By Mark Ellis, Special to ASSIST News Service
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS – August 20, 2015) — 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.
Photo caption: Hamb family.
About the writer: Mark Ellis is senior correspondent for the ASSIST News Service and also the founder of www.Godreports.com , a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from the church around the world to build interest and involvement in world missions.
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