First-of-kind Aircraft Brings 
Adventist Aid to Papua New Guinea

 brand new, lightweight airplane plane made a stop at Cessnock Airport in Australia on May 24, during its maiden voyage from Auckland to Papua New Guinea (PNG) where it will be used to transport medical staff and much needed supplies to remote communities.

At a time when many flight operators are pulling out of PNG because of rising costs, the PAC 750XL is the first of its kind to enter the country. It will be used by the Seventh-day Adventist Church to treat the sick in hard to reach places in the country’s highlands, as well as transport food and building supplies.

A plaque was presented to Adventist Aviation during a ceremony the next day, dedicating the newly commissioned PAC 750XL “to the service of God and in memory of mission pilots who died in mission aviation and other mission service”. The dedication plaque will be placed in its hanger in Goroka, PNG.

Dr. Brad Kemp, associate general secretary for the church in the South Pacific, offered the prayer, dedicating the aircraft in part to the church’s mission pilots “who put their lives at risk but who do it with purpose and passion.” They bring hope to remote communities by reminding the members of these communities they are not isolated, not forgotten, Kemp said.

NEW PLANE:  First of its kind aircraft to enter the country will bring help, hope, to people of Papua New Guinea, thanks to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. [Photo: Ann Stafford/SPD]
Former mission pilots Lawrence Shields and Les Anderson died in plane crashes near Goroka in the Eastern Highlands of PNG in 1973 and 2002 respectively, while Peter Knopper was murdered in 1988 in Homu, PNG. Graham Barnett was killed in an accident in 1998 at Pacific Adventist University in the country. 

The first Seventh-day Adventist medical missionary pilot in PNG, Pastor Len Barnard, joined the aircraft’s inaugural flight to Goroka during its scheduled stop at Cessnock. Now retired and living in Cooranbong, he established Adventist Aviation in PNG with Pastor Colin Winch in 1964. He praised the church for its boldness in purchasing the aircraft. 

“I never thought I would see such a state-of-the art and beautiful machine used by the church,” Barnard said. “It is my greatest wish that the Lord will bless this machine, the pilot and all the passengers and that it will be used to the glory of God in Papua New Guinea.”

AAS flies supplies and medical staff and sets up temporary clinics to treat the sick in PNG. Those with more serious conditions are also evacuated to hospitals. According to Pastor Roger Millist, chief pilot and chief executive officer of AAS, the acquisition of P2SDB was made possible because of the ongoing service that has been provided for almost half a century. The airplane cost $1.8 million in Australian dollars, or approximately $1,480,000 in U.S. funds.

“Funds for the replacement of aircraft have been put aside over the years,” said Millist, “but serious fund raising was also needed to make this dream come true today. People all over the world have donated to make this plane possible.”

Funds for the new aircraft came from donations from church members through camp meeting offerings and the worldwide Sabbath School Offering of 3rd Quarter, 2006, which as previously reported was one of the highest 3rd Quarter offerings collected. The people of PNG also contributed financially to help purchase the plane that will be used to help those in their country.

Adventist Aviation has not had a new aircraft since 1977. The Quiet Hour, an independent, supporting ministry of the church based in Redlands, California, USA, purchased the first two, a Cessna 180 and a Piper PA-23-250 Aztec. It is now raising money through its “Airplanes for the world” project for a third, which will be either another PAC 750XL or a Quest Kodiak S/N 001. World Sabbath School Mission offerings continue to support the mission of the church around the world.

Millist described the aircraft as “versatile and rugged.” Hamilton, New Zealand-based Pacific Aerospace Corporation built it specifically to the needs of Adventist Aviation. The turbine engine can take the aircraft from brake release to 22,000 feet in 22 minutes. It seats a pilot and nine passengers, carries enough fuel to fly for five hours with 45 minutes reserve and features: a cargo pod; a satellite phone; full co-pilot’s instrument panel; and heavy duty landing gear.

One of the major benefits of the new plane lies in its use of fuel that is much more readily available. Fuel used in its previous aircraft had to be imported into PNG, hence raising the cost significantly.

“We operate in very dangerous terrain and weather with short rugged airstrips, many of which are poorly maintained,” said Millist. “This aircraft is a clear statement the Adventist Church is serious . . . about being God’s hands and feet in PNG.”

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has more than 3000 churches in PNG and almost 225,000 members there.
                     — Melody Tan, Brenton Stacey and David Gibbons/South Pacific Division/AR Staff
 
LLU Cancer Treatment Center Named After Founder 

After nearly 17 years and almost 12,000 successfully treated patients, the Proton Treatment Center at Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC), in Loma Linda, California, has been renamed to honor its developer Dr. James Slater. The LLUMC board made the decision on May 23 and the facility will officially be known as the James Slater Proton Treatment Center.

"I couldn't have been more surprised," Dr. Slater said on hearing the news. Dr. Slater, a pioneer in the field of proton therapy for treating cancer, started pushing for a proton treatment center at LLUMC in the 1970s. Back then he was being trained to do radiation treatment.

