Two people from East Taraka Seventh-day Adventist Church have been confirmed dead and others are in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) after being involved in two separate motor vehicle accidents on the way to a Pathfinder Camp in Lae, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea, on July 24, 2021.
According to a Facebook post by Tsirobin Labz Huranaka, the first accident involved Grace Fidesh Yamandy a Pathfinder director who was driving a group of young Pathfinders to a camp organized by the Morobe Mission Youth Department. Sadly, the Pathfinder director died, and an undisclosed number of the Pathfinders were placed in ICU at Angau Memorial General Hospital in Lae.
After the accident, a parent was notified, and that parent decided to travel to the accident site but was killed in a separate accident on the journey.
According to a Facebook post by church member Charles Bilisin, one of the casualties was Joseph Ken, from Tomba, Western Highlands Province. Bilisin described Ken as “a man after God’s heart [who was] always willing to use his vehicles for God’s service, a man with an open heart to the poor and needy.”
Bilisin added, “We are shocked and devastated mourning the deaths and the massive injuries of a fatal road accident. [It is] a saddest tragedy that we will never forget. How we will get over this pain, sadness, and tragedy, only God knows.”
Members turned to social media to react, ask for prayers, and offer comfort to the families of the deceased.
“We are just praying for God’s peace in the hearts of the immediate relatives of the lost and the injured,” Lynne Ragat wrote.
The East Taraka church posted reactions to the countless messages of appreciation received after the tragedy. “My beloved friends, [the] East Taraka Adventist church family can’t thank you enough for your condolences, special thoughts, encouragements, and faithful prayers. It is so encouraging during such painful moments to realize that though we are divided by volumes of seas, miles away from each other, in different countries all over the world, we remain bonded in the love of Jesus. We hold each other so close for words of encouragement and special prayers in such trying times of pain and grief. We are the family of God. Your words and prayers mean so much to us. We love you.”
According to Nick Kross, South Pacific Division youth ministry specialist, the funeral for Yamandy was conducted on August 8. He added that fast healing has taken place for the Pathfinders in hospital, leaving only two boys still hospitalized under intensive medical care.