31 May 2012
I would like to share an experience that I had that has really strengthened me as a person and strengthened my testimony of the Gospel. Well when we got into Daru on Wednesday and the next day we woke up at 3am in the morning to get ready to leave to Sogere which is 7 hours across open sea up the Fly River (The biggest river in PNG). We hopped into this speed boat that we hired at 5:30am and departed the wharf. The speed boat that we were on was 400 horse-power so our trip would be a little shorter. We made our way up the fly and at around 9:30am we hit a sandbank in open sea and got stuck there for about an hour and a half. We finally got out and continued our journey but 10 minutes on we found out that the boat was leaking and started to quickly catch water. We headed for the nearest island called Abaura and anchored there and got in the water and made it to shore. We were stuck there for about 5 hours while the crew tried to sort out the problem. That plus the tide had gone out leaving the boat beached on sand. At 3pm, the missionaries based in Sogere along with one of the members responded to our call and came in a boat.
My companion, Elder Seumanutafa (Elder Seu), and I agreed to stay behind with one of the Church leaders in Daru while President Fata, two church leaders and two other missionaries went on to Sogere. We were told that 3 rescue boats would come from Daru to pick us up and we would join President and the rest. They left and Elder Seu and I fell asleep on the boat waiting with the hope that the tide would come in so we could get out to sea. When we woke up it was 11:35pm we found out that the boats did not leave because the sea was too rough. We forgot about it and waited for the tide to slowly come in and jumped in the water still in our whites and pushed the boat. We finally managed to escape and started to power off into open water when we realised that the boat started to leak and take in heaps of water. The skipper directed the boat back towards the island but further down from where we had previously anchored. It was so dark that we had to use the boat spotlight to safely guide us. We anchored about 15m from shore and the boat started to rock back and forth because of the rough waves which started to get higher each time. It was also dangerous because there were sharp logs and branches all along the shore. We were told to jump off the boat and swim to shore because the boat might flip over so Elder Seu and I did. We made it to shore and sat on a log near shore. We had a lifejackets on which helped to keep us warm. We both sat and looked down and wondered, “Why is this happening to us? But we remembered that all things happen for a reason. Realising that the tide was coming in fast, we later moved further up onto land and found a spot to sleep on some broken branches and twigs. We had no fire, no food, no water, no coverage and all throughout the night it was cold and windy and being wet from the sea didn't help. The crew told us that we would look for help in the morning. That was the most uncomfortable sleep we had ever had. The fact that we were wet didn’t help keep us warm throughout the night and our backs were hurting from the pieces of twigs and branches. We woke up at 5:30 and walked 3 hours to the village down the coast. We managed to get some water and food then made our way back to the spot where boat was. At around 10:30am, President Fata arrived and came and hugged us. They were worried why we didn't make it. Then we saw the boat and it had a massive hole in it from being smashed by a log and the inside was all smashed as well. We made it back to Daru safely at 2pm in the arvo.
The principle that I learnt was Adversity. Although we were in a serious situation and we were annoyed, Elder Seu and I tried to remain calm and overcome the situation. We prayed that Heavenly Father would deliver safely to the others but it did not happen. We later realised that the Lord wanted us to experience a trial and overcome it. The night was cold and we had to sleep close together to keep warm but the biggest blessing was that we had made it safely to shore and safe and sound. It has really opened our eyes and given us something to remember for the rest of our lives. I am so thankful for having a great companion. With him, I was able to turn a negative into a positive and keep our heads up in this unfortunate situation. I am thankful for having a great Mission President who loves us missionaries and cares for us. I thank the Lord for giving us this experience to help strengthen our testimony of the Gospel. I know that if all came to worse I was ready to face reality. I am set apart as a servant of the Lord and like the verses from the hymn, "I'll go where you want me to go Dear Lord over mountain or plain or sea". And with that thought in my head I was assured that everything would be alright. I love the Lord with all my heart and I love this Church because I know it is the Lord's Church restored to the Earth. I am happy to do whatever I am required and will learn from whatever lesson I face. And I say these things in the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen
|Where Elder Seumanutafa and Elder Koiri spent the night|
|Waiting for rescue|