Report by Jason Russell of Word for the World Baptist Ministries
Equipment was shutting down, breaking down, and the rain was coming down! On my return from Guam in April 2012, we were excited because the tractor part that we had waited for since February had arrived. With the tractor down, our means of bringing in heavy supplies like gas bottles, petrol, diesel and building materials was on hold. The weather looked like it was going to break loose any day, which would pin us down on this side of the flood, unable to get supplies to Wipim for ‘Who’ knows how long. We have been tested and tried like this before so this was not new, but a reminder in the lesson of “trust.”
With great anticipation, my son Titus and I replaced the malfunctioning engine part. We had made plans to go down the road on Friday in the tractor to pick up our supplies. As an added bonus we would hire our tractor to the Cell Phone Techos, and the tractor hire would pay for the dinghy hire to get our things up the river. It was a great plan, but everything changed on Thursday when the new part did not fix the problem! “Now what do we do?”
I phoned the technicians in the United States and they recommended another part. This would be another US$150.00, plus some!!! Shipping from the States took two months last time, but we didn’t have two months of supplies left. I called a tractor dealer in Cairns, Australia, – only a 90 minute flight away, and they could get the part from Sydney. We worked out a plan to courier it, but I made the mistake of giving them our P.O. Box instead of a physical address for delivery. Then another error. I gave them my phone number instead of the pastor in Port Moresby who would receive the part and send it on to the closest town, Daru.
To add insult to injury, our phone network in Wipim went down. It was down for a whole week without any way to communicate with Sydney, the pastor in Port Moresby, Pastor Holmes (who was organizing the shipment of our 6 months’ supply of bulk groceries), or the cell phone company to let them know our network was down!
“What do we do now?”
Normally, we would use our back-up Satellite phone, but the company went bankrupt recently. If these two failed we would use the HF-radio to communicate with MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship), but our cable had unresolved issues. We were basically at the end of our rope. Too often we look to the Lord as our last resort.
Psalms 71:3 “Be thou my strong habitation, .... for thou art my rock and my fortress.”
We had been praying the whole time, but now was definitely a good time for God to work. Psalms 119:126 “It is time for thee, LORD, to work:”
Monday we prayed that somehow God would send MAF on Tuesday. They didn’t usually come on Tuesdays and there was no reason for them to come. There certainly was no earthly way to communicate with them that we needed help.
On Tuesday in our family devotions, we prayed again that somehow the plane would come. At breakfast, Titus prayed again that somehow God would tell the pilots, whose base was 250 miles away, that we needed them to come. The weather had been bad, and MAF rarely came if it was cloudy and rainy like the past week. There had been a deluge of rain; it was flooding in every direction. We were like a lily pad in the middle of a big lake.
￼After breakfast we all went to work doing our Tuesday chores. I was working under the house with the Bible School men, Ana was grading school work, and the children were doing more work for Ana to grade. Then suddenly, we heard the drone of a plane in the distance. We all got excited! The children started running around, and I even stopped what I was doing, forgetting the task at hand. The Bible School men had no idea why the Russell family was so excited. Our prayers had just been answered in an amazing way! (Shame on our disbelief!) We could not think of a reason for them to come, except that God moved them to! This should go into “The Book of Awesome!”
I ran upstairs and grabbed my backpack, check-book and bankcard, etc., with the hope that they would take me to Daru and bring me back the same day.
As soon as the plane landed and the engine turned off, I approached the plane and asked bluntly, “Why are you here?” By the look of surprise on the pilots’ faces I realized that the question sounded a bit rude. It probably sounded like, “What are you doing here, get out of here, we don’t want you!”, while actually, we were excited because they were an answer to our prayers!
Captain Clint told us that he was checking in a pilot on our air strip (Brad Ballin), who was one of the new pilot families to man their old Kawito base in the Middle Fly district.
This was even greater news to us because MAF had not had a pilot based in Kawito for over six years! Although the Western Province is the largest, it is also the least densely populated. For most of our area the only way to get around is either on foot or plane. The plane is much more desirable, especially in a medical emergency! This is an amazing step of faith for MAF to make. It does not make much sense financially, but is paramount for ministry.
After that exciting Tuesday, my children commented on how they saw God work. The two youngest drew pictures of airplanes or chickens eating. Titus said, “The pilots talked together and decided to take Dad to and back from Daru. This is another lesson how God shall supply all your needs. Daughter Ruth added, “Dad hopped on the plane to Daru and shopped a little. When he came back he brought our supplies that we needed badly; such as the chicken feed and flour. We were almost out of flour and bread and butter. He also brought along some sweets.”
Libby finished off; “Our little bush station is placed in the middle of nowhere, and there are few pilots or planes in our corner of “nowhere.” When we do receive a visit, it is usually on a Wednesday. But this Tuesday, just when our situation was waxing sober, God—our loving Heavenly Father, Giver of all good and perfect gifts—granted us our hearts’ desire.”
We are so grateful to our great God, “...Who does hear and answer prayer.” His greatness is magnified in that He is able to hear the prayers of His children, and answer that prayer through the submissiveness of another.
MAF probably had this day planned for weeks, but we didn’t know it. God in His sovereignty does all things well!
Mark 7:37 “and were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well:....”