By Don Seabrook
Wenatchee world 

The Power of Love

East Wenatchee mission, volunteers come together to provide power to third-world community


Last updated 9/28/2023 at 12:01pm

Don Seabrook, Wenatchee World

Volunteers, most electricians, wire systems together inside a 20-foot-long container in East Wenatchee Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. The container with batteries and an attached solar array will provide electricity to a missionary support team in Papua New Guinea. It will be able to supply reliable power for six houses and a shop. From left are Mike Norton, Mike Babst, Ernie Briggs, Keith Messer, and Mike Thompson.

In an 8-foot by 20-foot metal box near East Wenatchee, five men crowd inside to run electrical cables from one panel to another. They are finishing up a two-month project to electrify a small mission compound in Papua New Guinea some 6,800 miles away.

After they are finished, the container will be packed with 2,500 pounds of lithium-ion batteries and 67 solar panels then sent off on a 75-day cruise across the Pacific Ocean arriving in March to Mike and Ruth Butler's Friends in Action mission. The Butlers have a compound of seven buildings from which they support missionaries around the island.

Because the electrical grid is so unsteady in the country and a diesel generator expensive to run, the solar system will provide a continual stream of power to light the buildings and keep appliances operating. A group of 16 volunteers from East Wenatchee and the Pacific Northwest is building the unit called a PowerPac.

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