GCS Community Life Photograph

Who is GCS?

A Christian health and educational agency running two hospitals, a nursing training school, primary and secondary schools and two vibrant communities in the remote part of the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea

Our Vision

To see the communities of the Gulf Province become more like “as it is in heaven” by modelling this in the Christ-Centred services of Education and Health, so that God is glorified.

Our story

Kapuna’s journey began back before the war when a donor in the UK gave a sum of money to the work of the London Missionary Society (LMS) in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The gift was to buy a comfortable boat for the missionaries to use for their work, but they said “The greatest need of our people is medical care given in the love of God” And so in 1949 a hospital and not a boat was built. Kapuna rural hospital was built on the banks of the Purari River, The hospital has stood and served for seventy years. A story of dedicated medical care and a light for those who dwelt in darkness.
 
 
In 2022 the new Hospital facility was opened by the Prime minister of PNG, with a prayer of thanks for the past and a prayer of hope that the vision will stand strong into the future. 
In 1996 the dilapidated Kikori health centre, a hundred km to the West of Kapuna became part of Gulf Christian Services (GCS). Under GCS management it is now elevated to a district hospital serving villages from the mountains to the sea.
 
 
These two services are the only medical facilities in the western part of the Gulf Province with doctors. The two hospitals care for a population of about 60,000.

Gulf Christian Services has been providing Christ-centered services for over 70 years to communities in the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea.

Bubu Mei treating patient in outpatients

 

To understand GCS, we need to go back to January the 12th 1925. Lin Tombleson was born and grew up on a high-country sheep farm in New Zealand. Her mother was a nurse in WW1 and her father was a soldier, who got wounded and spent some months in a hospital in Egypt. Lin’s mother was a nurse at the same hospital. After the war, they got married and went to live on a block of land in the hill country of Gisborne in the North Island of New Zealand, a farm they called Ahititi. It was a pioneer’s life on a remote farm, including isolation and hard work. Lin learned to look after farm animals, milk cows, ride horses and grow gardens to survive. She did most of her schooling through long-distance studies. But this was just the life that prepared young Lin to be a pioneer doctor at Kapuna Hospital in the Purari Delta of Gulf Province. God was preparing her for the call on her life.


In the deep south of New Zealand, in the city of Dunedin, a young man, Peter Calvert, was studying law at Otago University. When WW2 broke out, he went to Canada to train as a navigator with the Air Force. The war changed his direction in life and on return to New Zealand he took up medicine, and in doing so met Dr. Lin, who was just completing her training. After his graduation, they got married.

Both their hearts were now joined to serve, and not long after this, they received a letter from the London Mission Society asking if they would serve at Kapuna in a country called PNG. The Society was clear in their letter... Kapuna is a place of mud, mosquitos and malaria. But as Peter and Lin, read the letter, they looked at each other and said, “Just the right place for us”.

Fast forward, in 1954 their boat arrived at Kapuna. As they came to the step of the Doctor’s house, the young, Valerie Archer, who was two years old at the time, spoke out saying “HOME”. And so it was, and so it has been for the past 69 years.

Peter and Lin, began their lives work. Missionaries these days usually give some years to a mission, but Peter and Lin made a commitment for LIFE. 

What were their priorities in this new life? Their first commitment was to train young local girls as nurses in the hospital, and men to be Aid Post Orderlies to work in the villages. Training nurses and CHWs has continued to this day, the training school now being in its 65th year. 

Services to remote peoples was the next priority. They travelled first by paddle canoe and then outboard motor in the Delta and by jet boat to the Pawaia villages of the upper Purari. The reach of the clinics was later greatly increased by the support of MAF and its float plane. Medical clinics were carried out all the way from the Vailala River to the Bamu River.

Were there difficulties? Plenty. But did they give up? Never. It was their walk with God that strengthened Drs Peter and Lin, knowing that we are to love others as Iesu Messiah loved us, love that will lay down its life for others. 

When Lin, had three passions.

1. God. She wanted to get people out of Satan’s kingdom and into God’s Kingdom. She translated parts of the New Testament into the Baimuru language and loved to teach the bible, especially to the CHW staff and students.  She translated all the best hymns to make the Oni Buka for the people of Baimuru.
 
2. People. Lin hated to see people suffering and was always on call whether it was her dinner time, sleeping time or daytime. She never failed to go to the hospital if called. She set an example for all of us when it comes to self-sacrifice.
3. Environment. Lin loved Kapuna and spent hours pulling prickly and other noxious weeds throwing them in the river and planting flowers, coconuts and pineapples.

It is now 69 years since they stepped foot on Kapuna. Dr Peter died in 1982 and is buried here, in a mat as is the custom of Baimuru.

Dr Lin(Bubu Mei) at 98 years old was still asking to see the patients in the hospital. Dr Lin died on the 8th of August 2023. Her body, the husk that belongs to this world, was rolled in a mat and laid in a canoe, to be buried beside her husband on the land of the Kapuna. 


There was a dream about Bubu Mei’s passing that speaks much about the heart of her life and work. In the dream, the local staff saw Dr Lin’s passing. However to her surprise, at that very time, she saw Dr Lin walking towards her, she held many crosses in her handDr Lin gave these to the staff and told her, “Give these crosses to the people”. Dr Lin requested that crosses be given to the people because the cross represents how her life was lived. The cross is the power of God in our life that joins us to the resurrection of Iesu Messiah. 

 
Now its our turn to pick up her baton and serve the people, sharing God’s Word, helping those in need and making the environment beautiful as God created it to be.

To watch the story of Bubu Mei click here 

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