Saturday, 28 November 2009

Jingle all the way

The Myers family loves Christmas.  And I love that they love Christmas!  Walking into
 their home during this season is like walking into a winter wonderland... it is beautifully decorated with Christmas trees and snowmen and angels.

They also have quite a selection of holiday movies, from the classics like Miracle on 34th Street to some more recent productions such as The Santa Clause.  It is their tradition to try and watch each one during the Christmas season.

On Saturday evening, the Myers invited the "young people" over to kick off the Christmas movie marathon.  Becky 2, Erin, Rachel and Jordan, Riley who is one of our current volunteers, and I (glad that I still qualify, though I am the oldest of the group) all gathered at the Myers home.  Due to a malfunction with the original choice, we settled on "Jingle All the Way" with Arnold Schwarzenwhatever.  I had to google to see how to spell his name, so I am just going to leave it as that.  Funny to think that this guy is now the governor of California.  It was a merry evening of holiday cheer!

Graduation celebration

On Saturday, November 28th, Melanesia Nazarene Bible College held commencement exercises for the graduating class of 2009.  The theme for the program was from Isaiah 6:8, "Here I am, send me!"

I was in attendance to celebrate my friends Robert and Kauantz.  Robert had completed the 3 year certificate in ministry degree and Kauantz had finished the Kristen Wokmanmeri (Christian work man and woman) program.  What an amazing accomplishment for these two:  Robert who is mostly blind and Kauantz who had never attended school as a child.  They were so excited for this day!  I snuck to the line-up to take a couple of pictures for them.  Robert was dressed in a maroon shirt and graduation gown and cap.  Kauantz and her fellow classmates were dressed in beautiful green meriblauses that they had sewn as a part of their schooling.  And each uniform was topped off with a very bright smile.

The processional began to the words of "Here I Am, Lord," sung by the MNBC musicians.  Ushers lead the way with three flags:  Papua New Guinea, MNBC banner, and the Christian flag.  Bible College faculty followed behind.  And finally came the honored guests, the 43 members of the graduating class.

The ceremony opened with the PNG national anthem and a word of prayer.  Dr. Geneva Silvernail, president of MNBC, brought greetings from around the world:  Dr. Jerry Porter, General Superintendent; Verne Ward, Asia-Pacific Regional Director; Louie Bustle, Global Mission Director; and Dr. E. Lebron Fairbanks, Education Commissioner.  Commenting on the theme, Dr. Porter wrote, "'Here I am, Lord' is the testimony of our hearts at each stage of the journey.  That was your prayer as you came to MNBC and it is your prayer as you depart.  It is amazing what can happen when God finds a fully consecrated, totally available, radically obedient partner."  Reverend Harmon and Cindy Schmelzenbach gave the graduation address.  They expanding on the Isaiah 6 passage and challenged the graduates to commit their lives in service to God, to their spouses and families, and their ministries.

Following the formal presentations, the students lined up to receive their degrees.  Faculty directors from each of the programs presented the candidates.  Dr. Silvernail and Reverend Peter Kui, the MNBC Academic Dean, presented the graduates with their degrees:  9 received a Diploma in Ministry, 22 received the Certificate in Ministry, and 12 received Kristen Wokmanmeri certificate.  Together the graduates moved their tassels from right to left to signify their accomplishment.  In Pidgin this is called "tanim rop" or literally "turn the rope."  The ceremony concluded with the congregation singing "Mi Tok, 'Yes, God, Yes'" or "Yes, Lord, Yes" and the closing benediction.

It was a beautiful celebration in honor of these new pastors who will be taking the light of the Gospel across Papua New Guinea.  I want to share with you the words to the song "Here I Am, Lord" which was written by Daniel Schutte.  It is a special one for us missionaries, too.

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
My hand will save.

Here I am, Lord.  Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

I, who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them?
Who shall I send?

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people's pain.
I have wept for love of them.
They turn away.

I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my words to them.
Whom shall I send?

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will send the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them.
My hand will save.

Thursday, 26 November 2009


My first Thanksgiving at Kudjip was a very happy one.  And actually, I had two!  But I shall get to that in a minute.  

