May 01, 2012

I have some new friends I would like to introduce.  Esther and Wes have been serving in the interior of Papua for many years.  David has flown into their village several times, and recently they spent some time in Sentani at the MAF guest house and we were able to get to know them a bit.

David with Wes and Esther in the village of Mamit
Wes is a bit of a legend around here, as his dad was one of two missionaries who were killed by cannibals in 1968 while trying to reach the remote Yali people.  Their story is told in the book Lords of the Earth by Don Richardson.
Wes (right) and MAF pilot Mike Brown look down the Mamit airstrip

In the village of Mamit, Wes teaches at the Bible school and Esther works with the children of the Bible school students.  They told us of how discouraging their work can be at times.  The older grandma and grandpa generation can read, but many of the younger generation are illiterate.  The education system in the interior regions is inadequate at best, with many schools opening for only a week each semester.  Students *advance* through the school system without having spent much time in the school, and many kids lack a basic knowledge of reading and math.

Esther is trying to at least give the kids of the Bible school students the ability to read.  They also provide basic medical care for the people of their village, and Wes is involved in keeping the hydroelectric generator going. Through it all, they try to live out a faithful Christian witness before the Yali people.  Even though Christianity has been in this area of Papua for a while, Wes says, "The Gospel has to impact each generation."

Wes and Esther live a very simple life. No fridge, no internet, a limited diet.  They eat mostly what the locals eat (yams and greens), supplemented with rice and noodles, and eggs when they can get them.  Esther talks about eggs like they are gold, and she says if they have them, she and Wes will share an egg a day, and that gives them an extra boost for their work.

I am humbled by Wes and Esther.  Their humility, their faith, their sense of humor in the face of daunting living conditions is a testimony to those around them.  After hearing about the situation in Mamit, I was ready to head back with them and join them in their work!  But before I could start packing my bag, David reminded me that we are here in Sentani, to provide support for Wes and Esther.  Without the MAF plane, they would not get the supplies they need, their mail, their eggs, so many things.

After our visit, Esther sent me a sweet letter of encouragement, with pictures of people in their village who have been helped by David and the MAF plane.  She listed some different things that came in via MAF:

*Much needed whiteboard ink so the kids can learn to read
*Asthma medicine for one of the Bible school students
*Glue for cut and paste
*New shirts to replace the rags the children wear
*Bar and laundry soap, so the families can avoid scabies
*Vitamins for women, to keep them alive and families intact

What a blessing it is to serve people like Wes and Esther!

1 comment:

Eliora said...

it's just so nice to read ur writing about Mamit, especially Wes and Esther :) They're such a wonderful Christian who live their life as a living testimony to others.
i'm involved in a teachers college on a university. we're all scholarship students and we have to attend a placement after we graduate. This year placement announcement already done, and for the first time our university will help to open a school in Mamit and they sent (as i know so far) 3 teachers there.
I hope Wes and Esther will be happy to have them :)