Daybreak refuel of P2-TMK by our pilot, Matt Allen
The day started at 4 AM as we got up and packed supplies to head over the mountain to the airstrip. Actually, it had started before that.
had set up with Matt
to fly to Komako to do whooping cough immunizations. Komako is where our teammates, Jason and Cherith Ottosen, will be working with national pastor Jack Naudi and his new bride Esila. Komako is just a 5-minute flight from Kanabea–or it is a hard all-day hike over extreme mountainous terrain. We had heard that there was a serious outbreak of whooping cough there, so we thought it would be a good outreach to help demonstrate the Gospel to the people of Komako.
Kids at Komako
The plan was to fly Lena, Jack (Have you seen the “Jack’s Story” video? Yeah, we travel with a movie star), and me to Komako on the first flight. Then Matt would make a run back to Kanabea, down to Kerema, back to Kanabea, back to Komako with Jason Ottosen–and then fly us home. We were supposed to be on the ground in Komako about 2-2 1/2 hours. We left the house at 5 AM, and took off at 6:30 AM.
High winds buffeted the plane as we took off from Kanabea (our present airstrip, not the one Matt is building). For me, it was scary. It is a short flight to Komako; but being bounced around like we were, I wondered where in the world we could land in such a wind. Keep in mind these are not one-mile-long asphalt runways; they are short grass and dirt strips on the sides of mountains. And the wind wants to blow you anywhere but where you want to go.
I’ll skip the flight story; I’d probably just embellish it anyway. We made it safely–albeit bouncingly–to Komako. Matt was able to take off again in a short time, but I shook pretty badly for a few minutes. Lena and Jack never missed a beat; by 7 AM they were seeing patients on the small front porch of the house belonging to the government leader of Komako.
Take your vaccine!
I’ll take my vaccine!
Whooping cough immunizations
Fast forward 9 hours…Lena had seen 159 patients by herself. 87 cases of whooping cough (active!). 147 total immunizations. Jack spent the whole day translating for us.
Line at the end of the day
And in answer to prayer, the wind died down at around 3:30 pm. Lena and I were prepared to spend the night at Komako. OK, we weren’t, because we didn’t bring a sleeping mat or a blanket…but we had psyched ourselves up to that’s what needed to be done. No worries. Be flexible.
Meanwhile, Matt had finished all his flights (except coming back to Komako). Winds were too bad, so he parked the plane and went all the way back over the mountain to the house. We started communicating again around 1:30, and around 2:30 PM we both saw the winds were dying down. Amazing answer to prayer! He got Jason, they flew to Komako with nary a windy bump compared to the morning flight. And we got onboard and flew the 5 minutes back to Kanabea. We closed up the plane, put the remnants of Lena’s travel clinic supplies into the Kawasaki Mule, and headed home.
I think I’m still shaking inside. Lena was amazing…took one break in 9 hours. The people just kept coming, and coming, and coming. No lunch, but that’s normal here. Only one sip of water. Ha. We’re nuts, that’s all there is to it. We could never have planned it this way, and would have been terrified if we had seen it coming. Now we’re praying that Jack and Jason will have some time to sow seed on top of the demonstration of the Gospel that was poured out today.
Jack & Esila Naudi
Jack will commissioned by Kotidanga Baptist Church on next Sunday (March 10). He will be the first missionary sent out by the church that Matt planted back in 2004. This national church is going to support him for the equivalent of $75 USD per month. We’re all excited, and we consider it a blessing to have seen the place our teammates are moving to.
Jason, Cherith, & Grace Ottosen
Yeah, it was a crazy day at Komako. But maybe we helped lay a small part in the foundation of the ministry that will follow. Pray for Jason, Jack, and their families as they begin this new venture soon.