IT all happened ‘in the blink of an eye’, but the Symes family of Shepparton wouldn’t think twice about doing it again.
David and Sandy, together with their children Emily, 14, Nathan, 12 and Joshua, 6. decided just three weeks before departing Tullamarine Airport in July to go on what was a month-long missionary assistance trip to Papua New Guinea.
It all came about after the family’s church received an appeal for volunteer building assistants at a missionary camp in Goroka.
Upon hearing it, the Symes decided to pack-up and go.
“There was a lot to organise, we didn’t have birth certificates, passports or anything,” Mr Symes explained.
“We thought that if we could help, then we would.”
Upon arrival at the missionary camp, as a professional electrician and amateur builder, Mr Symes began assisting works to extend a missionary pilot’s home adding a bedroom and office.
“The MAF (Mission Air Fellowship) is such a good cause,” he said.
“(However) all-round it was such a valuable experience for us and the kids as well, it taught them a lot. I guess they saw what it is like to live in a country that isn’t safe, where we were, the houses were inside a compound because security was scarce.
“They also saw the value of others helping out those less fortunate, there were around 170 other people there working for the cause.
“We would definitely do it again.”
MAF is a not-for-profit team of aviation professionals that provide air transport for people in need in remote places.