Baby Milk Update, January 2021

BABY MILK UPDATE as of January 2021

We thank the Lord for another year of His provision of baby milk for our clinic ministry at Kunai Health Centre. Even though we had to limit services at times during the pandemic, in 2020 we were able to distribute 246 cans of formula, serving many infants and young children who are malnourished.

In some cases, the mother has died in childbirth, or shortly thereafter. In other cases, the parents have to give the child away as they are unable to feed another mouth…and others of our “baby milk babies” have mothers who are malnourished and unable to produce sufficient milk to feed them.

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The baby milk program began in 2009, and it has served over 400 children since then. Some of these children are school-aged now, and by God’s grace, they are doing quite well.

These twins were just 2.86 pounds each when they were born. They were so tiny! Before we had the supplement program in place, fresh-squeezed pineapple juice or sugar cane would be the usual liquid for any baby that mom could not nurse. Thanks to your support of the baby milk program, we are able to supplement them so that they can stay with their birth mom. She is breastfeeding and supplementing with the baby formula. Way to go!

This year, 10 babies came to us severely malnourished because their mothers were malnourished, too. On the baby milk program, they all became chunky little bits!

Another 14 babies were adopted and fed with baby milk by someone other than their own mother. Take a moment to read Bufort’s story.

Thank you to everyone who joins with us in prayer and financial support of this vital program. We are grateful for those who give monthly or occasionally, and thank you all for keeping the clinic ministry and our people in prayer. The children thank you too!

2020
Income: $3,252.97
Expenses: $3,326.48
Total cans purchased: 246
Cost per 2 lb. can: $13.52
Babies served: 32

2019
Income: $3,595.00
Expenses: $4,420.92
Total cans purchased: 320
Cost per 2 lb. can: $13.82 (price decrease due to exchange rate)
Babies served: 38

2018
Income: $9,118.42 (including a generous gift of $5,000 on Dec. 31, 2017!)
Expenses: $4,063.79
Total cans purchased: 270
Cost per 2 lb. can: $15.05 (increase due to extra air freight costs)
Babies served: 30

2017
Income:      $4,180.41
Expenses:  $5,341.75
Total cans purchased: 420
Cost per 2 lb. can: $12.72 (price decrease due to exchange rate)
Babies served: 45

2016
Income:      $5,715.00
Expenses:  $5,638.34
Total cans purchased: 400
Cost per 2 lb. can: $14.10 (price decrease due to exchange rate)
Babies served: 50

2015
Income:      $6,875.00
Expenses:  $8,280.37
Total cans purchased: 558
Cost per 2 lb. can: $14.83 (price decrease due to exchange rate)
Babies served: 29

2014
Income:      $1,320.00
Expenses:  $6,468.40
Total cans purchased: 400
Cost per 2 lb. can: $16.17
Babies served: 44

2013
Income:       $6,414.16
Expenses:   $8,396.37
Total cans purchased: 471
Cost per 2 lb. can: $17.82
Babies served: 58

2012
Income:       $627.51
Expenses:   $10,446.22
Total cans purchased: 547
Cost per 2 lb. can: $19.10
Babies served: 58

2011
Income:       $1,415
Expenses:   $5,325
Total cans purchased: 300
Cost per 2 lb. can: $17.75
Babies served: 42

Bufort’s Story

by Sarah Glover, missionary at Kunai since 2010

When living and ministering to provide health care in a communal society, your history with your patients runs deep.  They are your friends, not simply a chart to be pulled out of a file, and your friendship deepens with each interaction with them.  Such is the case with Bufort.  But let me back up a bit and put his story into context.

Linda


Bufort’s grandmother, Linda, has been a translator at Kunai Health Center for years.  She is faithful in all her areas of responsibility in the clinic, but she truly excels in her work in our prenatal clinic.  So it was a special day for all of us when her oldest, newly married daughter came for her first prenatal visit. We were able to provide her with care throughout her pregnancy, including diagnosing and treating malaria during her pregnancy, which can be potentially life-threatening for both mom and baby.  

I was already in bed one night when the knock came on my door.  It was Linda.  Julie was in labor.  We had no midwife on the property, and since we encourage all of our first time moms to deliver in a health facility, we decided to transport her to the rural hospital on the other side of the mountain.  A landslide on the trail prevented us from taking her the whole way, but we were able to take her a little over halfway in our Kawasaki Mule, and we waved goodbye in the wee hours of the morning as she continued her trek another 45 minutes to the rural hospital.

The next afternoon we were delighted to see Linda, Julie, and a precious baby boy on the clinic porch.  They named him Bufort nearly right away, which is unusual for our people.  They often wait a year to name their babies to prevent over-attachment should the child not survive his first year.  But that’s ever so gradually starting to change, especially among younger parents.  I can’t prove it, and I’m sure they could never articulate this, but could it be tied to a generational shift in thinking because they grew up knowing that Kunai Health Centre was there? Could it be perhaps some hope has been born in their hearts that there will be someone there to help their babies through the preventable and treatable diseases of childhood which so many wee Kamea warriors had succumbed to in the past?

