One of my favorite weekend activities is going to "bush church." A bush church is generally a one room building where a village congregation gathers for Sunday service. The decorations are colorful flowers neatly arranged across the front of the church. Benches or pews are a rare find. Worshipers either stand or sit on the floor: women and children on one side, men on the other. Hymns and choruses are sung in Pidgin or "tok ples" (the local language), a capella or perhaps accompanied by a guitar or tambourine. The offering is given not only in kina and toea (dollars and cents), but also in fresh produce from gardens. And last but not least, the pastor preaches a sermon in Pidgin and/or tok ples.
This day I joined up with Niles and Patty and Niles Jr. (two volunteer docs and a PT from Minnesota) and Dr. Erin (here in PNG for 2 years with Samaritan's Purse post residency program: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/Serving_Overseas/Post_Residency) for a hike up the mountain to Konduk church. It is an intense but amazingly beautiful walk, about an hour straight up. The view from the top is well worth the climb. You practically get an aerial look at Kudjip Station. The service was wonderful; I think I understood quite a bit of the sermon. Hurray for Pidgin! And the people of Konduk are so welcoming; always excited to have visiting missionaries. One of the neatest things about such experiences is evidence that the family of God crosses barriers of language and culture. The Papua New Guineans are our brothers and sisters!
"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus... For there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, [black nor white, Papua New Guinean or American, or anything else for that matter], for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
~ Galations 3:26, 28