It has been a great blessing to finally arrive at Wamena, which is my final stop during my time in Indonesia. My main contact to this region is Daniel Sigrist, who was able to collect me from the small local airport.
Wamena is the capital town of the Jayawijaya Regency of Indonesia. It is the largest town in Indonesian Papua’s highlands, in the Baliem Valley and has a population of around 10,000. Wamena is the urban centre of a rural area housing West Papua’s highest concentration of population, with over 300 000 people inhabiting the Baliem Valley and surrounding areas. These people belong to a number of related ethnic groups, the most prominent of which are referred to as Dani, Lani and Yali.
Due to its relatively isolated location, the main form of access to the town is air travel, which explains why so many passengers flying in from Jayapura on the same flight as me where all carrying boxes instead of actual luggage.
Daniel & Melanie Sigrist are a Swiss family permanently based in Wamena with Helimission, which is a helicopter foundation with the aim to bring social, medical and spiritual help to people in remote and inaccessible areas. Founded in 1971, Helimission is a non-denominational ministry and helps those in need without consideration of their religious affiliation.
They currently operate 4 helicopter bases: on the Indonesian islands Papua and Sulawesi, as well as in Ethiopia and Madagascar. From their bases, they support local missionary organizations in the bush by flying in provisions for them – rather like a kind of taxi. In addition, they transport building material and medical supplies to supply and maintain bush hospitals.
In addition to this, they fly in medical personnel to treat local inhabitants in remote areas. Many of their flights are to rescue emergency patients and accident victims. We thank God for Tom and Rosa who currently head up the operation in Papua Indonesia.
There was an opportunity for the whole team to meet earlier today and to come together under the Word of God, which was a time of great blessing.
In the evening there was an opportunity to engage student teachers from the local area that attend a vital education centered ministry to the region. There was a chance to share the Gospel and testimony, which was very well received with many of them gaining a fuller understanding of the Gospel message and many of them responded accordingly. After a light supper, several students asked many deep questions regarding their Christian faith, which provided a lot of scope to go deeper into the Word of God together. We are looking forward to a number of exciting evangelistic opportunities over the next days.
Thank you to all of those that are faithfully praying for this mission trip. As requested in an earlier update, Melanie Sigrist had to return home to Switzerland prior to my arrival to be with her mum who is very ill just now with fibrosis on her lung. It appears that the only thing that could help her is to have a new lung. Please pray for God’s help in this matter, and for peace to be upon Daniel & Melanie at this time. Please pray for lost souls to be saved on this mission trip.
God bless you and keep on keeping on…