Julie and her husband, Tom, are good parents, and Linda loves her little grandson.  But when Bufort was about 3 months old, a crisis struck their family.  Julie became desperately ill.  Without the ability for any major diagnostic testing, and based only on experience and on her symptoms, we began treating her for meningitis.  She rallied for awhile and seemed to be responding to the twice-a-day shots we were administering, but then her condition gravely worsened, and she began experiencing seizures and hallucinations.  We knew she needed to have access to medical care that was closer than the next village down the trail, so we made the decision to again transport her to the rural hospital on the other side of the mountain.  We took her in the same Kawasaki Mule to the same landslide, but this time there was no walking to the rural hospital for her.  Instead, she had to be carried in a sheet tied to a pole.  We prayed, believing God could do exceedingly great and wonderful things. But we also kept an eye on the trail out front every day should things not go well, and we happen to see them walk by carrying her body back to the village.

Her conditioned worsened, and at times she was in a near comatose state, unable to rise from her bed for any reason.  Eventually her deterioration was so severe that she was unable to nurse Bufort anymore.  She had so beautifully given him life, but now she could not sustain it, so they turned to us for help.  Before in such cases, there was a high likelihood that the baby would not survive.  But thanks to the Baby Milk Program at Kunai Health Centre and all of those who support it, this one got to live and be nourished even though his mom was so sick.  

Julie remained in critical condition for months. God heard the prayers of many around the world, and He turned our sorrowing into rejoicing.  Many months later she walked him home to her village.  Bufort has a mom, and Julie has her sweet baby still.  Thank the Lord–and thank you to our supporters for the part you played in this story.

Babies like this one benefit from the baby milk program. Thank you for your support!

2020–Not a Loss

Looking Back

Here are some highlights of our 2020:

  • Our 40 ft container of clinic, school, Bible college, and construction materials was shipped from the US and received here, and God provided for the clinic and school supplies to be forwarded on to Kunai.
  • We completed our draft of John in the Kamea language and began the draft of Revelation in Kamea.
  • God provided new nursing staff for Kunai Health Centre as other nurses rotated back to the US. Thank you to Kyle, Lauren, Chelsea, and Danya for serving! Thank you to Stacie and Becca for coming when it didn’t look possible, and for Mary Beth being there through it all!
  • We began renovation of our new home & office space in August and moved into the house in November (with just a few things left to be finished out).
  • Baptist Bible Institute of Port Moresby (BBIPOM) completed its 1st year with 20 students, covering six courses in spite of lock-downs and power blackouts.
  • Dear brethren in Australia provided school materials for the new Christian school at Kunai begun by Sarah Glover this year.

Looking Around

We’ve been thinking much about our ministry options for the present. Churches here have been able to continue their services and outreaches, with the only real limitation of not being able to hold conferences. Relatively few people in PNG have access to hear or watch a conference online, especially those pastors and churches located in more remote areas. Our national pastors around the nation need the fellowship. The Lord has provided us with much material for pastors and teachers, and we want to get those into their hands as well as have gifted, godly speakers teaching the sessions. Pray with us about the door opening back up for us (and other good churches) to resume hosting conferences.

Looking Ahead

These are the things we have mapped out, Lord willing, for 2021:

  • We have applied for a visa for a new nurse coming from Australia—
    Pray the Lord will make a way for her.
  • We plan to begin our new term for BBIPOM (2nd year) on 25 January—
    Pray the Lord keeps the doors open, and pray for our returning students
    plus new students who plan to join us.
  • We want to continue our New Testament translation in the Kamea language, doing checks and reviews along the way—
    Pray the Lord provides for our village translation team to be able to fly
    out here to town and to return in a timely manner.
  • We desire to do more outreach and work with our believers—
    Pray the Lord helps us to see and to seize the opportunities.

Most of our 1st Year Students at BBIPOM

All in all, we want to “follow on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3a), and to make Him known among the nations!

None of us knew what 2020 would bring, so when it comes to 2021—or even tomorrow—we say with the Apostle James, “If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” (James 4:15b)

Thank you for your prayers for us, for our people, and for the Lord’s work, and thank you for making it possible that we can do it. Thank you again for allowing us to represent you. Please take time to look through this blog to see photos from this year and enjoy what God has done through you as you have stood with us!

Because He Is,
John & Lena Allen
2 Thessalonians 3:1

A special thank you to Pastor Tau Abary and Mary Beth Snyder for taking some of these photos!

A gift from our students as they finished their first year at BBIPOM.

Students listening attentively during chapel.

Missionary John Gray came to challenge our student body.

It was a privilege to have my son Matt come teach a class on sermon preparation for our Exegesis & Exposition course.

My son Matt Allen with Pastor Tau Abary of Shalom Baptist Church

It was our privilege to join several local pastors for the graduation and awards ceremonies at Shalom Baptist Christian Academy.
Here, Mrs. Suzanne Abary, wife of Pastor Tau and headmistress of the school, is being honored for 10 years of service at the school.

Thankful for our friends laboring out at Kunai: Becca Wyatt, Sarah Glover,
and Stacie McCary. (PC: Mary Beth Snyder)

Below are some photos of the set-up and conversion of our new house and offices. Special thank you to Curtain Brothers Construction for donating, delivering, and setting up the “donga” (formerly a bunkhouse at the Exxon plant near here). Thanks also to the staff men at Capital City Baptist Church and South Pacific International Academy for their tireless work on the project. Thanks to the contractors, Altra Builders and MZ Electrical for their expertise and long hours.

Here’s a sunrise view from our front veranda.

Baptist Bible Institute of Port Moresby Mission Statement