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When Real Life Sets In

Tags: Aviation, Papua New Guinea
POSTED ON Mar 07, 2019

“I was dancing when you came!”

Amdu villagers joyously greeted church planters Benjamin and Missy Hatton as they arrived back from a break in the USA. The day brimmed with heartwarming reunions and lots of “while you were gone” stories.

But as the day wore on toward nightfall, Benjamin and Missy and their four kids had to get down to the nitty gritties of life:

  • Clean the filthy house just so they could go to bed that night.
  • Wish that the generator would work so they could run the shop vac … sigh!
  • Kill all the cockroaches … hopefully ... and the lizard in the kitchen sink … yuk.
  • Start up the solar electric system to run the household.
  • Test the running water system.
  • Make sure the fridge and freezer are getting cold.

In the days after, God gave great wisdom to repair the generator and to rig up a smart phone to replace the defunct Wi-Fi router linking the teams’ computers.

With systems in order, Missy started moving ahead with homeschooling and Bible translation. Benjamin started writing Bible lessons and announced plans to restart the advanced literacy class. Everything seemed on track to culminate in teaching the gospel before the end of 2019.

And then you know what happens just when things seem to be clicking along, right?? Reality hits to remind us we’re not in control. God is. And He wants to display His grace in striking ways.

Could it be … appendicitis? Hatton’s son Tiernan started having tell-tale symptoms. It’s one thing when you are a half hour or less from an emergency room. But Amdu is the most westerly village that Ethnos360 Aviation flies to – almost two hours from the aviation center.

Thank God, the SAT phone was working. Benjamin & Missy called the mission doctor there in Papua New Guinea. Nothing was conclusive, so they all agreed to talk again when the doctor got home from church. After he hung up, Dr. Bud realized the narrowness of the window of opportunity. The weather could – and usually does – close in quickly in PNG. If it really was appendicitis, waiting could mean tragedy.

So Dr. Bud acted quickly, asking the aviation team to prepare a Kodiak for the flight to Amdu. By the time he and the Hattons reconnected by phone, pilot Josh Verdonck was already halfway to the village. Meanwhile, the aviation and medical teams were already prepping a second Kodiak for medevac to Australia – just in case.

As expected, the weather closed in after Missy and two of the boys had taken off from Amdu. Thankfully, those same clouds created great conditions for email and SAT communication between Benjamin and Missy as they made decisions. “The SAT phone worked flawlessly which hardly ever happens.”

Literacy = preparation to read God's Word

While Benjamin continued writing lessons in the village, he could rest assured that Tiernan got great care in Australia and wouldn’t have to worry about appendicitis again!

Missy and the boys are back in Amdu village again. “We are here, in enemy territory,” says Benjamin, “but by God's grace we're able to … remain encouraged, thanks to the fact that we are not here working alone.” God’s provision of aviation means they can survive in such an isolated location for the long haul of church planting.

“Thanks to all of you who have made this happen and are standing with us till it is completed,” writes Benjamin. As you give to Missionary Flight Sponsorship, you are part of keeping missionaries working and keeping aircraft flying and affordable! Pray for the Hattons and the Amdu team to attain their goal of planting a church.