Book Project 2019

      God in His abundant mercy and grace truly blessed the book drive begun in March 2019 to help provide printed resources for the primary schools of the Gutnius Lutheran Church of PNG as well as to help resupply the book resources lost when the library burned in October, 2018 at Highlands Lutheran International School (HLIS).

      Boxes and even van loads of books were collected by PNGMS members from Washington state to Florida to Pennsylvania to rural Illinois to St. Louis.  Grace Lutheran in Winter Haven, Florida shipped a whole pallet of books directly to Orphan Grain Train (OGT) in Norfolk, NE.  Roland Freund donated his entire collection of National Geographic magazines.  Several Lutheran churches in Altamont, Illinois collected over 5000 pounds of books for the shipment.  Karen Zertuche-Price and Carrie Koehn purchased new books to include.  And Ralls were able to collect over three tons of books from St. Louis area schools and churches, with St. James the Greater Catholic School closing and donating their entire curriculum for the project.

      God blessed the transport and shipping as well as the collection.  Following the book collection at the bung in July 2019, Wolffs, Luedtkes and friends loaded over 5000 pounds of books into a fifteen ft. U-Haul for transport to Orphan Grain Train.  Then at Timothy Lutheran in St. Louis, a group of volunteers (picture above) loaded over five tons of collected books from a third story classroom to a 24 ft. Enterprise rental truck, again for transport to Orphan Grain Train.  A generous gift of over $3500 to fund the transport costs came from Grace Lutheran in Winter Haven, Florida.

       At OGT in Norfolk, both the U-Haul and the Enterprise were unloaded by volunteers and then repacked (and counted) into standard OGT boxes before being loaded into a forty-ft container on pallets for transfer to PNG.  At OGT, books already gifted by others were added to those collected by PNGMS.  Eighteen pallets of twenty-five cartons each made up almost fifteen tons of books in the completely loaded container.

      The container reached Lae harbor, PNG in October, 2019, where, thanks to Jacob Luke, Mapai Chief Executive, the Mapai Group Companies handled customs and transport to Timothy Lutheran Seminary (TLS), Birip.  Mapai also arranged to reload the books into two 20ft. containers for ease of transport to the Enga Province.  At TLS, the books were unloaded, sorted again, distributed to over twenty GLC primary schools and used to help rebuild the library at HLIS.  The picture gallery below illustrates the various events of this story.