The day started out as usual, because the 4th Thursday in November is just a regular ole day in PNG.  Good for me that Thursday is my usual afternoon off, so after rounds I headed home to bake some pies for our holiday dinner.  The pie crust was made from scratch using Aunt Naomi's recipe with a few adjustments because of a limited supply of shortening (you cannot buy shortening except at another mission station 5 hours down the road).  Taste tested and approved, it turned out well despite the substitutions.  The pumpkin filling was also from scratch with pumpkin that had been previously cooked, pureed, and then stored in the freezer.  Oh how I love the smell of Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving evening I joined the Bennett and Schmelzenbach families at the Myers' home.  Jeff carved the turkey which he discovered was actually a very large chicken.  Susan finished making the gravy and set her corn casserole on the table.  There was stuffing and mashed potatoes and green beans and veggies and rolls and cranberry sauce and all sorts of wonderful dishes.  The kids helped me with one of
 my Hoke family traditions... little paper cups of candies and nuts that set at each place and
 serve as an appetizer for the meal to come.  Candy cup fixins came in a care package from my parents.  For dessert we
 had pecan and pumpkin pies with a spoon full of Dream Whip.  Eleven of us sat around the table and gave thanks by singing the Doxology.  We shared Thanksgiving stories and traditions, talked about where our families back home would be celebrating the holiday.  It was a wonderful time of feasting and fellowship!

Thanksgiving part 2 was the following day.  The Radcliffes invited me and the Riggins family and Jordan and Rachel Thompson to join them for dinner.  The main course was chicken and potatoes and gravy and stuffing.  Kathy made sweet potato casserole using "carrot kaukau" or carrot sweet potatoes.  Most of the kaukau grown in the highlands are more of a yellow color, but you can find the 
orange ones at the market if you look.  My contribution was green bean casserole, topped with french fried onions which were also from Mom and Dad's care package.  What a treat!  There were a variety of pies to choose from for dessert.  Jill's birthday is on Sunday, so we added candles to the pumpkin pie and sang her the 5 Kudjip birthday songs.  It was another wonderful meal!  

A few days before the holiday, Kathy had given each family pieces of construction paper.  We wrote some of our thanksgivings on strips of paper.  The papers were placed in a "Blessing Bag."  We passed the bag around the circle and took turns reading what was written and adding links to the chain.  Looking at the finished product stretched across the room, it is obvious that we are so blessed!

And finally, Thanksgiving really would not be complete without a game of football.  Jordan is from Illinois and is a big Bears fan.  His dad recently mailed the Bears vs. the Browns, so we all watched a few quarters before heading home to crash.

So what am I thankful for on this special day?  There are not enough strips of construction paper to hold all of my thanksgivings, but here are a few of them...
- my family back home, their love and support from so far away
- a new niece or nephew on the way and that I will get to meet her or him next summer
- Skype and email and cell phones that allow me to keep in touch
- the prayers of supporters, for supporting churches
- forever friends
- my Kudjip family, nieces and nephews
- a great roomie who will be back soon
- my boys Brutus and Pete, that they keep me company when my roomie is gone
- for Becky 2 and Erin, it is nice to have some other 10 toea girls about my age
- the pivilege of serving in PNG
- volunteers who give of themselves in service
- the nurses, CHWs, clerks, and other wonderful PNG colleagues
- the beautiful new hospital
- PNG friends:  Meti, Robert and Kauantz, Tua, and others
- God's love, His faithfulness, His promises
- for Jesus and the gift of His life
- salvation by grace and not by works
- and so many more!

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
~ Psalm 100

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

How to give

On occasion someone will ask me, "Steph, how can I give to your work in PNG?"  The purpose of this blog entry is to make updated information easily available for interested supporters.  

Here are a couple of ideas in response to that question...

The number one way that you can be involved is by praying for me and the ministry of Kudjip Hospital.  Missionaries could not do their jobs without the prayers of family, friends, and churches back home.  And I certainly feel those prayers!  If you are interested in becoming a prayer partner and would like to receive occasional updates with specific requests, send me an email:

Secondly, there are a couple of PNG projects that are sponsored through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries.

The NCM Kudjip Nazarene Hospital Project helps to support operational costs, infrastructure development, and equipment.  Gifts to this fund help us maintain an excellent quality of care for our patients, and thus bring the love of Jesus to the sick and hurting of PNG.

I recently wrote about the difficulties we are having with power/electricity in my blog entry "Let there be light."  NCM is currently raising money to help rebuild the energy infrastructure of the hospital.  For more information, follow this link.

