Born and bred in the outback town of Mount Isa, Ben Bishop never dreamed he would find himself knee deep in mud along one of PNG’s most treacherous highland trails. He now leads teams of young adults with nothing but a backpack to help bring life and relief in the Gulf Province’s most isolated areas.
After recently finding out that his great-grandfather served in the army during WWII in PNG, it gave new meaning to the legacy that Ben is carrying on. To many people in PNG then, Ben’s great grandfather was a hero, and to many people in PNG now, Ben continues to be a hero.
Having just returned from his third trek, Ben is passionate about the relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea – and with his birthday being on ANZAC Day, it truly seem as though he was born for this.
This young, modern Aussie is inspired by history to continue to bring life in these two nations. “Without the Fuzzy Wuzzy angels, Australian history would look very different.”
He first visited the Gulf Province in 2010 with an advance team asking villages whether they wanted the YWAM Medical Ship to visit their region. “I realised quickly just how much people wanted the ship,” Ben recalls. “They had been hoping and praying for medical care for so long, the idea of having a ship with such facilities, and free at that, coming to their doorstep, made them ecstatic.”
Today, Ben’s focus is clear – to practically serve the needs of PNG and he is passionate about sharing his vision with others to inspire them too to make a difference.
“I like to take my teams to the top of the Kokoda Trail and do my best to explain to them the significance of the history that took place there. Their eyes are opened when they understand some of the history behind it,” says Ben, “Even those who aren’t from Australia can understand the importance of the relationship between Australia and PNG, and the significance of us giving back.”