The April DTS team of 6 students and 2 leaders were on board the m/v YWAM Liberty for their entire outreach. Their journey was focused around the city of Lae and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea (PNG). During this time, they participated in 2 full medical outreaches; one to the atoll of Nissan and one around various villages in Buka. Outside of the weeks dedicated to clinics, the team engaged in a variety of different ministry opportunities both on board the ship and out in the community.
They spent the first 2 weeks in Lae primarily focused on preaching in the prison, open-air preaching in the markets, street evangelism, praying for patients in hospitals, and various church ministry activities.
While in Lae, the team experienced outbreaks of healings during ministry times. It was amazing! The healings started when one of the students, Trice, and leader Jeff began praying for healing over individual men in the prison. After hearing the testimonies of the two men from the ministry time, the team’s faith in healings increased.
Feeling the Lord wanted to continue to move through healings in Lae, the students began stepping out in faith during other times of ministry. They prayed for healing in the markets, in the hospital, and more. The Lord brought healings everywhere they prayed for it and the team was very encouraged during this time. Praise God!
When they left Lae, they had a 3-day sail to Buka, which covered most of week 3 of their outreach. If you’ve ever sailed before on board one of our vessels, you’ll know sailing to a new location takes all of your focus and everyone on board takes on an “all hands on deck” approach to getting there.
Dave, another one of the students, was very sweet and made a batch of homemade anti-nausea ginger drink; enough to cover the entire ship for the whole duration of the sail. Since there was a barrier to ministry and team times during these days, the leaders asked the students to be in prayer and intercession to hear anything that the Lord may be guiding them to do once they made it to Buka.
Once they did arrive, their ministry time quickly switched focuses for week 4.
They still went out to participate in market evangelism, church ministry and prayer walks, but their main focus shifted to the ship and their transition into this new region. Upon entering the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, they witnessed the welcoming ceremonies, which was a wonderful cultural experience for the team. The students had the opportunity to experience the beauty of PNG culture through dances, music, speeches, hospitality, and more.
After the welcoming ceremony day, the team played a large role in helping to run the many receptions that were held on board. Hundreds of Papua New Guineans flooded the ship for the tours and receptions.
Week 5 was our first medical outreach!
The students worked all day in the clinics serving in registration, dental assisting, immunizations, pharmacy, eye clinics, eye surgery, medical scribing, and community engagement. All of the students rotated into diverse areas of the clinic throughout the week.
Trice really thrived in community engagement and very quickly became our community engagement coordinator Eivind’s, right-hand man. Trice engaged with the youth in a way that can only be described as being a gift from God!
Julie, a nurse, spent her time in nursing roles. She felt particularly empowered when she had the opportunity to serve as a scrub nurse for the eye surgeries.
Glory and Edward were so flexible and willing to lend a hand anywhere they were needed with a smile on each of their faces.
Dave loved staying with the eye patients in the cargo hold where the Jesus film was being played. He was able to engage with the locals one on one and eventually stepped out of his comfort zone into many areas of the clinic onshore.
Kaitlyn found her place in dental. She became a fantastic dental assistant and by the end of outreach, had shown promise in taking on leadership in the dental role. She will now become the dental coordinator for the remainder of her time here in PNG until December. She has really become a leader in this area and found her place.
In between medical outreach 1 and 2, the team was stationed back in Buka and became involved in preaching and leading worship for a youth group, participated in various church ministries, prayer walks, street evangelism, a bit of women’s ministry, praying in the hospital, and serving on board the YWAM Liberty. Lastly, the team finished out their time in PNG with one more medical outreach. They worked really hard and finished strong. The medical outreach ended up being in Buka. They found themselves setting up clinics in a new location every day, sometimes on land and other times on islands!
Throughout their entire outreach, the students would lead several times of ship worship and devotionals and they also participated in all ship evening events, which occurred throughout the week. They enjoyed being a part of this and it really helped to encourage an atmosphere of focus on the Lord on board the ship. The team would have private team meetings each morning before breakfast and the ship meeting. During these times, they would share about the tentative plan for the day, pray over it and do a daily devotional together out of a book titled Encountering the Face of God.
Throughout their time in PNG, they made it a priority to have consistent team meetings for debriefing throughout outreach. In these gatherings, students would discuss ministry times, tell testimonies, share challenges, and discuss their days. They were very open and always had a good bit to share during these meetings. Other team time activities included intercession, worship, communication, ministry preparation, team building games, and check-ins to see how everyone is doing/feeling. They did so well with meeting together, being interactive, vulnerable, and building unity.
Overall, outreach was such a success.
There were a few bumps and bruises along the way, but the students rose to the occasion and grew through the challenges they faced. This team walked in beautiful unity and love for one another and their fellow crew members.
Jeff and Emily West
PNG Outreach Team leaders