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Missionaries witness volcanic eruption

Courtesy of Mark Ellis, GodReports

Matt and Christine Hamb are missionaries with New Tribes Mission in the Madang region of Papua New Guinea, ministering to the Manam people group.

On July 31st, they were settling into their normal routines in what seemed like any other day in the village. Then they heard an eerie sound.

“It is common to hear rumbling noises coming from the mountain but this time it was accompanied by the desperate frightened wails of children and frenzied yelling of women,” Matt noted on their blog.

Suddenly the volcano erupted with great force, spewing molten rocks, debris, and ash 65,000 feet into the air. “Immediately panic began to strike as we realized what needed to happen,” he recounted.

Matt realized an urgent response was necessary: solar panels to cover, gutters to remove and water tanks to secure. They also needed to head to a safer area.

Their boat was in town at a repair shop but a local boat captain was in their village with his boat and they arranged for a ride.

Within 20 minutes of the eruption, rocks and debris began to rain down all around them. “It began with large stone like objects most of them being the size of lemons but ranging in size to grapefruit, then it transitioned to smaller gravel sized stones and finally ended up being just ash which was the consistency of grains of sand mixed with a fine powder. This ash was thick enough to block the sun and midday began to look like twilight.”

“We had to use flashlights to move around our house,” he recalled.  In the midst of that physical darkness he said they were reminded that Christ is “The Light of the World”, who came to dispel spiritual darkness.

To make their escape to safety, they headed out with a small group of young children, using GPS to find the shore. “About 40 minutes later after what felt like a run through the sand blaster we arrived safely on the mainland.”

“We are thankful that God knew what was coming and already had things in place to see us safely back to the mainland. While on the mainland we were asked why…why we didn’t want to stay in the comfort and security of our own country. Why would we want to leave America to come here? The answer was simple, we have the most important message to bring them and how else will 20,000 Manam people have a chance to hear about the God who loves them enough to sacrifice His own Son on their behalf.”

To know more about the Hamb’s ministry, go here

Courtesy of Mark Ellis, GodReports

Posted by Cecile Venter – 2015-09-01

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