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Media Update

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You may have read media reports about one of our volunteers, Cathy Franzoi of New Zealand, who was shot in the leg by a stray bullet while staying on in Port Moresby after completing an outreach onboard our ship.
We’re delighted to report that Cathy has been discharged from hospital and is in good spirits, awaiting her return flight home to New Zealand.
 
Cathy had departed the ship and was asleep at her place of accommodation when a stray bullet, one in a series of gunshots, came in through a window and hit her in the leg. A support person was medevaced with Cathy to Cairns Hospital where she had surgery to remove the bullet from her leg while the remainder of Cathy’s team from Waihi Baptist Church returned to New Zealand on Monday as scheduled. 
 
The incident is considered to be completely rare, random, and unfortunate. In 22 years of facilitating overseas outreach, we have never experienced a situation like this. We are cooperating with local authorities in their investigation and conducting a thorough review of our safety procedures to learn whether there is anything that we can do to improve the well-being and safety of our volunteers.
Cathy Franzoi volunteering in Papua New Guinea (Photo Credit- Matthew Lynn)

STATEMENT FROM CATHY FRANZOI:

Firstly I would like to make it clear that this incident was in no way connected to the YWAM Ships medical outreach that we had fully completed the day prior. We had an amazing, life changing and incredible time, serving alongside the other volunteers and staff of YWAM on Outreach 6. I recommend this experience to any and all who seek to serve those in need. I hold all the YWAM team members I met in highest regard and deeply appreciate the care and assistance that they offered upon hearing of this incident.

As our flights didn’t work out to leave on Sunday, the group of 7 stayed on for an extra night in a guest house in Port Moresby. We were in bed asleep when one of the ladies in our room was awoken by some gunshots. The shots appeared to be getting closer, so she called out for us to get onto the floor. I had not woken properly and was still lying on my side when I felt the bullet hit. After the hit, there was one more shot, further away again. There were about 6 shots in total and I was hit by one of the later. In my opinion, this was a random event. It does not appear that we were targeted, or that there was a massive gunfight going on. I do not hold any grudge against whomever was wielding the gun, and I am grateful to God for a series of events that actually protected me from an entirely different outcome.

I personally have a deep faith in Jesus Christ as my saviour and the Bible as my life guide and as such, I recognise God My Father’s gracious hand in bringing peace, protection, and His close presence when I needed it.

I am grateful that it was me sleeping in that position and not one of the others in the group. I am also grateful that when I had earlier tried to flip the bed around so that my head would be the other way around, I considered the voice in my head which said that the guest house owners may not like me to do it, plus the mattress was rather heavy, and so I decided against it. Had I flipped it, the bullet would have gone into my chest.

I am so glad to have met so many amazing people throughout the ordeal. Lulu and the EMS PNG team; my flight doctor Valma and the pilot of the Medicare; advanced life support paramedic Jan and her partner who picked me up at the Cairns airport and all the other friendly paramedics who chatted to me in the hospital;  Neil Noble, regional manager of the paramedic team who went above and beyond with support and encouragement. Sincere thanks to the nurses, doctors and surgeons who took great care of me at Cairns hospital. I am also very grateful for my travel insurance policy with Southern Cross Healthcare. They demonstrated genuine care and compassion and clearly worked hard to provide a workable solution for me in tricky circumstances. The team went above and beyond the general policy requirements to provide me with a tailor fitted solution.

Heartfelt thanks to you all.

Would I return to PNG? Absolutely!

Cathy Fraznoi in PNG (Photo Credit - Matthew Lynn)

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