Offered God to serve man

Joseph Tua surveying Gebrau airstrip in the highlands. – Pictures supplied by MAF.

SERVING God through the Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF), Joseph Tua is an offering to God from his parents Rex and Annah.
Presently, Joseph is the only national pilot serving with MAF PNG. He is from Tengai village in Pangia, Southern Highlands.
“Toward the end of the flight training school when you have to think about what job you want to do, I had a talk with mum and dad. Mom immediately told me to join MAF. In my family, my mum and dad believe in giving their first harvest to God. I was their first kid to go through flight school, and I’m the first-born son, so mum was really adamant.”
He too had an urge to serve people so after completing his flight training school he applied to both the MAF and the PNG Defence Force. However, his army application did not receive a favourable response. As it seemed, the forces agreed with his parents and himself on MAF.
Tua attended St Joseph’s International Catholic College in Port Moresby before going on to train at Nelson Aviation College in New Zealand. His training started in 2015 and ended in July 2017.

Joseph Tua in front of an aircraft in Mt Hagen.

In the latter half of 2017, Tua joined the MAF. In his recruitment process, he attended Christian Leaders Training College Port Moresby Centre for three months and a flight refresher training in Mareeba in Queensland. Then, he did GPSS exam. The exam is a psychometric test where he spoke to a psychologist and answered questions.
“Boy I walked out of that feeling like I failed!” he said. “It was the hardest and worst test in my life. But thank God I passed.”
Being a new pilot, Joseph is still under training since joining the organisation in 2019. His last flight test was in March last year. Unfortunately, he said he did not get some of the small but significant things about flying correct so they planned to do another two weeks of training and then he would command an aircraft alone. But the plan was foiled by the coronavirus pandemic as all his instructors left for their home countries.
So now, he is helping out at the MAF base in Mt Hagen and is doing airstrip surveys. On the last day of 2020, he was the number two of Captain Philip Sutter in the aircraft that evacuated a 10-year-old boy from the remote Wawoi Falls to Kiunga in Western. Their story was shared by The National.
Tua is also performing in the position of base liaison pilot. In that role, he ensures there is good communication between the base staff and the pilots to ensure flights flow smoothly.
“If the pilot’s comeback to Mt Hagen for a turnaround, I make sure the cargo is ready, the passengers are ready and it’s a go, go. I’m still figuring this out as I go, but it’s been fun.”
Tua finds his new role rewarding despite not being able to be in the sky solo. The role is helping him develop communications skills and building relationships and bonds with the ground staff. In a country like PNG, Tua knows that relationships serve you well.
As he continues down the path of service, Tua believes that God will sustain him.
“Yes you want to serve people, but you’re here because you’re serving God first. People are people; they are fickle, they’ll let you down, and you know, they get annoying sometimes so keep in mind that you are here to serve God.”

Buses and bus terminals are clean while those in PNG are littered and defaced by graffiti. -Picture borrowed.

