“Papa God” is the Pidgin term used for God the Father. I have adopted it in my prayers. I even have one or two words leftover from my time in the Marshall Islands that I also use in prayer. It’s funny how sometimes you can find a word or phrase in another language that is just such a good word, and doesn’t really have an English counterpart. Maybe you’ve found that to be the case too. Anyway, February had such special answers from “Papa God” that I need to share them.

The first part of February a co-worker from another province in PNG visited the center here. She visited a year ago too. It’s always a very special treat for me to have someone from my same mission visit. This co-worker has some similarities to her ministry with mine. Namely, we are both somewhat isolated, both of us work in medical ministry, and both of us work with children’s and ladies’ ministries. We had such sweet fellowship. We both struggle in similar ways too, so we frequently encourage each other with texts or emails. On the last afternoon of her visit we enjoyed a special meal at the hotel in town where I work. Unfortunately, something in her dish caused her to suffer from a nice bout of food poisoning. And she had to get up really early to fly to Goroka, then wait around another hangar for a second flight back to her home place. Both of us wondered how that would go; and had even discussed how plans may need to change. But Papa God heard our prayers, and her problems resolved within a few hours. But then the weather at her home place was terrible; thick clouds and rain. But the helicopter pilot was brimful of “intestinal fortitude” and after circling the field 3 times found a little window in the clouds- about the size of the chopper from what I understand- and landed safely. But my dear friend had to unload and trundle her cargo a good ways in the rain. She sure was glad to be home! Papa God cared for her so tenderly and dearly.

2 days after she got home, she was informed that the chopper pilot had been diagnosed with covid. Sure enough, she came down with mild symptoms, but did not have very good testing to verify. But the next day I came down with a low-grade fever, and on the 18th I tested positive. I was thrilled! I knew from research that getting the virus after vaccination gives a very healthy kick to the immune system. I only had this fever and aching for 2 days, then by the 3rd day nearly everything had cleared up. And because Papa God had heard and answered my request for this, He went on to bless me with healing and strength. More than that, I felt kind of full of energy or even nervousness. Because I was on quarantine (aka- I had time), I scrubbed walls and floors and got the whole house smelling like bleach (something I enjoy). I went back to work the next week. My co-worker too went back to work the next week. Papa God has been so good to His daughters!

On the day before I returned to work, I found out that the nurse who works with me also tested positive. So for the first week back to work I worked alone. Admittedly I am a little spoiled in having a nurse to work with me. So I was just working in the front exam room in the clinic. I was having issues with the tablets that I use for my electronic medical record, so I used my cell phone as a “hot spot” in order to ensure that all the data from the tablet would be backed up on the web. I was also playing some music on my cell phone. Suddenly the music stopped, which was odd. I had my cell phone at the other end of the hall way that was a ways away from the door. It was a good spot to get good internet service, without having to carry the phone in my pocket. So when the music stopped, I went down the hall way, and my phone was gone! There had been 2 co-workers who had come in; one was a cleaner and the other a data-entry lady. Both of them work for the same corporation with whom I volunteer. My “boss” who works as the clinical manager there came at the same time. When he tried calling my phone it had been turned off. This was only about 2 minutes after the phone had disappeared. Immediately all of us began searching everywhere. My only prayer was “Oh, Papa!” Patients joined us in asking around. I was out in front of the building and noticed the cleaner lady go back inside. I followed her, and she was in the hallway and pointed to the book case in my office. There was my cell phone in a very obvious place! It was not there when all of us searched. When I picked up the phone it felt warm, as if someone had been holding it. Oh how I rejoiced! I just can’t tell you what a miracle it is that a “smart phone” would be stolen then returned. That just does not happen in PNG! It is quite obvious that it was the cleaning lady who took it, and with so many people looking she just couldn’t get away with it. But it was Papa God Who heard my prayer. What an amazing miracle!

I have been working in the evenings on taking short online classes in order to renew my SC nursing license by the end of April. With nearly every class I take, I am left feeling very small and uneducated about the advances in medicine in the USA. To see and hear what is available for testing, diagnosis, and the myriad of incredibly brilliant specialists … well, it takes my breath away. I also had the opportunity last week to communicate with a cardiologist in the USA to help with a few of my patients here. But when I go into work every morning there is almost nothing to work with, but a line of really sick people waiting for help. I feel so small and inadequate. Thankfully these folks do not know that there is any other world out there for medicine. I am often- almost daily- reminded that God has provided for the needs of these people just as He has provided for the needs of His American children. In His sovereignty He knows all about the needs of each, and chooses how to provide. So my prayer is that Papa God would just continue to use me as a tool in His hand. And maybe He will send someone else to work here as His tool. My prayer and concern in the short-term is for the 6-month furlough I have coming up late this year. Papa God knows, and I’m certain He will care for these folks just as lovingly while I’m away.