Sunday, April 26, 2015


My awesome Dad
Growing up, my father always enchanted our imaginations with stories of his adventures - throwing bulls and breaking brumbies in the Northern Territory, fighting off robbers in Peru, sailing through terrible storms, and the like. With the recent publication of our article in Samaritan's Purse "On Call" magazine, my father shared with me a story I'd never heard.

In 1990, just two years after my father committed his life to Jesus, 
his church group helped coordinate a massive revival assembly for Franklin Graham's crusade. The event took place in my hometown, Lexington Virginia, in the basketball stadium of the Virginia Military Institute. Many years later, the same facility hosted both my high school graduation, and four years later, my graduation from VMI. 

As my father recounted each detail of the event, my heart and mind swirled with lost memories...feint glimpses of a special outing with my Daddy, sitting high above and to the side of a big stage, the electric feel of corporate worship.

He recounted taking his eight year old son, Teddy, to see the renown revival preacher, Franklin Graham. The arena was packed, and Graham spoke powerfully, calling the assembly to New Life in Jesus Christ. The preacher closed with an invitation to join him at the stage - to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. My father sat back, sure of his faith, looking around with anticipation to see who, of the thousands gathered, would answer the call. 

Yup - that's me.
Franklin Graham,
son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham
Chuckling at this point in the story, my father remembered with wonder the enthusiasm in his own son's voice - "Daddy, can we go down?" Little Teddy grabbed his hand, tugging him down the bleacher stairs toward the man who offered New Life, to stand with just a few of the other first comers.

The story ends with Franklin Graham anointing Teddy's head with oil, ushering him into relationship with Jesus, a life set apart for the work of God.

As founder of World Medical Mission, Graham writes a beautiful introduction in the "On Call" magazine. WMM happens to be the very same organization which made our year in Papua New Guinea possible. Coincidence? Not if you believe God works for our good!

Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭28-30‬
And we know that in all things God works
for the good of those who love Him, 
who have been called according to His purpose. 
For those God foreknew He also predestined 
to be conformed to the image of His Son, 
that He might be the firstborn 
among many brothers and sisters. 
And those He predestined, He also called; 
those He called, He also justified; 
those He justified, He also glorified.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The youngsters...

About a month ago I wrote a post about my 4th to 6th grade students at the MK Elementary School. For the past few weeks, I have had the privilege of working with the 1st-3rd grade students as well. Their teacher, Judy Ralph, went on home assignment, and so I get to finish out the school year with a range of ages and grades. I have really enjoyed working with the younger kiddos and hope you can catch a glimpse of their wonderful personalities through this post.

Ethan Goossens
Ethan is seven years old and is finishing up first grade. When asked where he was born, he answered, “America.” (You can tell he has been in PNG for a while) : ) He has been living in Papua New Guinea with his family for four years now. Ethan’s favorite subject in school is “Activity Time,” which is a block of the video class where the students learn about Health, Safety, and occasionally do art projects. When he grows up, Ethan said he would like to be a “policeman.” His favorite parts of living in PNG are: “getting ice cream at the grocery store in town” and “getting boxes from people.” When Ethan has free time, he enjoys jumping on the trampoline in his yard. Ethan would like everyone to know that his favorite color is orange, his favorite animal is the tiger, and his favorite song is “We are the Free.”

Viola Stoller
Viola is eight years old and in second grade. She was born in Switzerland and has been living in PNG for most of her life. Viola’s favorite subject in school is Bible, because “it’s nice to hear the stories and sing the songs.” When Viola grows up, she wants to be a farmer. Her favorite part of living in Papua New Guinea is that the “weather is nice all the time.” When she has free time, Viola’s favorite thing to do is “play outside.” Viola’s favorite animal is the pig.

Lexi Goossens
Lexi is eight years old and in the 2nd grade as well. She was born in Washington, and has lived with her family in PNG for about four years. Lexi’s favorite class in school is Bible, because she “likes talking about God.” When she grows up, Lexi wants to be a veterinarian. Her favorite part of living in Papua New Guinea is “the views and the river.” When Lexi has free time, she likes “climbing trees and relaxing.” Lexi’s favorite animal is the snow leopard and her favorite color is black.

