PNG Blessings :: Gospel Fellowship Association Missions
By Cherith Hamilton

PNG Blessings

I opened my eyes, but it made no difference—it was pitch black. I thought maybe a noise had awakened me. Suddenly I felt something fall on my bed, close to my feet. I lay still for a few seconds but neither heard nor felt anything moving. A rat probably. I didn’t mind rats but wasn’t sure I wanted one sharing my bed. I threw my comforter back so that anything still on the bed would likely fall off; then I flicked on the light switch. A glue trap from the rafters had fallen face down on my blanket. What were those tail, antenna, or leg-like things poking out from under the trap? I was hoping it was a rat and not one of the very large spiders they have here in Papua New Guinea. I picked up the trap at one corner and turned it over…


At that time I’d been in Papua New Guinea (PNG) for two months. I have now been in PNG for one year, and including the experience shared above, I’ve loved almost every minute of it. In reflecting over my year here, I keep asking myself, why was I the privileged one God chose to bring here to PNG? I say “God chose,” because I don’t know how else to describe the circumstances surrounding my coming. I was working as a nurse in the local emergency department. I had been struggling for some time with feeling like God did not love me, or maybe He just didn’t know I existed and didn’t have any particular plan for me or care what happened to me. I was not seeking Him and was very discouraged. My PNG story began when a GFA representative asked if I would go for a few months to replace a nurse who was planning to go on furlough soon. I immediately said “Yes! Yes, I want to go—now.” I did not know any of the specific details—who, what, when, where, or why—but I was extremely excited about the opportunity, and I knew there was nothing else I’d rather be doing.


Then came all the specifics about the who, what, when, where, and why. It was quite overwhelming. The PNG missionaries informed me I would need to submit a work permit, entry visa, and PNG nurse license application for approval. All three applications required packets of paperwork to be submitted. I was told that many missionaries who apply to come to PNG end up waiting for months in the US while their paperwork is stalled somewhere in an office that may not be regularly staffed or have functional processing systems. Then came the doubts. “The missionaries in PNG say they would like me to be there in just a few months. At the same time, I’m hearing the paperwork never gets approved that quickly. Each individual application (work permit, visa, nurse license) may take months to get approved! And I can’t even submit the visa or nurse license packet until the work permit is approved. I’m supposed to work in PNG for four months, but I probably won’t even get there until I’m supposed to be coming back home! What’s the use of doing all that work when I may not even be able to go. Plus, I’ve got two weddings I’m involved in and a one-month trip to India before that! How will this ever happen? It’s impossible!”


But God is the God of the impossible. All He wants is for our hearts to say “yes” to Him. My parents and I prayed about all the preparations and then buckled down to the task. After much running around, phone calls, faxing, copying, notarizing, and emailing, we submitted the work permit request—approval came in 17 days! Next was the entry visa request—approved in 16 days! We mailed the nurse packet, and it was approved about a week before I got on the plane! It WAS impossible, yes—but God had made the impossible happen. God so clearly wanted me to go to PNG. I was humbled by the realization that He was seeing this one little life, directing my way specifically, and showing His loving care for me.


So, what are you waiting for, friend? Say “yes” if God is calling you to go. He will open the way. And don’t worry about the rats or spiders. That glue trap I turned over had no spiders on it, which is the one thing I didn’t want to see and had lingering in my mind as I went back to sleep. There were only some long-ago dead geckos and bugs. All I had to wonder about was what had knocked that glue trap down in the first place—which I found out later that night.