Snapshots from Abroad: 2 Islands, Same Purpose

From the crew

April 24, 2018

Shortly after retiring from practice in Internal Medicine in Minnesota, John Raines volunteered with YWAM Ships Kona in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

“I found YWAM Kona because I was looking for a medical volunteer position in PNG. Using Google, I first found the Australian YWAM ship, the m/v YWAM PNG, [but] they did not have an opening at the time I wanted to go.”

For John, it was a chance to see another part of the world that he wanted to see and what better way to see it and connect with the people than as a volunteer in his profession.

In PNG, he was able to spent time on the islands of Karkar and Bagabag in early 2016. Karkar’s population is over 60,000 while Bagabag is a more isolated island with a population of about 5,000.

Karkar is a more developed, more populous island with a circumferential road. During their time there, the team would load their equipment onto a truck and drive to the location where they would set up clinics for the day. Karkar has a hospital which focuses especially on tuberculosis.

Bagabag has no roads and YWAM Ships Kona’s vessel, the m/v Pacific Link, was anchored in one really well protected bay. On Bagabag, they would travel by boat (similar like a boston whaler) to the village where we had their clinics each day.

On both islands, if they finished early they might get back to the boat in time to snorkel in the late afternoon.

All of John’s meals were eaten on board the m/v Pacific Link as well as his sleeping arrangements. The Discipleship Training School (DTS) students sometimes slept at the villages. In the evenings, there was always time for devotions.

“At the time I was there, the physician who usually worked there had returned to Germany for more training. The island had midlevel providers who staff the hospital and local clinics around the island.

I, like many physicians now, was very burnt out. I found my time in PNG was a great relief from those frustrations. It was a wonderful way to experience the country, meet people and learn about health care in this part of the world.” 

By Jaime Gomez
Port YWAM Kona Communications Staff

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