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Rev Bruce Cornish and YWAM volunteer Krystal Cochran in front of the MV YWAM PNG. Photo by Ryan Alexander.
Rev Bruce Cornish and YWAM volunteer Krystal Cochran in front of the MV YWAM PNG. Photo: Ryan Alexander

On board for outreach

Townsville Central City Mission has partnered with our closest neighbours in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to deliver essential medical care. Dianne Jensen reports.

The Uniting Church congregation at Townsville Central City Mission were quick to jump on board to assist with financial support and volunteers when YWAM (Youth with a Mission) Medical Ships came to Townsville in 2010.

Since then the recently retired MV Pacific Link has provided over 249 000 health and training services including immunisations, primary health care services, dentistry and ophthalmic procedures to remote PNG communities.

The replacement MV YWAM PNG catamaran was purchased at the end of last year for $6.5 million after a massive fundraising campaign.

Local ophthalmologist Dr Bill Talbot is one of the Uniting Church volunteers who regularly spends several weeks on board.

“Doing any surgery at all in these remote villages is a miracle of faith in action,” says Bill. “There are so many links in the chain that need to be there for it to be possible at all: instruments, disposables, medications, steriliser, operating microscope, electricity to run it, not to mention the YWAM volunteers. It is an incredible team effort which includes all the people at home who send us, yet it is so much more than this. It’s a ‘God thing’, a step from our comfort zone to our faith zone, where God has to act to make it happen.

“I love being involved in outreach as a Christian because you can minister to the whole person both physical and spiritual … we are able to give them hope even if we can’t do anything physically, and isn’t that what the whole faith journey is about?”

Rev Bruce Cornish, minister at Townsville Central City Mission since July last year, was North Queensland presbytery minister for 10 years and has been on three missions.

“There is always a sense that you are making a difference. When you have people who have never seen a dentist and they have been in constant toothache for two years and suddenly they are not in pain. Or when you share with pastors whose only Bible is a New Testament which has lost some of its pages and you are able to give them a Good News Study Bible—by their reaction you see the impact this can make in their ministry.”

The church also provides financial support for YWAM volunteers such as American Krystal Cochran, a congregation member who leads young people on missions.

“I’m passionate because I see a world out there that still needs help. And I believe that no matter how young or how old, no matter how skilled or inexperienced, people can take the opportunity to serve God,” says Krystal.

For more information contact 07 4771 2123 or visit ywamships.org

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