Vessel on a mission

An important Newcastle international ambassador was given a rousing send-off on Monday 20 May as it departed for Townsville en route to Papua New Guinea.

The s/v Ruach set sail on its second medical mission after spending nine months berthed at Queens Wharf, undergoing maintenance.

Featured in Aurora September 2018, the Ruach belongs to Youth With A Mission (YWAM).

In October 2017, the Ruach was deployed to Papua New Guinea to partner with the Milne Bay provincial health authority to bring much-needed medical help to remote places. In the eight months it was in PNG, the crew visited 12 islands, nine schools, four health clinics, helped reopen two medical outposts, and delivered medical supplies.

Since returning to Newcastle in July 2018, the crew have been preparing to return to PNG. The Ruach is unique in that every crew member is a volunteer. In fact, every person in the YWAM organisation is a volunteer, from the director to the newest staff member.

During National Volunteer Week, prominent Novocastrians including the federal and state members of parliament, Sharon Claydon and Tim Crakanthorp, gathered at Queens Wharf to honour the volunteers and say farewell to the 12 crew.

Mr Crakanthorp said YWAM does great things, not just in Australia, but also throughout the world. “Going to PNG, which is in great need, exemplifies the values YWAM has for social justice and equity. It really is fantastic,” Mr Crakanthorp said.  

Newcastle Ward 1 Councillor John Church also encouraged the volunteers as they departed.

“YWAM is a Christian organisation and I’m reminded of the book of James where he extolls us to put our faith into action. That’s exactly what’s happening here,” Mr Church said.  “Some of the villages they will be working in are only accessible by boat.  They don’t often see a midwife or dentist or GP.  The work that will be based out of the Ruach will be transformational and life changing.”

The first stop is Townsville, which is a 10-day sail. Further maintenance will be carried out there before the crew make another five-day sail to PNG. The Ruach will return to Newcastle in mid-2020. 

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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle