A Calling In the Mama Care Ministry
MAF Missionary Michelle Venter brings the Gospel to the Maternity Ward through the initiative of the Mama Care Ministry
Where it all started
The initiative to start the ‘Mama Care Ministry’ began 3 years ago when Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) missionaries, Michelle and Brad Venter adopted their fourth child, Emma. Both Brad and Michelle along with their 3 kids are originally from South Africa but have been serving with MAF for the last twelve years in Papua New Guinea.
Michelle and Brad met their daughter Emma in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Goroka Hospital. “Here in this nursery, I met many other mothers who had premature babies or sick babies. It was at this time that I felt that the Lord laid it on my heart to minister to these mothers.” Michelle recalls. But due to Covid the Ministry did not eventuate until the end of 2022 when Michelle and a friend discussed about starting the ministry together.
“I knew it was something that the Lord had placed on my heart, but I really did not know where to start or how our time with the ladies would turn out? I was worried about what I would say and what they would think or if we would connect?” But Michelle was reassured that the Lord was bigger than the concerns to initiate the Mama Care Ministry. All she could do was to be obedient and take the leap of faith.
Impact of the Mama care Ministry
The ministry officially began early January 2023 and has ever since become the Mama Care Ministry. Every Thursday morning Michelle along with other MAF ladies would visit the special care mothers ward at the local hospital with a thermos filled with hot milo and baked goodies to share with the mothers there. But its far more than just sharing food and a hot drink with the mothers. Michelle said that their overall goal is “to spend quality time with these precious ladies and share the word of God with them!”.
Colour pictures with inspiring scriptures put up on the wall in the ward.
A mother pictured knitting a traditinal string bag (Bilum).
A mother displaying her bilum after completing it during her stay at the wards.
Michelle along with the MAF ladies also introduce various activities from colouring picture with inspiring scriptures to hang on the wall and provide wools for the mothers to make their traditional string bags (bilums) or do fun games to keep the mothers busy and entertained during their time at the hospital. Even Michelle’s kids are keen to join in during their school holidays to connect with the mothers at the Mama’s Ward and it’s a wonderful experience and time spent together with the mothers.
For some, especially for first-time mothers who are young it would take their premature babies 3 months to gain weight and fully recover before they are ready to go home but during the long stay at the hospital their time is well spent taking part in the Mama Care Ministry in fellowship and other activities. Even for most mothers who are far away from home they feel at home and are always eagerly waiting for Michelle and the MAF ladies’ visits on Thursday. One of the mothers made a remark that, “they bring so much life and give us something to do during our wait and stay at the Mama’s Ward and most importantly we get to know more about God through their ministry and time spent with us”
Distribution of the word
During their recent visit, Michelle’s mother, Denise Hocknell also joined Michelle to meet the mothers at the ward to donate a crochet beanie which she made purposely for each mother’s babies who are in the intensive care ward still as premature babies. Michelle also donated a few books that she purchased from the EBC Singaut book shop with the intention to start up a library for the mothers staying at the Mamas Ward to keep themselves inspired by Christian books and testimonies written by past and present missionaries in Tok Pisin.
Michelle’s mother, Denise Hocknell donating the beanies that she crochet for the mothers premature babies.
A premature baby sleeping in a traditional string bag (Bilum).
A mother showing a picture of her premature baby that was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
In the past Michelle would donate an audio Bibles to the ward so that the mothers would be able to hear the word of God and just very recently she also donated printed Tok Pisin and English Bibles to the mothers. The donation was made possible thanks to the generous donation from their Church in South Africa where they can support the Mama Care Ministry.
Michelle donated a few Bible along with a box filled with inspiring Christian books and testimonies written in Tok Pisin by past and present missionaries.
One of the mothers who received a printed Tok Pisin Bible made a remark that the Bible that she received was the first Bible that she has ever had since she was brought up in a non-Christian family. But encouraged by Michelle, she hopes to use this Bible to minister to her family and connect to her Husband’s side of the family who are all Christians and believers in Christ.
“The Mama Care Ministry draws our relationship closer to God and remind us how we should raise our kids in the things of God” said one of the mothers who received the printed Bible.
Ephesian 5:16 says to, “make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Michelle has put that into practice and as a result Michelle’s step of faith to establish the Mama Care Ministry has so far inspired many mothers and has even led them to come to know the Lord.