But he said, "I didn't like seeing the side effects patients received from x-rays. I knew there were better things out there but only in physics laboratories." 

A member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Dr. Slater said, "It was clear to me in my connection with religion, God and all of the components to go with that, that doing better for the patient was the only way to go. It was my obligation to go in and make things better than they were. So I went to work to make things better and there is no question in my mind that God expects that from us."

BEAMS OF HOPE:  Loma Linda University Medical Center's James Slater Proton Treatment Center offers proton beam therapy to cancer patients. Patients are treated either on a table by one of the three gantries, which can be rotated 360 degrees to aim the beam with pinpoint accuracy, or in a chair by the fixed beam outlet. [Photo: LLUMC]
Starting in 1970 Dr. Slater visited various facilities to study treatments using proton, the helium ion, the negative pi meson (pion) and other particles. Studies and collaboration with various labs continued into the 1980s. Dr. Slater ultimately settled on proton treatment. Unlike conventional x-ray radiation, proton therapy treats cancerous tumors without harming surrounding healthy tissue.

"I went with protons because they were highly controllable and I knew that protons would not be harsh for the patients like all these other heavier particles are. So it became my first choice," Dr. Slater recalled. 

The idea for treating patients using proton therapy was not new. Back in 1946 Robert R. Wilson, Ph.D., who later became director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, had predicted that protons could be used to treat patients. 

Despite LLUMC's initial skepticism surrounding the cost of the equipment and the effectiveness of the treatment Dr. Slater persisted.

He was determined to place the facility in the Adventist-owned hospital. 

"Loma Linda gave me the opportunity to go to medical school and I wanted to do something for them," he said. "That is my fundamental reason for bringing it here. I felt it would be good for the school."

Treatments at the center began in October 1990 and since then there have been 11,842 patients. Patients who have received treatment at the center have, overall, been ecstatic at the results. The Brotherhood of the Balloon (www.protonbob.com/proton-treatment-homepage.asp), an organization consisting of nearly 3,000 men who have received proton treatment for prostate cancer, is one such group. On the 15th anniversary of the Proton Treatment Center in 2005, the Brotherhood of the Balloon presented Dr. Slater with a book of 100 testimonials.

Experts at the center specialize in proton therapy for lung, brain, and prostate cancer treatment. They are also researching how to treat breast cancer with protons. As chair and professor of the Department of Radiation Medicine at LLUMC, Dr. Jerry D. Slater, son of Dr. James Slater, has worked with the center for some time now. He says, "What we have been pioneering at this center is a model that the rest of the world now follows." 

The James Slater Proton Treatment Center is somewhat of a family affair. Dr. James Slater's other son, Jon, an engineer, led the team that designed the control system which makes the entire program work. 

When asked how he felt about the center being renamed for his father Dr. Jerry Slater said, "I know he really appreciates this honor. He put so much of his life into developing this form of therapy that has benefited so many patients." 

He added, "Even people not in the proton therapy and standard radiation field are aware of what [my father] has done and what he has brought to the field of radiation oncology." 

Pastor Lowell Cooper, chairman of the LLUMC board and a vice president of the Adventist world church said the board chose to rename the center after Dr. Slater because, "He is the one who lead in the development of the Center at Loma Linda and is recognized worldwide as a leading physicist. Dr. Slater is really one of the [most] outstanding scientists, not only in our denominational ranks, but in the world."

Today the center continues researching new and better ways of treating cancer. For more information about proton therapy for treating cancer call 1800 PROTONS or see www.protons.com.
                                                       —    Taashi Rowe, Adventist News Network/AR Staff


Wife's Kidney Donation Ends Divorce Plan                     News Commentary

BY SAM MCKEE writing from Sunnyvale, California
 
Cindy Altemos, of South Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania, gave an unexpected gift to her estranged husband. It even made national headlines.
 
After 10 years of marriage, Cindy and Chip Altemos had agreed to separate, start seeing other people and start divorce proceedings. According to the Associated Press, “all the woes and troubles" they brought from previous marriages seemed too great to overcome. Five years after separating, Chip ended up in the hospital with kidney failure. At the time, he was seeing another woman.
 
But Cindy, on the verge of becoming Chip's ex-wife, said, "’He was still my husband. There was no way I could walk around with two kidneys and he had none.…It was the right thing to do.'"
When she agreed to donate a kidney, she told Chip that there were no strings attached; she didn’t expect a better share in divorce court. Chip was amazed.
The transplant took place February 21. As they spent everyday together in the hospital, they fell back in love again. Chip thought to himself ‘Why would I want to date someone else, when I have a woman who would give part of herself so I can keep living?’  So he put an end to his other relationship and asked her to come home from the hospital with him.
 
The two will be married 17 years in October.
 
A grace-filled sacrifice reignited the passion in their relationship. The central teaching of Christianity is that grace changes things—it changes people, marriages, and history itself. When we were separated from God, divorced from him, walking away from him, Christ died for us.
 
How high is our grace factor?  How well are we doing at loving our enemies—those who think and act differently than us?  Is our sacrificial service igniting a passion in others for God?
 
 

 
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