The Nazarene Hospital Foundation is another non-profit organization that was established to be an ongoing support to the hospital.  And the really cool thing is that 100% of the donations are used for this purpose (there is no overhead).  The Foundation sends several containers of much needed medications, supplies, and equipment to PNG each year.  I so appreciate all that they do!  If you are interested in making a contribution, here is the donations web page.

You can also send items on the "Hospital Needs" list directly to the Foundation.  That way you only have to pay for shipping to Oregon rather than all the way to PNG... quite a savings!  If you are interested in sending items to the Foundation or directly to the hospital, please check out the attached file.  You can also send an email to Judy Bennett, my fellow missionary who manages the hospital store room.  She can let you know what we need most and how best to send it.  Contact her at this email:

Finally, here are a couple of ways to give specifically to my work in PNG.

Deputation fund helps to pay for some of my needs on the field.  So far this year, deputation has provided for transportation to and from town, stamps to send mail, a new refrigerator when our old one broke, internet access, and for continuing medical education.  Follow this link to give online.

My "work of fund" is similar to a deputation fund, but with a little more flexibility.  This year I was able to use this account to help Robert travel to see an eye specialist.  My hope is to continue using this fund to support PNGians and their ministries.  To give to this account, send your contribution to:  General Treasurer Church of the Nazarene, 17001 Prairie Star Parkway, Lenexa, KS, 66220.  Please mark in the memo line of your check, "work of Stephanie Doenges" (this part is very important to make sure it gets to the correct place).  Drop me an email if you send in a donation, and I will send updates on how your gift is being used to help people in PNG.

*Donations to all of the above are tax-deductible.*

Thanks so much for your interest in my work and the ministry of Kudjip Nazarene Hospital in PNG!  And thank you especially for your prayers.  You are touching more lives than you will ever know.  May the Lord bless you many times in return.

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
~ 2 Corinthians 9:7

PNG home for the holidays

"I'll be home for Christmas" has new meaning for me. Especially the "if only in your dreams" part! I am looking forward to taking part in the holiday celebrations at Kudjip. I'll be posting photos throughout the season, so check back soon.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Christmas bilas

"Bilas" is a Pidgin word that means something like "decoration."

On Sunday, I hosted my first ever Christmas Bilas Party to prepare for the upcoming holiday.  I say "first ever" because I have a feeling this might become an annual tradition.  Erin and Becky 2 joined me, along with Rebekka who is a Swiss medical student currently volunteering at Kudjip.  Now before any of you who firmly believe that Christmas decorations should remain in storage until after Thanksgiving raise an eyebrow, we did have to work around the call schedule of four docs.  A bit of a challenge to be sure.

So we gathered together on Sunday afternoon for a bit of holiday fun.  i-Tunes filled the air with random Christmas songs and carols.  Erin assembled and lighted the tree that once graced my mother's living room.  It is just about too tall for my house.  Almost, but not quite.  Becky 2 a.k.a. "longpela meri" (long woman) could actually reach the top to place the star.  Rebekka arranged the nativity on top of the wood burning stove.  We all sorted through the my tub and my roomie's boxes to adorn the tree.  The ornaments and other decorations come from all over the world, as I have been collecting them on my travels over the last few years... a tree skirt from India, Santa from Poland, Nutcracker from Germany, the "12 Days of Christmas" from Australia, a nativity from PNG, ornaments from Afghanistan and Peru and Japan.  There were some fun discoveries.  Just like Christmas!

Going with the theme, we had an international menu for dinner including Malaysian chicken curry and Becky's Sweedish chocolate balls.  The power faded for a few minutes and we enjoyed sharing Christmas traditions and memories by candlelight.  When the electricity returned, we concluded the evening by watching one of Erin's favorite Christmas traditions... Emmett the Otter's Jug-band Christmas.

It was a fun afternoon and a special time.  Thanks, girls, for sharing it with me!

For more pictures of the Kudjip holiday season, take a peek at my photo album "PNG home for the holidays."

"On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me...
Twelve parrots prattling,
Eleven numbats nagging,
Ten lizards leaping,
Nine wombats working,
Eight possums playing,
Seven koalas climbing,
Six platypuses,
Five kangaroos,
Four kookaburras,
Three jabirus,
Two pink galahs,
And an emu up a gum tree."

