When you plan a trip, you expect to have to gather many things. Diapers for your youngest child. An adequate amount of precisely-sized luggage. Plane tickets. Enough shoes and clothing for the duration of your trip. Even the less thought-about items–like Infant Tylenol, perhaps–don’t come out of the blue for anyone.
But when you are applying for entry visas to the country of Papua New Guinea, you need something more than just your run-of-the-mill toothpaste and sunscreen. That’s right, you have to be PNG-approved and that is not as easy as it might sound.Here are four things I never expected to need in order to go to PNG.
A Chest X-Ray
In order for the government of Papua New Guinea to be vigilant against unwanted diseases like tuberculosis, every person 16 and older applying for a visa must submit the actual film of a chest x-ray proving they are in good health. Thankfully, our whole team was able to have this done fairly quickly and inexpensively.
An HIV Blood Test
Along those same cautious lines, people applying for an entry visa who are 16 or older must also submit a negative HIV-test. Our team is in the process of having these done.
A Complete Medical Examination by an Approved Doctor
We had our vitals checked, our ears examined, and our lungs listened to before a doctor declared every member on our team in good health. And praise God for that.
A Letter from the Local Police Authorities Saying that We Are Citizens in Good Standing
This is something our team is working on right now. While this might sound strange to us, there is a certain comfort in knowing that people applying for entry visas have to at least have a clear character on paper.
On the Papua New Guinea website, this whole section of visa requirements is called ‘Medical and Character Requirements’. They desire that everyone staying in their country for a lengthy duration be in good health and have good character which is an admirable goal.
Lord-willing and by God’s grace, we will be bringing good health and good character into Papua New Guinea.
But we hope to bring something even more important: the gospel. The good news that God saves sinners through the blood of His Son. Even if everyone in the country was in good health and did have good character, but did not know the gospel, they would still be lacking the only thing that really matters in this world–knowing the one true God.
As we finish gathering these unexpected items for our visa applications, we are excited and thankful to be where we are and have the hope of being a part of bringing such good news to someone who has not heard it.
And that hope, to us, is worth hundreds of chest x-rays.