Lessons learnt in a foreign land

Papua New Guinea as a sovereign nation broke free from colonial rule 45 years ago on Sept 16, 1975.
As an independent nation we went through a lot of changes in both big and small ways. PNG enjoyed freedom and went through trial and error as it gradually progressed over the time and is eventually finding its place as a sovereign nation.
As a democratic and independent nation it gives its citizens a fair go to rule and govern their own destiny. Much has changed over the time since independence – that is in terms of politics, developments and education.
But still other areas are yet to pick up as others are reeling behind, in other words not realising their full potential. This is as a result of our country lacking knowledgeable and skilled people.
Besides, we the black race nowadays are described as a cursed race by some preachers, meaning we were denied intelligence potential to a certain degree. Therefore we cannot think, do, invent or accomplish great and unbelievable things like other races do.
I think this is true in a sense and can be confirmed as we are not as clever and intelligent as whites, for example.
It is sad and funny. We can’t even invent a simple product like pens or wheelbarrows. When I reflected on this fact and reality about us Papua New Guineans, I question myself. We became independent 45 years ago but have nothing to show for it in terms of inventions or product manufacturing.
For as long as we live we will be using or relying on products made by others, especially the whites who are believed to be the blessed race of people.
I was amazed to find out several things in a foreign country that I paid a brief visit to in 1996.
What l saw and witnessed in this foreign country made me think hard.
Our politicians often take junkets soverseas to different white countries around the world. When they return home, do they ever think of educating or sharing their experiences of what they witnessed aboard with their people and young generations?
That is so their people and the young generations can adopt white people’s ways and mentality. Papua New Guineans, we really need to change our behaviour and mentality to create a good impression of our nation.
We are a cursed black race and will be forever be workers and buyers but will never be inventors /manufacturers or suppliers. We need to bow our heads in shame because of this truth and must have a sense of respect for what the whites have produced for our convenience.
On the other hand, we all must value time if we want to get as much done. The onus is on us to change our bad mentality and attitude. If we condemn and eradicate all current eyesore activities in our communities the outlook of our society and country will be impressive and desirable.
Why I’m saying this because our bad mentality and attitude hinders change and prosperity of our tiny island nation. We act as if we are heroes but actually we are not.
The truth is our tiny island nation is unrecognisable and unheard of at the world stage. But some of our actions portray our image as if we are capable of doing this and that but actually we are not.
The message I’m trying to get across here is this – our existence is unheard of on the world stage and furthermore we cannot  even invent a simple product but are good at destroying what the whites have invented or produced that are imported into  the country for our service and convenience.
Besides we are not time-conscious and are only good at wasting away precious and valuable time rather than putting it into good use. It was amazing and a learning experience for me in a foreign country I visited 24 years ago. What l saw was really impressive and worth sharing.
These are examples of what I saw. Mail were placed in mail boxes along the streets in residential areas and walkways were left unlocked and exposed. But there is no stealing or tampering.
It was also as fascinating to see birds sitting on low-lying trees and flowers but they didn’t flying off when approached by an intruder. That’s because they were never being disturbed in their place of dwelling by people and children or have experienced stick or stone throwing incidents.
This has been another shocking experience for me a black person in a foreign land. Plants, animals and public properties were treated with great care and respect by the citizens of the country.
Another amazing experience: I had not seen any flowers or branches of plants on sidewalks broken
And there is yet another impressive thing about their PMVs. Everything inside the buses appeared brand new but actually they were old buses. From what I saw, there was hardly any stain, scratch or graffiti scribbled on buses.
Seeing the vehicle in such a condition I had thought back to the extent of dirt, graffiti, scratching and damage that one could find in PMV back in PNG.
It was rather amazing and shocking. I felt not worthy sitting on a PMV that was absolutely clean, free of dirt and other eyesore images. It was as surprising rather – whites possess the same seven senses that any other human being have but why they do one thing and we do the other.
I was thinking hard to myself. There was another completely strange sight where I spotted an automated telling machine (ATM) for the first time. To be honest, it was as my very first time to see customers making cash withdrawals from a machine that appeared strange and fascinating.
When I first saw this strange machine in the foreign country for the first time in 1996, I saw that it was installed outdoors along a street. After my return to PNG, it was a few years later and the (ATM) was introduced. But there was a big difference; in the foreign country the machine were installed outdoors and left unmanned by security personnel whereas here in PNG the ATMs are installed indoors and watched over.
Likewise, public telephone booths were installed outdoors within the city and along the streets, and highways. But they were not broken into or vandalised. This was really as amazing for a black person from a country that is known for graffiti and vandalism.
It seemed whites have a conscience or are able to reason out what is good and what is bad. But they are as same human as us. Why can’t we have the same reasoning to doing the right things?
We are supposed to humble ourselves and take care of what the whites have invented for us. We must be grateful for their products and inventions as we don’t have any know-how to produce or invent like them.
From that same overseas trip, I also learnt a great lesson from an office worker and I realised that whites consider time as something previous and valuable. It was a tea break and I saw a male office worker coming out of an office building. I was resting near that office building after a walk around the city.
I saw the guy taking a packet of cigarettes out of his shirt pocket and pulled one out and started to smoke. I watched him from a short distance away. The guy had only a few pulls and suddenly snuffed out the rest of the cigarette and tossed it into a rubbish bin nearby after glancing at his wrist watch and walked back to the office.
It was also interesting to note that he didn’t consider the cigarette as important but saw time as something of valuable.
In PNG we adopt different work ethics and are not consistent with time and punctuality. By the way, the message I’m trying to get across here is this: Whites who are full of knowledge and wisdom and regarded as blessed people tend to have respect for properties, animals and other people. They are time-conscious and act decently acts as much as possible.
We blacks are not as wise and cannot invent or produce things and tend to act recklessly and destroy what others have invented or produced. We are acting as if we know more but actually very little.
We have nothing to prove to the world. So let us humble ourselves and do away with all the negative activities. We also need to change ourselves and put time to good use.
Belated Happy New Year to you all!

  • Paul Minga is a freelance writer.


  • Paul Minga, I support you 100%. We PNGs have an I don’t care attitude problem, have no respect for each other, no love for each other. (2Tim. 3: 1-5). I’ve seen in Japan(1) no smoking in public places or transport where bins are placed in certain corners of the areas where smokers go to that area smoke and throw the smoke butts into the bin wash their hands and mouth and off they go. (2) Several rubbish/ waste bins are placed in public places with labels on them eg, Metals, Papers, cans, vegetables, bottles etc. The public come and drop them into the waste bins according to their labels. The workers come and collect them for recycle. For vegetable products they use them for fertilizer or they call it Bogasi as for organic farming. (3) Coke machines/Beer Machines are placed on the streets filled up with beer and public can excess the machine by dropping coins in the machines and get the beer to drink. The people respect the law but we in PNG we don’t respect the law and start vandalizing the properties.

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