limits when it comes to a man touching or carrying a woman that has just delivered and is bleeding.  So, we sent some pills; they were all we had, and they were expired.  We also taught him how to rub her abdomen, hoping he would teach one of the ladies to do it.  But that was all we could do.

Two days later, Renda came walking out of the bush where she had delivered, holding both those babies, and dragging a little two-year-old girl along.  She was alone, except for her children.  Later Renda told me, “My husband only comes to give me these babies.  Then I have to take care of them myself.”  Her husband lives in town, a couple of days away.

Over the next weeks, we treated Renda with iron tablets and helped her regain some strength.  I could not imagine the situational anxiety that went along with this.  She was frustrated over having two babies and was exhausted.  Family usually helps out when there is a single birth, and Renda’s family helped sometimes.  Her sister would take one of the children for a week or two, but it was apparent that Renda was going to keep both babies. This is something our Kamea people rarely do!  Normally, right after birth, a mother will give one of the twins to another person, so she can focus on raising the other.  Most of our ladies are malnourished, and nursing two babies might mean neither of the twins would make it.  Unfortunately, the baby that is given away usually has a difficult time finding nourishing food.  Pineapple juice or sweet potato water (what they usually get when mother’s milk is not available) does not help babies to grow up healthy.  Sometimes the baby that was given away dies.

But not so with Renda.  She kept both of the babies!  We were able to help with that because of our Baby Milk Program.  At one point, she was feeding one by bottle with baby formula, and the other she was nursing.  We watched curiously to see how that would work.  The bottle-fed baby gained so quickly!  When the one was about 5 pounds heavier, we told her it would be best to supplement the other with the baby milk and start the bigger one nursing as well.  So now she has two very nice looking, healthy twins that are so hard to tell apart.

Renda & the twins: One in front, one in back

Renda & the twins: One in front, one in back

The Baby Milk Program has been an instrument that God uses to show that He cares even for the smallest ones.  Like the clinic ministry itself, it “opens hearts to the Gospel.” Renda is now faithful to attend Koditanga Baptist Church each Sunday.  She had never come before having the babies.  She is almost always on time, and always stays and visits afterwards.  It is like she now has a new family.  Even though she does not yet responded to the Gospel, she listens each week, and one day we pray the planted Seed will sprout.

On the way to church this morning, my granddaughter, Hannah, said to me as we were walking across the property, “Look, that lady has a baby on the back and a baby on the front.”  I told her, yes, that is Renda, and the twins are almost two years old now.  Hannah responded that Kamea ladies do not keep both twins.  I was so pleased to tell her that while it is true, now they can, and now they do.  We have helped with several sets of twins since Renda’s babies.  Isn’t it awesome to be a part of keeping a family together?