Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas Eve Eve Party

Start:     Dec 23, '09
Location:     The Myers' house, Kudjip
It is a Myers' family tradition :).

Peace on earth

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
~ words by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1864

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I tho't how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th' unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head.
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day--
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I have been reflecting on this Christmas carol over the past few days.  Last week Tuesday, the land issues I wrote about previously escalated to involve property damage, violence, and threats against some of our national workers.  (We are all safe and doing well.)  The hospital has been closed for a week while administrators negotiate with the community to restore peace.

We just received word that we will be re-opening tomorrow, although there is still much work that needs to be done.

Don't despair.  God is not dead.  He isn't non-existent.  He doesn't sleep.  He is not far away.  In fact, this very week we celebrate that He came, He cares, and He loves us!
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
~ Isaiah 9:6

Thank you for remembering us in your prayers during this time.  Please pray for our administrators and the community leaders.  Pray for the rascals.  And pray for peace.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Nativity story

On Sunday, the missionary family was transformed into a cast of characters from the Christmas story.  

Drs. Bill, Andy, and Jim trumpeted carols ward by ward and we joined in song.  

Jeff read from the Pidgin children's Bible while angels and shepherds and kings acted out their respective parts.  The patients seemed to enjoy our performance, as there were lots of smiles!  I pray that we touched some hearts as well.

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
~ Luke 2:11-14

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Stephoscope: December 2009 Newsletter

Hello out there!  
Attached is a PDF file of my December 2009 newsletter.
Wishing you all a "Hepi Krismas" and a wonderful holiday season.
~ steph

PNG white Christmas

When you live in the tropics, the weather is a bit too steamy for snow men and ice cicles.  A PNG "white Christmas" means holiday at the coast and Madang is the place to go.

Thanks to the Myers for adopting me and inviting me to join them on their vacation!  Last Wednesday, seven of us piled into the Land Cruiser with our luggage and snorkel gear:  Jeff and Susan, their kidds Jessica and Ethan, Susan's parents Wayne and Pat (or "Grandpa and Grandma"), and me.  We bumped and bounced and bruised our way along the Highlands Highway.  We stopped in Goroka for lunch at the Mandarin.  The Chinese restaurant is a missionary favorite, and lucky for us it was on the way to Madang :).  

A few more hours down the road and we stopped for the night at Ukurampa, the PNG headquarters for Summer Institute of Linguistics.  SIL is a branch from Wycliffe Bible Translators.  We were given a tour of the mission station and the work.  SIL and other partner organizations have translated portions of scripture into about 300 of the languages in PNG... 500 more to go!  It takes between 10 and 30+ years to translate the entire Bible into one new language.  Why so long?  Many of the languages are only oral and have never been written down.  A translator must learn to speak, learn the culture, and write a written form of the language before he or she can begin to work on a Bible translation.  And there are many checks and balances along the way to make sure that the message is not lost or miscommunicated.  Wow, what an amazing work.

The following morning we boarded the cruiser and bumped down the road another 5 hours to Madang.  This was exciting new territory for me, as I had never before traveled past Goroka.  Coming down out of the highlands, you enter the flats of PNG.  The grass covered foot hills are beautiful.  There are miles of sugar cane and palm oil plantations.  The best part is the long, straight, fairly pot-hole free road.  But don't be deceived, the last stretch of road through the rainforest and down to the coast is really something else.  Hard to believe that this is one of the major roads in the country.

We were a bit stiff by the time we arrived in Madang, but let me tell you... it was well worth every bump to get there!  Our days were occupied with various ocean activities.  
On the first full day we visited the Malolo Plantation which overlooks a beautiful black sand beach.  I had never seen a black sand beach before!  We relaxed on the pool side deck, walked along the beach, and jumped waves in the ocean.  I laughed and laughed some more, remembering what it was like to be a kid and jump waves with my dad :).  We spent day #2 at the Jais Aben Resort where we enjoyed some of the best snorkeling in the world.  It was amazing!  You walk out on the little beach, swim about 100 feet, and look down to an entire underwater civilization... corals, sea cucumbers, bright blue sea stars, and rainbows of tropical fish.  One of my other favorite activities was cliff jumping (and into the water) at "Machine Gun Point."  It is called this because there is a large WWII gun that is mounted as some sort of memorial.  I surprised myself as I am a bit scared of tall places... but it was a thrilling jump!  

Thanks again, Myers family, for the wonderful holiday!

Steph goes to America

Start:     Jun 12, '10
End:     Jul 2, '10
Location:     PNG --> USA --> PNG
That's right, my friends... I officially have a round trip ticket to the US for next summer :). See you then.