Visions of PNG

This is a short report broadcast on Sky News looking at my recent visit to Papua New Guinea. The report was put together by Rhema Broadcasting’s Allan Lee who was part of the media team on the trip.

He prepared the report on the work of Operation Christmas Child in Papua New Guinea for Sky News Australia/New Zealand.

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Toilet Roll Confession

I’m sorry. So very sorry. I didn’t mean to do it to you but I was half asleep. Please forgive me.

Our last night in Port Moresby was going to be a short one. With my flight leaving at 6:30 a.m. I knew I’d have to be at the airport by 4:30 a.m. That meant waking up at 3:30 a.m. The front desk staff at the Holiday Inn Port Moresby offered us a wake up call. We accepted.

After a great meal in the hotel restaurant and a debrief with the team we headed to bed. I remember laying in bed thinking about how difficult it was trying to get to sleep. The next thing I knew the phone was ringing. The time had come to start my journey home …. or had it?

I answered the phone to hear a voice asking me, “Did you request a (indistinguishable mumbling)?” I figured they were asking me whether I’d requested a reminder call so in my half awake state I replied yes before ending the call. That’s when my room mate, Scott Haas from Hobart’s Ultra 106.5, told me that it wasn’t 3:30 a.m. It was only 12:15 a.m. I said to Scott, “Well, I don’t know what I just agreed to but we’ll probably have room service at our door very soon.”

Tap, tap, tap, tap. There was someone at the door. I dragged myself out of bed and made my way to the door thinking about how I could tell them I hadn’t ordered the midnight snack or whatever it was they were delivering. I opened it to find a staff member offering me a toilet roll.

I’m so sorry, but at 12:20 a.m., after just a couple of hours sleep, I wasn’t really awake enough to argue. I politely took the roll, said thank you, and gently closed the door before collapsing on my bed and falling back to sleep.

Somewhere in the Holiday Inn that night there was a guest in desperate need of toilet paper wondering why room service wasn’t delivering what they needed. I’m sorry … but I hope you’ll understand.

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Changing Communities

Click for larger image.

I think my head is finally sorting itself out. Since returning from Papua New Guinea I’ve been catching up on a little sleep and trying to get over a constant light dizziness. I’m not sure if that’s the result of a heavy schedule or the side effects of the anti-malarial tablets I’m taking.

Over just four days I had the amazing opportunity to join a media team from Australia and New Zealand to look at the work of Samaritan’s Purse and in particular, Operation Christmas Child.

Papua New Guinea is a truly amazing place. The time we spent there was extremely hot and incredibly humid. While the conditions were a little testing, the time we had there was well worth the rushed visit. The people we met welcomed us warmly and it was such an honour to see the work they’re doing amongst the poorer villages near the nation’s capital of Port Moresby.

Papua New Guinea (PNG), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands (the western portion of the island is a part of the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua). It is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, in a region defined since the early 19th century as Melanesia. The capital is Port Moresby.

Papua New Guinea is one of the most diverse countries on Earth, with over 850 indigenous languages and at least as many traditional societies, out of a population of just under 7 million. It is also one of the most rural, with only 18% of its people living in urban centres.

The majority of the population lives in traditional societies and practice subsistence-based agriculture. – Wikipedia

While we were in Papua New Guinea to help distribute some of the thousands of shoe boxes collected this year for Operation Christmas Child.

Operation Christmas Child is a unique project of Samaritan’s Purse that brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes.

It provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple but hands-on project that has the power to transform children’s lives.

In 2009, our teams in Australia and New Zealand delivered over 300,000 gift-filled shoe boxes to South East Asia and the South Pacific. Globally, Samaritan’s Purse distributed an estimated 8.5 million shoe boxes to children in 105 countries.

As each shoe box gift is delivered, it is treasured by the child that receives it, and is a lasting reminder that he or she is precious to God.

One of the most exciting aspects of the trip was a visit to an area that received shoe boxes last year. We saw first hand how the simple gifts given last year have opened opportunities that have changed the health and well being of the entire community.

In the coming days I want to share more details of the trip and I hope it will inspire you to get involved in Operation Christmas Child or to support the work of Samaritan’s Purse in some other way.

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Mush Brain

There is a state of being when you feel other worldly and your brain has turned to mush. I have achieved this state.

I’m sitting in Brisbane’s Domestic Airport waiting a few hours for my flight to Perth. I was up at 3:15 this morning in Papua New Guinea to get ready for my flights. Of course, saying that it was 3:15 a.m. means that it was acually 1:15 a.m. Perth time and while I’ve been living on PNG time since Thursday, I’m now about to head home and so I’ll have to readjust very quickly.

We had an amazing time in and around Port Moresby delivering gifts to the children of a small, poor village and visiting another village which received gifts last year. I was there with a small group as guests of Samaritan’s Purse and their yearly Operation Christmas Child. There is so much I want to write but that will need to wait until my brain readjusts itself.

Stay tuned for some great photos and some video of the trip. You’ll hear from me once my brain begins to operate again.

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