“I learned a lot about medicine, myself, medicine and God.”
Marianna Duncan, originally from Texas, is a nurse who after moving to Hawaii a couple of years ago, heard about YWAM Ships Kona from friends at church.
Papua New Guinea (PNG) was the available option for volunteering. Once she arrived in PNG, the ship docked in Madang and then the team would travel to serve in many villages including Bulsom, Mapour, Kubam, Bulu, and the like as well as some islands named Karkar and Bagabag.
“A work day was get up about 6:30 am, eat breakfast, fix lunch and get ready to ‘roll’ out for the day.
The leadership team usually had a specific spot chosen for the day [where} the medical team would work and other spots that the Discipleship Training School (DTS) students would go to share [their] testimony.”
Community leaders and churches were usually contacted by leadership to spread the word for the region the team was in. Turn outs were pretty good.
Access to water was usually what the team carried with them. Working outside consisted of sometimes being under mango trees or in village ‘squares’, near schools, churches, hospitals etc.
“We always partnered with locals to organize, screen and direct the patients. We offered eye checks, dental services, vaccines, wound care, and a doctor to evaluate, diagnose, and treat illness (if we had the correct medicine).”
Once the team was organized and ready for the day, they would work non-stop until lunch break and then get back to work. They always made it back to the ship by dark; sometimes they even had time to snorkel.
Marianna would use the time before supper to help enter data about the number of patients seen into the Ships excel program. She also would restock the pharmacy and medical supplies.
With weekends off, everyone would go to church. It was a great way to spread the word about the clinics.
Something that sticks out to Marianna was the partnership with the locals and learning how their medical system worked.
“They tended to be very resourceful and knowledgeably. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and want to return. I did not expect to be working with so many local people and learning from them.”
While in PNG, Marianna was privy to flying fish, beautiful corals and fish, and flying bats. The people she encountered were “incredibly generous, kind and patient”. She didn’t realize, however, how precious books and water filters could be. She’ll be sure to take more of each whenever she does return to Papua New Guinea.
In the midst of everything going on, Marianna felt God moving everyday.
“God was there ahead of us, smoothing over rough edges and giving us grace to encourage and help each other. I saw God in how He provided and empowered these wonderful people.
I did not witness any miraculous healings, unfortunately, but I met so many believers in PNG that were kind servants working hard to improve their community and country. I felt extremely lucky and blessed.”
For Marianna, the whole trip was humbling.
For others interested in serving, Marianna says: “Get off the fence. Set a date and start preparing for a mission.”
By Jaime Gomez
Port YWAM Kona Communications Staff