Of all the American holidays, the 4th of July is actually one I have celebrated overseas on more than one occasion. Over one of my college summers, I traveled with a Youth in Mission team to a hospital in rural India. The boys on the team found some fireworks and set them off outside of the girls' bungalow, then subsequently blamed the explosion on some militant group. Ha ha, not funny. We also shared some of our culture with the nationals by hosting a party for the hospital staff. One year I was in Poland, touring Eastern Europe with a class of MPH students. I remember our Polish bus driver hanging an American flag in the front of the bus and enjoying a treat of red raspberries and blue blueberries. (I don't think I am making this up, but that is a possibility.)
My first American Independence weekend in Kudjip was celebrated with a variety of activities.
On Friday night, the planned bonfire was converted to a cookout on the Radcliffe's back (or actually front) porch thanks to bit of rain. But that did not dampen our patriotism. We roasted marshmallows over the hot coals of the grill, marshmallows that were probably sent in a care package because you can't find them here in PNG (I am planning to try and make them from scratch, but that will be a culinary experiment for another day). Becky Wallace led us in singing every patriotic song ever written. It was a good time :).
Most of the missionaries joined in a good ole American game of softball on Saturday morning, though I was not able to attend due to a previously scheduled visit with some PNG friends.
Sunday the 5th was also the first Sunday of the month. The first Sunday is the regularly scheduled day for "English lotu," or "English church," and every other month the service is preceded by a potluck lunch. Missionaries from stations around the area gather together for a time of food, fellowship, and fun. The Myers "haus win" (or gazebo-type structure) was decorated with red, white, and blue balloons. Scott Dooley shared some scriptures and thoughts on true freedom, freedom in Christ. We sang national anthems for the U.S, Australia, and PNG. (Other countries such as New Zealand and Switzerland have also been represented in previous years.) And the afternoon concluded with some fun and games including three-legged and sack races. It was a wonderful day to celebrate our holiday, the other nationalities with whom we work and fellowship, and the freedom that we have in Jesus!
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."
~ Galations 5:1