We arrived in Australia this morning a little after 9:00 a.m. People will find this hard to believe, but our trip was pretty much as planned and uneventful. For those of you who are disappointed,we will look for the absurd and ridiculous on our return trip. The most we can come up with at this point is a mechanical delay to change out an air filter on the filtration system of the Dreamliner we took from Los Angeles, but no worries, there is still time.
After we collected all of our luggage from the carousel and passed the dog inspection in customs, we went to Robert and Lisa Gunter’s house to get settled and have some lunch. On the way Robert explained there have been some adjustments in our trip plans in the Solomon Islands but our overall goals remain the same.
One concern is Missionary Michael Dietrich on Guadalcanal reported his son is sick and there is concern that it might be Malaria. Michael has been helping Robert put elements in place to allow us to negotiate land for a permanent mission station for the deaf. The Dietrichs, missionaries out of Ambassador Bible College, have only been in the Solomons about half a year. I am sure this is a frightening time as they consider how to evaluate and care for their son.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne parasite that infects blood cells. Once contracted it remains in the body. Antibiotics can help cause Malaria to become dormant but there is no known cure. Symptoms can recur periodically throughout the life of an infected person. There is a strain of malaria in the Solomons called cerebral malaria that is nearly always fatal. I recently read an article that attested there is also a strain of malaria that causes deafness and may be a significant factor in the high incidence of deafness in the Solomon Islands.
Lisa is scheduled laser surgery for the kidney stone on July 13. Her surgery date has been moved three times. She is at home taking antibiotics to get her white blood cell count lowered enough for them to proceed. The longer they wait for her procedure, the longer she has to remain on antibiotics. The kidney stone is six centimeters in diameter. I can’t imagine how painful that must be and how miserable it must feel to have so much toxin in her body as her kidney struggles to function. We are praying for a full and quick recovery.
On the plane yesterday, David started to have a congested cough. We have started giving him a decongestant but we are praying it will subside quickly. It is important for him to have a strong immune system as we go to the Islands. David is our highest at risk for Malaria because he attracts mosquitoes more than the rest of us. We suspect this is related to his blood type.
Robert received a call this afternoon telling him the boat we are planning to take to Malaita from Guadalcanal is broken down and they are working to get it repaired. There is a good possibility that we will have to take a different boat adding two more hours to what was supposed to be a four hour boat ride going one way between the two islands. Please pray they will get the intended boat fully repaired within a couple of days.
The time difference between Florida and Melbourne is 14 hours. We stayed up all day long and hope to get a full night’s sleep tonight and be fresh and ready to go tomorrow. We will be at Calvary Baptist Church in Melbourne with Robert and Lisa.