Hali Peterson
Hali is in third grade and is eight (almost nine) years old. She was born in Oregon and has been with her family in PNG for two years. Hali’s favorite class in school is also Bible because she “likes singing the songs.” When Hali grows up, she wants to “work with animals.” Her favorite part of living in Papua New Guinea is all the “different kinds of trees and animals.” When Hali has free time, her favorite thing to do is “play outside.” Hali would like everyone to know that her favorite animal is the tiger.

Jorina Stoller
Jorina is in the third grade and is ten years old. She was born at the hospital right here in Kudjip and has lived in Papua New Guinea for most of her life. Jorina’s favorite subject in school is Bible as well because she “likes singing and hearing the stories.” When Jorina grows up, she would also like to be a farmer. Her favorite part of living in Papua New Guinea is that there are “different animals here than in Switzerland.” When she has free time, Jorina’s favorite thing to do is “playing with animals.” Jorina wants everyone to know that her favorite color is blue.

Selfie with the little ones...

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me 
and do not hinder them, 
for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  
~ Matthew 19:14

Friday, April 17, 2015

Published - "On Call"

Exciting news!

Please select the following links to find an article about Rachel and me that has been published in the Spring issue of World Medical Mission's "On Call" Magazine. God is good!

Full Spring edition of the WMM "On Call" magazine

Just our Article

For we are God's workmanship, 
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do. 
(Ephesians 2:10)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New Life on A Ward

Dear Family and Friends,

Warmest greetings from sunny PNG. I'd like to say the "rainy season" has ended, which leaves us with more sunny hours to enjoy every day. We still have plenty of rain - an afternoon thunderstorm most days, and the drone of tropical rain on our tin roof most nights (which we love falling asleep to). The gardens (flowers, veggies, and MANY weeds) are happily overgrowing their designed boundaries, but I don't mind - it's an excuse to spend more time with my hands in the dirt.

I've been back on A Ward for the last couple weeks, and really enjoyed seeing the admitted kiddos every day. Their parents are always so grateful, and if I'm not getting smiles on the first go round, usually the kids are also excited to say hi by the second or third day I see them. The stickers, tickles, selfies, and goofy faces probably help. Actually, I think I've made a name for myself here just with stickers alone... “Kid with a sticker? Yup - he's seen Dr Ted.” :-)

I've also loved working with the A Ward staff again. They're a wonderful group of nurses, and I've really enjoyed getting to know them. Every day after I complete rounds, we circle up in the center of A Ward, grab hands, and pray for God's leading in our work and healing for the kids. Everyone gets a turn to pray, and the shy nursing students are quickly learning that avoiding my gaze is the fastest way to be "volunteered" to pray.

Since coming back on the Peds Ward, I've felt The Lord leading me to do more with the time I have left. At first, it meant reading the Lord's Prayer (in Pidgin) with all the patients/parents before or after rounds, but this last Sunday, being on call, the vision expanded to giving a short message. I decided Jesus’ words would be more powerful if read than paraphrased, so reading from the Pidgin Bible, I strung together a number of verses – His promises for those who believe…

“Come to me, all you who are weary…
take my yoke upon you…and you will find rest…” 
(Matthew 11:28-30)

The two greatest commandments are 
“Love the Lord…and Love your neighbor…” 
(Matthew 22:37-39)

“When Jesus comes in His Glory…
He will separate the sheep from the goats…
Whatever you did for the least of these you did for me”. 
(Matthew 25:31-40)

“Where two or three come together in my Name, 
there I am with them.”
(Matthew 18:19-20)

“Is anyone of you in trouble?...Is any one of you sick?
...the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; 
the Lord will raise Him up. 
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” 
(James 5:13-16)

The Lord’s Prayer
"...Your will be done...Deliver us..."
(Matthew 6:9-13)

Delivering the Word of God to those suffering is my calling, of that I am sure. Perhaps every Sunday morning will find me with a new message for the Peds Ward. 

