by Stephanie Miller, Kudjip missionary
When my husband, Justin, asked me to work on revising the NHM website, I was hesitant. I don’t know the hospital statistics, I’m not in the hospital daily and don’t see the interactions between our staff and patients, and I’m not directly involved with those in administration. My ‘jobs’ here at Kudjip have more to do with the missionary community, paperwork, and the missionary kids. But over this past year, I’ve seen, more than ever, how each and every person–expat missionary and Papua New Guinean staff–are absolutely critical to keeping the doors open and making sure that the original mission and vision of this place continues.
In the ten months since the first COVID-19 lockdowns began to impact the world, we have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of volunteer doctors who have been able to come to Kudjip. In years past, we have relied on these volunteer doctors to provide coverage in the hospital when other doctors were on vacation or home assignment. This past year, it became glaringly obvious that COVID would make those volunteer visits next to impossible. In any given day, well over 100 people come to Kudjip hospital in hopes of seeing a doctor, nurse, or getting medicine.
In a time when it would have been easy to despair, I have seen miracles come from this small band of people providing healthcare in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. There have been long hours and time away from our families. Many of us have done jobs we never wanted and didn’t feel qualified to do. We’ve had to give each other lots of grace. And we’ve reached out to each other when it got to be too much. There have been meals made for tired families, cups of coffee mingled with tears, and late nights addressing issues that had to be put off. There have been government rules and regulations that made it all-but-impossible to get anyone into PNG, and travel bans that prevented most of us from leaving the country for any reason.
But then–there are those moments: watching as doctors and other missionaries drive onto station after months and months and attempt after attempt to get back; hearing about a life-saving surgery that happened just in time when the patient had traveled days to get here; participating in orientation for four new local missionary couples–Papua New Guineans that are being sent out by the Church to plant new churches in other provinces; worship and fellowship with our PNG brothers and sisters and witnessing the pure joy of serving Jesus; caroling on the wards at Christmastime and remembering our ‘why.’ These moments are why we all came to Kudjip in the first place. And in spite of the difficulties of the pandemic, we have not seen God slow down. God is moving, and we are along for the ride. Sometimes it’s a roller coaster, and sometimes it’s full of hidden obstacles, but He’s right here with us, continuing to bring about His kingdom in big and small ways.
Thank you for praying for the Kudjip community.