By The Rev’d Dr John Deane
Executive Director, Anglican Board of Missions
As we think about the sacrifices made for the people they loved by the New Guinea Martyrs – 80 years ago this year – our thoughts may turn to what their priorities might be if they were alive today.
As nurses, teachers, priests and administrators, I believe that they would be horrified at the fact that the people of modern Papua New Guinea are among those with the least access to clean water in the world. And the already disastrous impact of this situation on the health of Papua New Guineans is further heightened at this time when COVID-19 is still silently killing or debilitating so many.
The Martyrs would have been passionate in their response and committed to do something about it.
Fortunately, the indigenous church they served and helped to build up, has a widely-networked health system which, with funds from our Australian church supporters, is committed to providing clean water access and hygiene training to communities, schools and health centres in the remote rural areas they serve. With new rainwater tanks, people are less likely to use dirty water for daily drinking and handwashing needs.
Simon, a Community Health Worker in charge of the remote Topura Community Health Post in Dogura Diocese, says this about the water problem… “Water is really a problem in our community especially during dry season.” With a population of 600-700 people, the villagers obtain their drinking water from a creek which collects rubbish and becomes muddy when it rains. However, following installation of a 5000-litre rainwater tank at the health post, Simon can say with gratitude, “Now that the tank is installed, every patient that enters the health post [about 100 each month] has access to clean drinking water and daily washing of hands”.
Your generous support will help us to help the church in Papua New Guinea to provide rainwater tanks to many more villages, health centres and schools, thus reducing the burden of waterborne diseases, which hit small children particularly hard. It will also provide a means of improving hand hygiene and will contribute to stopping the spread of other diseases such as COVID-19.
All gifts to this appeal over $2 are tax deductible.
Please give generously to this year’s Martyrs Appeal.
The Martyrs Day Evensong will be held at St Cuthbert’s Prospect on Friday, 2 September at 6 pm. The ABM’s Executive Director, the Rev’d Dr. John Deane will be the preacher.
It will be followed by a supper, of which all are welcome.
There will also be an ABM Supporters Morning Tea with The Rev’d John Deane on Saturday 3 September at St Saviour’s Glen Osmond at 10.30 am and an afternoon tea for ABM Supporters at 2 pm on the Saturday September at St Margaret’s, McLaren Vale.