The YWAM Training and Medical Ship, MV YWAM PNG, and her team of volunteers have begun their next deployment, and four individuals are particularly proud to be leading the charge. Victoria Butuna, Henao Iduhu, Edwin Naea, and Ken Kavora are leading four teams aboard the medical ship. These young Papua New Guinean leaders are at the forefront of the ship’s mission to care, connect, serve, and build.
As a community engagement leader, Victoria Butuna evaluates each village’s health education needs and forms a plan of action for her 10-person team. She is passionate about empowering the local people to enact change in their own communities.
Butuna herself experienced growth through her leadership position at YWAM. Leadership forced her to overcome her fear of being misunderstood and share her heart, and that’s something she wishes to pass on to her fellow Papua New Guineans. Her eyes shine as she says, “We need to talk out and then we will see change happen.”
Edwin Naea serves as the ship bosun — he facilitates routine maintenance and manages the team of deckhands. The position gives him a chance to unite his love of sailing with serving others.“It’s a win-win situation,” he says, “I do what I love doing and at the same time I can help my people.”
When Naea first joined the ship, the poverty of the remote villages shocked him, and he values the opportunity to play a role in bettering the lives of his countrymen. “I never expected to become bosun,” he laughs, “it’s an honor and a blessing. My role is part of a bigger picture.”
As the Chief Steward, Henao Iduhu ensures the ship is kept clean by guiding his team through its extensive housekeeping needs. Iduhu thrives in his role, saying “I love…serving the people and making the place look good. It gives me great peace to see people’s smiles.”
He has learned some hard lessons about leadership. “Being a leader is quite challenging,” he says, but he’s the first to admit it holds greater rewards. “Once you take the step, leadership gives you confidence and it gives you a brighter future.”
Ken Kavora leads the ship’s optometry clinic, meaning he and his team assess eyesight and distribute reading and prescription glasses. He loves seeing the life-changing effect of the glasses. “When they can see clearly for the first time…and that smile covers their face, it’s just priceless,” Kavora says, “You can’t give money for someone to smile like that. You just gave them life, you just bettered their life.”
While Kavora relishes his role, he never expected to be a clinic leader. YWAM’s trust in him gave him confidence. “It taught me I can do this,” he says.
But Kavora isn’t stopping there. He hopes to empower his people in leadership, just as he was. He says “I reached a goal that I have, so I need to reach back and pull someone else up, like a young Papua New Guinean, and build them up to be good leaders.”
Butuna, Naea, Iduhu, and Kavora embody the organisation’s name — they are youth with a mission. YWAM is privileged to champion the young leaders as they work to build their nation. Their hope is perhaps best reflected in the words of Victoria Butuna: “I believe and have faith that change will come.”