Turbulent Surprises

Despite clearing my schedule of anything but getting ready for departure date……there were many pressing needs, mainly at the clinic.  One of our x-pat missionaries was critically ill.  You know you have reached that status, when 5 nurses are working on you!  Also when a Medical Evacuation flight is called.  This was my first time to be involved in a medical evacuation.  Honestly, I didn’t even know who the chief pilot was, who I should have called first……but the ball got rolling.  This was all on Wednesday when I went in to do my usually clinic hours.  Usually Michelle and I handle this together.  However, Ben stayed by.  We knew a man was coming to us with Dengue Fever, and continuous vomiting and muscles cramping.  I am just so grateful to both Ben and Michelle.  We worked continuously together on this patient until 9 p.m. that evening, whether it was direct patient care or making all the phone calls to insurance companies,  or email chats to our Dr. in America (yes, there went her good night of sleep), or all the details of organizing a flight out.  The flight ended up getting delayed until the following a.m. and the weight of this man loomed on us staff.  It was decided that we would keep him at the clinic and rotate staff through the night.  I was so grateful to Mandy for staying with me until 2 a.m.  We had wanted some “girl” time before our furlough! ; )   In the night our patient improved.  So much so that by the a.m. it was decided to call the Medevac off.

Then Friday around noon, I received a text from Ben.  Our patient was “critical” again.  Temp soring close to a 106.  B/P diastolic 10!!!!!  He was too sick to even come to the clinic.  Medevac back on.  This time the plane was ready to go.  So while Ben took off to do “home nursing”, I headed to the clinic to pull together all the logistics of it.  Calling the insurance company.  Getting together everything our nurse midwife, who would be making the flight, in order.  Communicating with the family, the pilots, etc. etc.  It was sweet relief to get this dedicated missionary man and his family on the plane, he was critically ill and we were concerned that he would not even make the flight.  We learned so much through this whole experience.  He did make it and recovered nicely, and is now serving back in Papua.  20 hours of clinic time……time to pack. 



Far, doesn’t seem far until you fly all day and are still in the same country.  However, everything about our departure went seamless.  Like planned.  We were pleasantly surprised to discover Mark and Lavone on  the same flight as ours out of Sentani.  Many of you will recall the stories about Mark, he was the one who  fell off the vine and had the traumatic leg wound. http://iwillgoruth.blogspot.com/2013/01/this-story-must-be-told.html and  http://iwillgoruth.blogspot.com/2013/01/update-on-mark-story-that-must-be-told.html  Mark has graduated from high school now.  So the time has come for his Mom and him to move back to the States.  Mark has healed amazingly well, despite the extensive injury.  I wish you all could have heard him at the recent band concert, featured in a drum piece.  It was that “bad” leg, that pounded out much of the rhythm, it was dynamic.  Mark is back to surfing and though he still has a slight limp…..he has not been slowed down by this challenge.  Mark’s hopes to become a pilot and follow in his late father’s footprints and become a missionary pilot.  No words had to be shared to sense the weight of Mark leaving. Even my boys were tuned into this.   Papua was his life and love.  He loved Papua, loved to surf, had so many friends and was respected by all.  This is where his Dad died.  We were so honored to have met him and his Mom.


In Jakarta our family split up, because we are too large to fit in one taxi.  In the airports they pull us to one side  to confirm all our passports and tickets, I wink at Darron and tell him, “We should have a few more…”!!!!  Andrew and I head to the orthodontics and Darron and the rest of the family head to the Alliance Guest House.  Andrew is comfortable explaining in Indonesian to the taxi driver how to get where we need to go.  He loves the city.  Before we join the rest of the family, we stop at Burger King and grab supper for everyone.  Yeah….junk food for super, everyone is happy and tired.


We shop the following morning, more to kill time then anything.  Again we split up.  We (4 out of 6) headed to “Grand Indonesia”, a mall as exquisite as it sounds.  Right outside it’s doors is a government housing project.  The contrast is too big to be comfortable.  Back to the airport by noon.  Our friend, Don from Bandung, is working the summer in Jakarta and meets us there.  We enjoy talking with him over A & W food.  Then we take our 1:15 minute flight to Singapore.  Hmmmm……we are thinking we should have pressed on the first night.  Oh well……living and learning.  Singapore airport greets us with soft carpets, lovely decor, light music and BEDS!  We sleep until 3:40 a.m. and then off for over 20 hours of flying.  Prior to departure but who should we meet?  The Stubb family (who were at the beach with us).http://iwillgoruth.blogspot.com/2013/04/35-for-weekend-in-paradise.html  They were waiting for standby tickets.  Susan and I always enjoy any brief encounter and this was just a special surprise.  They made it on our plane to Japan.




Now our family sits…..all in a row on a plane carrying over 500 passengers jetting across oceans. We are now on the flight from Japan to Michigan.  The video system is not working, which is a disappointment to 100’s of passengers.  The turbulence has been hard enough to make the flight attendants sit on the floor.  I think it is about time to convince some boys to curl up in a ball and try get some sleep.  It’s 4 a.m. in America right now.  It’s 4 p.m. for us.  Our clocks are about to go through a crazy time warp, that words cant explain. 


Oh Hold on…..the video system is working after 3 hours of malfunction.  It is the one time that our boys can watch unlimited amounts of videos and sleep whenever they want.  Perhaps that amazes or even disappoints you, but  fly this far with a large family (that I pray doesn’t get any larger) and it is amazing that our parenting style is full of turbulent surprises.


God Bless all of you for reading and praying us through another year in Papua.  I have NO DOUBT that your prayers sustain us and help us to thrive.  We are looking forward to meeting with many of you over the summer.


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