Once more I find myself sitting at the feet of Jesus asking for His wisdom and strength for I am weary after these past weeks. I have mass destruction all around my family once again and wonder when it will end at times. After the past year and a half both Greg and I are finding ourselves being stretch in many different directions that sometimes make no sense to us. We have been learning to adapt to constant challenges and moments when our human nature wants to throw our hands up and say enough is enough. BUT our GOD is forever faithful and has filled us with the strength to carry on and trust in ways we never knew possible.
One of the challenges actually began over a month ago when our son Isaac got a cut on the inside of his ankle while in Sentani playing on the playground. We noticed it looking a little red and with the help of one of our teammate who is a nurse we thought we had it looking good. However, two days after returning to Merauke it was starting to look funny so we went to a local doctor who started him on a antibiotic. By Wednesday I am talking with the nurse again and she begins talking to different people about it as well. We were advised to take him to the hospital as they did not like what it looked like at all. By this time the sore had risen up and we had a purple/red color all around it. At the local hospital he was seen by a surgeon who said he had an abscess under the sore but was not sure if any of the infection had reached to bone yet.
The nurses put some iodine around the sore and while I am trying to distract Isaac (assuming they were going to give him something to numb it) they just slice open the wound. Once they opened him up they took tweezers and dig around for the abscess and pull it out. After making sure they got it all they throw bandages over it without cleaning it out. Then send us to get and x-ray to make sure there is nothing on the bone which thankfully looked fine. After that they sent him home with three different types of drugs. By Thursday night I noticed he had a fever in his ankle and when he got ready for bed he bumped it and opened the wound. While changing the bandage I noticed that there was still some pus in the area. However, it was getting late at this point so I sent out emails to everyone who has been involved so far asking them what the next step was. By mid-morning the following day everyone was in agreement that he needed out as soon as possible to seek medical help in Jakarta.
While I am in the middle of this Greg has been working with different people as one of the villages we serve interior had a fire run through it and over fifty percent of the town was gone. Amazingly though there was not one death through that but we had over half a town with literally nothing but the clothes on there backs. Our Merauke team was able to gather clothes and other supplies to be given out to families in need. And on the morning that we decided that Isaac needed out for medical assistance Greg was busy flying in government officials to Eci so that they could look at the damage first hand. Thankfully, I was able communicate with Greg about what was going on and reassure him that I was good and he could still focus on what he was doing.
Since Greg was flying those officials around our national staff jumped into action helping us purchase flights out the next day for Jakarta. This can sometimes be tricky as we only have three planes that leave in the morning from our area. Thankfully, we were able to find two seats on a plane that did not require too many island stops. So on Saturday morning I began the trip to Jakarta with Isaac while Greg stayed behind with our other two children in Merauke. Once in Jakarta we went straight to the hospital where I had surgery the year before. He was taken to their wound care area, where they did a wonderful job of cleaning it and digging inside the holes to make sure all the dead skin and dried blood was removed along with any pus. Once again Isaac did a wonderful job as there was no way to really numb the area. After having it cleaned out properly they stuffed the area with a special antibiotic gauze and other bandages. Our stay in Jakarta lasted 10 days as they continued his wound care treatments. For the healing needs to be from the inside out without letting the wound scab over! Once we reached a certain place Isaac and I were able to journey back to Papua but needed to be close to a nurse who had wound care experience. Thankfully, one of the nurses in Sentani agreed to help us out and this allowed us to be able to reconnect as a family once more at the Sentani guesthouse on the MAF base. A few days after landing back in Papua Isaac saw the nurse and she was happy with how his wound looked. She thought it would be a couple more weeks before we could make the finally leg of the journey home to Merauke. After this appointment I finally felt like I could breath a little easier and that life would finally start to get back to normal soon.
Little did I know that God was about to ask us to once again completely trust Him as he placed another natural disaster in front of our family. For within 24 hours of Isaac seeing the nurse the skies let loose there hold of rain on the city of Sentani with intense amounts of tropical rain starting a little after seven that evening. Within a few hours there was massive flooding and life ending mudslides in different parts of the city. Papuan people began to pour into the international school property and other places seeking safety and higher ground. Children were tragically pulled out of parents arms and whole families gone expect a few who some how survived. The Seven Day Adventist compound that lies just outside of Sentani had a massive mudslide that torn right through there base. They lost 8 out of 11 national homes in an instant. The mudslide went right through there older hanger were a plane was stored and pushed the airplane almost to the middle of the road that was down the hill. Many expats through the area found flood water running into their homes and could hear the mudslides going on all around them throughout the night.
One of our MAF national staff was in his home with his wife and two children when there house was ripped open by the water and mud coming off the side of the mountain. They found themselves pinned by furniture and doors that were jammed stuck due to the force of the water and mud. After breaking out of their door they found themselves pinned against one part of their house from the rushing water. They began to scream and one of the expats that lived closed by heard their cries and came to help them. They final made it to the other house and spent the rest of the night with this expat family.
By mornings light the town began to see what the damage was really like after an entire night of rain and mudslides. Roads were gone, massive boulders laid everywhere after being carried down the mountain, homes gone, lives taking, many loved ones missing, and mass confusion. Thankfully, our expat doctor was back in town and they quickly opened the small medical clinic at the international school in the middle of the night to handle the massive amount of injuries. All of us that could started preparing food to take up for the people, donating extra clothes, bedding, buying diapers and formula for the babies.
That first morning I was able to take food up but found myself reacting to what I was seeing after being in the earthquake months ago. For I could look right into those blank faces that were still in so much shock and I could relate to there pain on a very personal level. Since I was having a reaction to this and at that moment all needs were met I headed back down the hill with tears running down my face. I wanted so much sit and help them but was just not emotionally able to yet. After struggling with this fact for a few hours back at base I decided to get back into helping once more as a notice came out for the need of more cleaning supplies and baby supplies. This time I felt a little more prepared for what I would find and Franklin wanted to help out as well. After buying the things at the store we tried to make it to the school and ended up just parking the car and hiking it in.
And sadly this has now being going on for six days straight in this area as rains continue to come during the nights. Which means that all the work that was done the day before had to be redone once again. Greg has been busy these past days by delivery supplies, driving a group of doctors so they can buy more medicine, and then delivering clean water to our national staff homes that survived the flood but now are without city water. And I have found myself working with the ladies here on base as we cleaned an empty house on Monday so some of our national families had a safe place to stay since their homes were not safe to live in. I was able to hold our national staff member’s wife that I mentioned earlier when they were brought down to the base. I remember looking into her eyes and being instantly taking back to those moments months ago when we did not know if Franklin was alive or not. Then later on that night I was able to assist our teammate who is a nurse here on base with wound care for our national staff as I have been learning a lot about it over these past weeks.
Thankfully, the rain last night was not as bad but most people are still not sleeping for we can still hear the mudslides going on. So every morning I find myself having my devotions and just trying to allow the Lord to prepare me for what He will place in front of me through out the day. We are still seeing improvements on Isaac’s wound but he still needs to be near the nurses here. And almost at the same time as it started raining here in Sentani it began to rain back home in Merauke that has led to flooding as well.
Even though the journey has been exhausting these past weeks and filled with a lot of uncertainty God is still showing his mighty hand in all of this. So as my family literally sits at the base of a mountain I will chose to trust in the creator of that mountain and allow Him to provide me with His peace and joy for this new day. For I know without a doubt that God has a master plan for all that is going on even if I do not understand it at all.