Stories from a midwife and missionary in PNG

Fay was a missionary and midwife in Papua New Guinea for most of her life.

After moving to Papua New Guinea in the 1950s, Fay spent her life as a missionary and midwife and delivered hundreds of babies over the years.

Maranatha resident Fay was born in Auckland, New Zealand on November 9, 1927. She grew up on a farm with her parents and three brothers and went to Sunday School in a little church in the country. She love country life and was particularly interested in gardening and flowers. This led her later to join a family friend in her florist shop where she worked happily for a number of years.

But Fay had a desire to become a missionary. So she went to Sydney and attended a Bible College for two years in preparation for a life time of missionary work in Papua New Guinea. Before leaving for Papua New Guinea, she trained as a midwife believing that she could be very helpful in a country that offered very little medical help in country areas at that time.

Fay left for Papua New Guinea in 1954 and was stationed at a place called Awaba in the Western Province. Awaba was in an area with many large lagoons that flowed into the Aramia River. Being lagoon country it was also the home of hundreds of mosquitos but also it had lots of fish and even crocodiles. There were also lots of wallabies, wild pigs, wild geese and ducks.

At Awaba, Fay was very busy as a midwife, being called on at any time of the day or night to deliver babies. Over the years, she delivered hundreds of little babies and thoroughly enjoyed her work.

Fay was keen on learning the local language Gogodala, which she needed in all aspects of her work. On a neighbouring station there was a missionary who had come a few years before her. He had learned to speak the language fluently and had written down the grammar to help new missionaries learn the language. He went once
a month to tutor Fay. These lessons eventually led to romance and in 1956 she married that young man, Alwyn Neurendorf. They lived at Awaba for the next 14 years.

Fay was very keen to help the teenage Gogodala girls and so began a Girls Club which ran for five mornings a week. She trained the girls to become great wives. As well as Bible Study she taught them sewing. Friends in Australia and New Zealand donated pedal sewing machines and some hand sewing machines. The girls learned to make all sorts of clothes that families needed. They also learned to make great mosquito nets. They made so many and were of such good quality that the girls ran sale days every few months when villages would come and buy for their families.

There were lots of Gogodala children and Fay was keen to see them taught the Bible and how to live the Christian life. So she embarked on a program of training Sunday School teachers. Each village nominated some to be trained and once a week they came to the station for training. Fay wrote all training material each week in Gogodala. Each village group would learn to act out skits to teach the lesson, prepare teaching aids and a way of delivering lessons interestingly. Fay just loved the training and happily put it all into practice the next Sunday in the village.

Alwyn moved to Port Moresby, and began work in the Education Department, and Fay continued the same work in nation’s capital. Lots of Gogodala men moved to Port Moresby to work and their wives and families joined them. Several Gogodala churches were formed. So Fay continued training the women in sewing and in Sunday School work.
Alwyn and Fay had no children of their own, but adopted seven Papau New Guinea children. Those seven all married and produced 27 grandchildren. Over half of these have married and had 19 great-grand children.

Looking back over a long fruitful life, Fay is so very grateful to God, her Heavenly Father for the way He has cared for her over the years. She is now able to look forward to being with God for all eternity.