Cup of Cold Water

A house near the coast, on the road to Papa.

A house near the coast, on the road to Papa.

“We have a clinic in Koki, and one in Papa” Colonel Chris said, pointing to the outer two of three large circles, “and a counseling center at Ela Beach,” she touched the middle of the three, “and they’re just not working.”

We hadn’t been in PNG 24 hours before I was being briefed on an immense and exciting challenge for which I would be responsible. The Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries – who had found herself with my job added to her considerably full slate of responsibilities and was thrilled that I was now here to step in – had drawn three large circles on one half of a piece of paper, and on the other half she drew ten small circles.

She told me that The Salvation Army in PNG was partnering with Family Health International (FHI) to confront the burgeoning HIV/AIDS problem in the country. We were being given the opportunity to provide health education, clinical services, medicine and counseling to sex workers and other at-risk populations in settlements around the region.


Settlements like this one crop up wherever space allows, cobbled together over water or on a hillside.

The ten smaller circles represented ten selected settlements scattered around the Port Moresby area that we would target. With funds funneled through FHI, we would start the clinics and counseling center over again from the ground up, with new staff, new equipment and a new focus. Peer educators would be hired, one in each of the ten settlements, and they would be brought in to learn about health screenings, self-care, medical services available through the clinics, and counseling support. They would then share their knowledge and encouragement with others in their neighborhoods that could benefit from those same services.

It’s been a humbling experience over these past several weeks to be interviewing nationals, doctors and nurses, counselors, and support personnel that proclaim the love of God openly and desire to use their skills to help their own people in a significant work. I believe God has brought to us some wonderful people to help us in this task.

My mind swims with 38-and-a-half dozen little details for our launch. On Monday morning we’ll gather with the new staff for orientation. We’ll tell them about The Salvation Army, FHI will share their story, and we’ll show them around the as-yet thinly supplied clinic at Koki. They’ll spend the rest of the week learning how the clinic will operate to serve the community, and especially those most in need of the special services.

Giving a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name has been given a new meaning. And I’m humbled—so desperately humbled—that God has brought me here to play even this small part in being His hands to reach out in love to love the unlovable, to heal the sick, to bring hope to the hopeless.

7 responses

  1. Thanks again for another update. It is good to be able to pray specifically. Love you guys bunches and miss you lots!

    1. Thanks for checking in, Angie. Pray for this clinic project. We’ve got challenges, but it’s going to be a great outreach? Love you guys.

  2. Praying for this wonderful project. It is so challenging to select the staff and setup the procedures in a culture other than one’s own. But what an opportunity to minister the presence of Christ to so many. May God annoint you with wisdom and bless the decisions made to the glory of God.

    1. John, I appreciate your thoughts and prayers toward this project. It’s certainly something I would never have dreamed of doing, but as I’m learning and growing through this process, I’m discovering some exciting things. This has great potential to provide really important services for years to come. Even as we launch this five-year grant, I’m searching for sustainability. Trusting God for that.

  3. Beverly Peterson | Reply

    What a great opportunity you have to impact the sick and needy of PNG! I love projects…projects are good…with the right funding sources. Sustainability is important and I know you will figure it out cause God has called you to this task and will equip you. Praying for you and Sandy always! Will be in touch soon! Love & Prayers to you both.

    1. Thanks Bev. We always appreciate the prayers. Hope you guys are doing well. Tell Doug that fishing is really popular here. And you should see the size of fish they catch! 🙂

      1. Beverly Peterson

        Post pictures…maybe I can convince him to fly then! We are well and Doug got a fulltime position at Home Depot as Lead Generator (not the machine the man)!

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