A legacy of service comes full circle

Last Updated 19 August, 2015

As a young child, senior Chad Larson (Medford, Ore.) heard stories about the Kudjip Nazarene Hospital and Mission Station in Papua New Guinea (PNG) from his grandparents Wayne (’55) and Joann (’54) Larson and always imagined seeing the lush highlands for himself. However, when he came to NNU as an engineering major, he could not have anticipated that pursuing this seemingly unrelated degree would lead him to the same foreign mission field where his grandparents had faithfully served.

In December 2012, Chad had the opportunity to travel halfway around the world to PNG and to meet another Wayne Larson, a native Papua New Guinean, who was named in honor of Chad’s grandfather. Chad used his preparation in engineering to support the future of the PNG mission station as well as honor the legacy of his grandparents.

Captain of a team of six NNU senior engineering students, Chad spent the 2012-13 school year developing a 10- year master plan for the PNG mission station. The team spent the fall semester learning the specific techniques and software they would need to complete the project, supervised by Dr. Stephen Parke and NNU alumnus Joe Chapman (’02). In December, they traveled to PNG for 18 days to survey the mission station and immerse themselves in the culture to better understand the needs of the community. Back at NNU, they spent spring semester finishing the first complete survey map of the 185-acre property and a master plan for future PNG station development.

The Kudjip Nazarene Hospital and Mission Station serves over 50,000 people each year through its 150-bed hospital, out-patient clinics, rural health services, TB & HIV wards, nursing college, churches, schools, hydroelectric dam project, Melanesia Regional Mission Field Headquarters, and missionary and support-staff housing. The missionaries serving there strive to be Jesus’ healing hands for both the body and heart of each person who comes seeking medical care.

Even in the midst of this great spiritual work, there are very ordinary needs for housing, water and life- sustaining infrastructure planning for the 1000-plus residents of the station. Scott Dooley, the Kudjip Nazarene Hospital administrator who commissioned the NNU team, recognized that meeting these needs would be imperative for the mission station’s future growth likely into a major provincial hospital.

“God opened the doors in a miraculous way,” says Dooley. “I had just asked our mission field strategy coordinator to put in a request to find an engineer who could help in surveying and city planning. He had not yet put in the request but, just a couple weeks later, was speaking in Nampa, Idaho when Dr. Parke approached him after a service and asked if anyone in the field could ever use an engineer.” God knew the need, and NNU students made themselves and their skills available to meet it.

The project stretched the seniors to apply their theoretical knowledge in practical ways as they faced the challenges of field work in a third-world country. It also challenged their concept of what it means to be called by God as they learned that fulfilling the Great Commission can come in many forms. “What I had never realized was that I don’t have to be a missionary to expand God’s kingdom. I can use my education and gifts in engineering to help expand God’s kingdom in a different way,” said team member Weston Patrick (Wasilla, Alaska).

Grady Turner (Nampa, Idaho) sums up his participation in this project and his NNU experience: “I have learned that what drives this pursuit [of a more excellent way] at NNU is more than just striving to be the best in our field of expertise—it is the natural outflowing of doing all to God’s glory.” After 100 years, NNU continues to train servant scholars whether they specialize in medicine, ministry, education or engineering. NNU graduates also continue to leave a legacy at the Kudjip Nazarene Hospital, whether through the work of the Larsons 30 years ago or of their grandson today.

The engineering team's work continues in Papua New Guinea. You can read more about how a team from NNU recently designed a new water pump system for the hospital here.