Friday, 20 November 2009

Christmas Bilas Party

Start:     Nov 22, '09
"Bilas" is a Pidgin word that means "decoration." Becky 2 and Erin will be joining me to decorate my house for Christmas!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Fun on A

If you walk onto A ward this week and take a right at the nurses station, you will find what I have designated as "abscess aisle."  There are about six kiddos ages 3-6 along this row who have infections of various sorts:  abscess, pyomyositis, osteomyelitis, etc.

My cousin uncle Sonny and his granddaughter Addie recently sent me a care package that contained some match box cars.  So today I had a little fun during rounds.  Cars were soon zooming along beds, across the floor, up IV poles, and down bandaged extremities.  The kids were just tooooo cute, playing with their new toys and posing for pictures!  For once the doctor brought smiles instead of tears :).

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Baby DAMI is due :)

Start:     Jun 14, '10
I'm going to be an aunt, for real!

Auntie Steph

"I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life."
~ Luke 18:29-31

This is one of my favorite verses :).  It is a promise to me that if I would follow the call missions, the Lord would give me a home and family wherever I would go.  He fulfilled this promise the moment I became a missionary!  Upon arriving in PNG, I immediately became "Aunt Steph" to... let me count them... 1, 2, 3... 7, 8... somewhere around 12 nieces and nephews ranging from ages 2 to 18, and one more who has been born since.  I have dozens of other nieces and nephews scattered across the globe.

I love being an aunt:  movie nights, babysitting, camp fire cookouts, vacations, piano lessons, tree houses, new puppies, birthday and holiday celebrations, and just growing up.  My two current and most excellent piano students are Alison Dooley (pictured) and Lydia Radcliffe.  Being an aunt is really fun stuff.  And it is a privilege to be able to fill in for all the aunts and uncles back home when they can't be here in person.

I recently received some very exciting news from my sister and her husband.  Sis is pregnant and expecting their first child!  One of the neatest things is that I was already planning a trip home next summer to attend the wedding of my long time friend Sarah.  Sis is due just 5 days before the wedding!  God's timing could not have been more perfect.  I'm so excited that I will be able to meet my new niece or nephew before she or he is walking and talking!  Here is a picture of the very cute little blob...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Steph and the Myers family go to Madang

Start:     Dec 9, '09
End:     Dec 16, '09
Wohoo... vacation in tropical paradise!!! Thanks to the Myers fam for letting me tag along :).

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

MNBC Graduation

Start:     Nov 28, '09
Location:     Melanesia Nazarene Bible College
Robert Makil graduates :).

Christmas Day

Start:     Dec 25, '09
"I'll be home for Chirstmas... if only in my dreams" will have new meaning for me this year! Though far away from my birth home, I look forward to experiencing the traditions of my Kudjip home.

Kudjip Christmas Party

Start:     Dec 19, '09
Location:     College of Nursing
The annual missionary bung to celebrate THE Holiday will be on December 19th. This year's theme: Christmas at the stable.

Monday, 9 November 2009


Start:     Nov 26, '09
Though not officially observed in PNG, we American missionaries still celebrate this special part of our home culture.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Grand opening

Today is Monday, November 9th and the grand opening of the new and improved Kudjip Hospital!  But I have a little catching you up to do between our change of address and the grand opening...

Transferring inpatients last Wednesday was only the beginning.  Over the next few days, hospital staff spent countless hours getting things ready so that we could open our doors to the public.  Hundreds of medicine bottles were sorted in the pharmacy, suture and instruments and bandages were organized in the operation theater and central supply, blood pressure cuffs and x-ray view boxes were repaired and hung throughout the outpatient department.  Wow, what a job.  And WOW, we have a great team.
On Saturday, students and maintenance men and nurses and cleaners and missionaries all gathered together for a mumu, PNG's version of a BBQ.  Two pigs, an unknown number of chickens, and mountains of kaukau (sweet potato) and kumu (greens) were roasted over the red hot coals.  The missionaries contributed the cakes for dessert.  Finger lickin' good stuff.  No... better thank KFC.  It was a wonderful time of celebrating together!
So today was the big day.  We met together at 7:30 for Monday morning chapel.  After a time of prayer and devotion, the docs rounded on their wards and other staff scurried to make last minute preparations.  We finished rounds and headed over to the Outpatient Department (OPD) where quite a crowd was waiting to be seen.  Excitement of new hospital + being closed for a few days = VERY busy day.  As we worked through the morning, things went fairly smoothly.  Nurses efficiently screened the patients and the clerks kept the line organized and flowing.  Patients learned where to go for labs and x-ray and medications.  I don't think we lost any in the process!  I did a couple of procedures in the new ER.  Once I found what I was looking for, I really liked the set up in there!
Of course there will be bumps along the way.  The most obvious flaw so far is the noise in the OPD.  It is made of cement block and the walls between the exam rooms do not go completely to the ceiling, so the sound resounds like you would not believe.  You can easily hear the conversation in the next room.  At times I found it difficult to talk with patients or listen with my stethoscope.  And if you happen to have a screaming child in your room... be sure and protect those ear drums!
Overall the day seemed to go quite well.  Thank the Lord.  And thanks to all of you for your prayers!

