In 1979 one of the young men by the name of Simon Savaiko came to Sydney to study at the Croydon Bible College. He spent the weekends at Redeemer where he felt at home in the similar community orientated lifestyle. The leaders of the church prayed for Simon and sent him back as a missionary to his own people.
On Simon's flight home he had a vision from God who told him he would be a bamboo light to his tribe, and that one day this light would spread throughout the nation of Papua New Guinea.
In 1995, the translation of the New Testament was completed. The Barai people enjoyed reading God's Word in their own language for the first time.
In November 2001, the church brought Simon and his family to Australia to share in the life of the school and church, and to be trained in office skills on the computer. The vocational training centre trained Simon to assist him and Wycliffe in the newsletters that he published back in Papua New Guinea.
Simon's two oldest sons, Hannington and Rickystan, came and lived with Redeemer Baptist Church. They played soccer on Sunday afternoons with the high school boys, represented the School in soccer and were outstanding athletes. They completed their Higher School Certificate.
In 2010-2011, Redeemer Baptist Church was invited to the Itokama village to celebrate the graduation of Hannington and Rickystan from university, and to thank the church for the support it had provided over the years for their children. The trip changed the lives of all those who went. Hannington and Rickystan were the second and third from their tribe to graduate from university.
From 2006-2012 Petros and Kerry were educated and then returned to help with a medical mission for the Barai. They are currently studying Nursing at Pacific Adventist University. Their goal is to provide nursing assistance for their tribe.
In November 2012 we hosted ten of the Barai teachers at Redeemer. We arranged for them to meet national parks and wildlife officers who gave them some ideas about caring for the unique ecology of their tribal area.
Redeemer travelled back to the Barai with Professor Alice Lee and seven other doctors and nurses to offer vaccination according to WHO protocols. In this first mission, 3000 people were vaccinated from three different villages and their surrounding areas.
On the day that we arrived in the village, one of the nurses said there was a young girl dying down in the hut that served as an emergency clinic. Her hand was almost 3cm thick with infection and had to be operated on immediately. They operated in the dark with no anaesthetic and no pain killers before flying her out of the village for further treatment.
On the 2013 trip, the Principal of Itokama Primary School declared itself to be a sister school of Redeemer Baptist School.
Elvice's hand to be operated on. She now has full use of her hand following these two operations and physio.
Hannington Savaiko, one of the teachers in Itokama Primary School, also has the task of maintaining the airstrip. With limited road access into the village, it is difficult for medical and educational supplies to be brought into the village. Year 10 helped raise money for a slasher that now allows the airstrip to be mown in a couple of hours, a task that used to take an entire day.
Redeemer and another team of doctors and nurses, led again by Professor Alice Lee, travelled back to the Barai and vaccinated close to 2000 people.
Redeemer Baptist School staff, students, past students and two health professionals travelled to the remote village of Itokama in Papua New Guinea in July 2016. They worked with the Barai community to install four water tanks, providing more accessible water for three villages.
Paramedic Garry Mikhail and medical doctor Medhat El-Wahsh worked with two past Redeemer students, Petros Savaiko and Kerry Kufuae (who have vocational qualifications in Healthcare and are currently studying Nursing at Pacific Adventist University), to provide medical clinics in Barai villages throughout the week.