New Sign at the front of Kudjip Hospital
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One of my A Ward patients these last two weeks is named McKayla, and her story is worth sharing. About 4 months ago, McKayla entered the world with a complicated delivery at a Southern Highlands hospital. She was stuck in her mother’s pelvis for a long time but with a number of vacuum attempts the OB staff finally brought her into the world. Her parents relay this story with sadness, remembering the limpness of her body, not breathing despite stimulation and oxygen from the staff. McKayla was in fact declared dead after resuscitation efforts were stopped. Her father thinks that about 15-20 minutes after delivery, McKayla began breathing on her own – a miracle of God. She remained in the hospital for some time, weak, unable to coordinate breastfeeding or swallow properly, getting formula through a nasal tube.

Having seen McKayla a few times in the clinic, not only was I very concerned for her obvious malnutrition, but I was also very concerned for aspiration (inhaling spit and formula) – all consistent with her early anoxic brain injury. Her parents were distraught without any way to help her feed, and at her last clinic visit, she had developed an obvious pneumonia from the aspiration. Without oxygen, antibiotics, and nasal feedings, McKayla would surely have died. In fact, after her admission, another doctor covering the Peds ward was so convinced of her terminal state and poor prognosis that they discussed “DNR” (Do Not Resuscitate) with the parents.

More times than I would like to remember, I have had the same conversation with many desperate parents – taking the time to explain how the child’s condition is worsening despite our best efforts and medicines. Without a ventilator on Station, severe infections many times shut down a small child’s ability to breath, leaving us pumping a bag to breathe for them. Even then, after many hours of CPR, these very sick children usually die. For the sickest of them, it seems reasonable to discuss DNR with the parents before their heart and lungs shut down completely – to avoid prolonging the inevitable.

For McKayla, however, it seems God has other plans. Within 48 hours after admission, she turned the corner, responding well to our interventions. In further discussions with her parents, we all agreed to rescind the DNR, willing to prayerfully seek God’s healing and fullness of life for her. After all, only He knows how McKayla’s life will impact others for good.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Little "Teddy" came again for a visit...Love him! :-)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Lovely Get-Away...

As some of you may know, Teddy and I will be celebrating our TEN YEAR Wedding Anniversary in the end of May. Since we were both off of work on Good Friday for Easter Weekend, we thought it would be a great time to celebrate early and get-away for a couple of days!
We were prepared with extra snacks, a picnic lunch, and comfy hiking clothes…so we set off to Rondon Ridge Mountain Lodge…located high up in the mountains just south of Mt. Hagen. The elevation was approximately 6,500 feet, and Teddy enjoyed driving the Land Cruiser up and around our winding mountain path. We arrived and were pleasantly surprised that we were the only guests there! We had the whole place to ourselves and it was wonderful!
Teddy navigating us up the mountainside
We made it to the top!
We spent some time exploring all the tribal artifacts on display in the main building…some of which were for sale…but cost A LOT…so we took pictures of them instead. : ) After getting settled in our room, where some large totem/tiki statues greeted us, we decided to take our picnic lunch and hike around the trails surrounding the property. 

This guy was in the middle of our room!
The property is filled with beautiful, well-maintained trails that pass through jungle, fields, streams, and even give glimpses of waterfalls. After hiking for about an hour, we found a perfect rock in a stream bed to spread out our picnic blanket and have lunch. Our meal was the kind that seems to taste even better when eaten outdoors surrounded by God’s beautiful creation: sausage, cheese, bread, and pears.

Our picnic spot
 On Saturday morning, after breakfast, we set off to do some more exploring of the trails. Teddy was able to track down several birds of interest and we had a lovely rest in the equatorial sunshine before heading back to the lodge to check-out and head back to station. 
Tracking birds...
Black-Billed Cuckoo-Dove
Jungle Graffiti

Beautiful butterfly in a clearing
The LARGEST spider web we have ever seen!
View from the top!
Teddy climbed to the VERY top!
View of Mt. Hagen from above the clouds!
Enjoying God's Creation!

Overall, it was a wonderful two days. It is amazing how refreshing it is to be away from one’s everyday surroundings and absorb the magnificent mountain air and sunshine. We feel so blessed to have had the resources and time to get-away…it was very restorative. 

Bikpela em i wasman bilong mi. 
Olsem na mi no inap sot long wanpela samting.  
Em i mekim mi i slip long gutpela gras. 
Na em i bringim mi i go long ol liklik wara 
na mi dring na mi malolo. 

~ Buk Song 23:1-2 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. 
~ Psalm 23:1-2