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Johannes has been volunteering with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) since 2004.
YWAM (Youth with a Mission) International has over 50 years experience in more than 150 countries worldwide. YWAM is a Christian charity that offers global opportunities for volunteers from diverse backgrounds to serve, build, care, and connect with individuals and communities. YWAM is decentralised in structure and financially autonomous, which allows each centre to adapt and serve the specific needs of the community. YWAM (Youth with a Mission) Townsville, where Johannes currently volunteers, has operated for over 20 years with an aim to build capacity in young people and develop the community through four focus areas: Training, Medical Ships, Youth Teams, and Operations. YWAM values individuals’ rights to quality of life. The shared motivation is to provide people with:
Access to good health care
Food, drinking water and shelter
Opportunity for education
Expression of culture, arts and entertainment
Exposure to Christian faith and values
Fair and productive government
Opportunity to work and develop
Motivated by his passion to help others, Johannes realized that he wanted to accomplish more with his life. In 2003, he was introduced to YWAM and through research discovered YWAM Townsville. He courageously took the initial step by attending the six-month introductory training course – Discipleship Training School (DTS). Eight years later, he is still volunteering with YWAM in Townsville. In that time, he met his wife, Shauna, and together they have pioneered a new YWAM location, staffed two DTS’s, and worked with remote communities in the Australian Outback.
In 2011, Johannes and Shauna spent 3 months in Papua New Guinea (PNG) on board YWAM Australia’s Medical Ship. The Ship launched with a 16-port Australian public relations tour in February 2010, and in two years has delivered a remarkable 54,732 health resources and community development services in 230 rural villages in PNG.
Papua New Guinea is the largest developing country in the South Pacific region and has an estimated population of 6.6 million1. Papua New Guinea is a unique, beautiful, and diverse nation with over 800 languages and is surrounded by rivers and estuaries, which are the primary mode of transportation through the dense jungles, making ships an ideal way to deliver health services. While PNG is a nation of incredible beauty and culture, PNG continues to face many challenges.
40% of the population lives in poverty (less that 1USD per day)2
Highest HIV rates in the Pacific Region32
Maternal mortality is as high as 1 in 7 women in rural areas4
An estimated 70% of children have chronic infestation of intestinal worms5
Malaria remains an intractable problem, and is the second most common cause of admission to hospital6
YWAM utilizes a grassroots model of service delivery, and maintains a commitment to work in collaboration with the PNG authorities and institutions. Recently, the PNG National Department of Health (NDoH), in accord with the World Health Organization (WHO), trained a YWAM primary health care team on how to administer Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) treatment and helped launch the pilot programme into the Gulf Province, PNG.
Lymphatic Filariasis is mosquito-borne disease caused by parasitic worms that attack the Lymphatic system and, if gone untreated, causes damage to organs and painful swelling of limbs.
YWAM partnered with a PNG teacher and a former health centre worker to deliver the treatment. While there, they provided training to the local leaders and people of importance in the villages on how to treat this disease
Johannes said, “It’s amazing how easy it is to help so many people in great need, and even though the challenges in front of us are great, together we can make a difference”.