I've added some more pictures from the last couple of days... click here to browse through the photo album.

Grand opening

Start:     Nov 9, '09
Location:     New hospital
The new ER and Outpatient Department open to the public!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Change of address

More than two years after the project began and about nine months after the dedication, we have finally changed addresses.  The address is actually still the same P.O. Box in Mt. Hagen, but we have now officially moved across the road to our brand new beautiful hospital!!!

The morning began with usual ward rounds, but you could feel the excitement in the air.  We finished our rows of patients around 9 AM and orders were written for transfer to the new hospital.  

Each patient was given a name band designating where he or she was coming from and going to.  The watchmen gathered up bedding and other belongings.  A nurse escorted patients to the new ward.  Missionaries, chaplains, nursing students, cleaners, off-duty nurses and other hospital staff followed behind carrying beds, rolling IV poles and oxygen concentrators, and toting all of the other supplies needed for patient care.  By 11:30 AM, every patient had been moved to the new facility, vital signs were taken, and the nurses began passing out medications.

What a fun day!  The moving process was amazingly smooth with just a wee bit of chaos.  Wow, we have a great team here.  Patients and staff were easily settled into their new hospital home.  The wards are full of windows that make them bright and airy.  Everything is so clean, for now!  It is a wonderful improvement over the dark and dinginess of the old buildings.  There is plenty of space, and even some extra beds.  The staff were full of smiles, and I am pretty sure the patients had fun too.

There was one old papa who was particularly cute.  The nurses were convinced that he kept making up illnesses so that he could stay in the hospital long enough to be moved to the new building.  He gave me a "thumbs up" for his picture.  I must admit, he looks pretty good to me!  I wonder if he will be feeling better tomorrow, of if he might like to stay around for a bit?
For more pictures of this exciting time, check out my photo album of the new and improved Kudjip Haussik!

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
~ 2 Peter 3:13

Monday, 2 November 2009

New and improved Kudjip Haussik

to the new and improved hospital!!!

November 4-7, 2009 we moved from the old and falling down hospital to a new and beautiful facility. Here are some shots of the moving events :).

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Stephoscope: November 2009 Newsletter

Dear readers,
Here is the November 2009 edition of "Stephoscope," my somewhat monthly newsletter.  Most of the items you find in the newsletter are from my blog, so if you keep up with the blog there probably won't be anything new.  But there it is just in case!
~ steph

Dedication prayer walk

It is finished.  Well, not quite... but close enough.  In just three days we will begin the long awaited move to the new and improved Kudjip Hospital.  What an exciting time!  But there are likely to be growing pains as well.  Your prayers are especially appreciated during these next few days and weeks of transition.

This evening we had a "prayer walk" of dedication.  The missionaries and national workers gathered in the new outpatient department and began by giving thanks to the Lord for this wonderful gift.  Our path took us through the wards, the operation theater, and the emergency room.  We prayed for patients who would occupy each bed, and for the staff who would care for them:  doctors, HEOs, nurses, community health workers, x-ray and lab techs, pharmacy, cooks, cleaners, maintenance, and chaplains.  We prayed for unity among the staff, for our supporters around the world, the chaplain ministry, and the spiritual battles that will be fought here.  Dr. Bill closed by dedicating the building and our lives to Christ and in service to His Kingdom.

In Isaiah 58, the Lord instructs the people of Israel about "true fasting."
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
To loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
The your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say:  Here am I.
'If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called the Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.'"

This is my prayer for the new hospital, and for the staff, and for me... that we will spend ourselves on behalf of the people of Papua New Guinea, that we will be the repairers of broken bodies and spirits and families, and that God will use us to restore people to Him.  Soli Deo Gloria.