* by guest story-teller Steve Doenges a.k.a. Dad [with occasional commentary from Steph]
December 26, 2010
Upon returning to the house, we were able to rest a few minutes before gathering with the missionaries and their families for the annual Christmas Eve walk through the hospital's four buildings, one for each ward. A short service was repeated four times that included the singing of Christmas carols, special music by a quintet of trumpets, scripture reading while a new born baby "Jesus" and mother "Mary" walked down the center aisle of the ward followed by Wisemen bringing gifts for the King of Kings. Then there was a closing prayer by a doctor of that ward.
(There are no patient rooms in the hospital--all are lying on beds, three feet apart and in two rows. There is enough room to squeeze three or four family members around the bed. In over flow conditions, patients will lie on a mat in the center aisle. Thankfully, fire marshals have not been invented here yet.)
Finally, through the ministry of the many supporters of Nazarene work in PNG, gifts were given to each patient that included a stuffed animal for the children. And candy canes were handed out to each person including visitors at the bedsides.
By the fourth time that Mom and Dad looked at and attempted to pronounce syllables of the [Pidgin] Christmas carols, we were able to assist with singing the songs rather than causing mumbling sounds. (At least we felt that we assisted, but who knows, maybe we sang "Joy to the pigs!") It is likely that the patients in each ward heard all parts of the presentation two if not three times due to the closeness of the wards to each other as well as windows being open during the day.
The group of traveling messengers then walked to the TB ward which is located in a wing of the old hospital. However, the door was locked and it was speculated that all the patients were able to return home for Christmas.
It certainly was a privilege to share in the Christmas activities of the Kudjip community!
Speaking of community, it is appealing to come to a country where Sunday morning music once again calls out through open church windows to those passing by, where the open market is a gathering point as a near daily routine, where the neighborhood is filled with children playing--even in the rain, and where extra food is shared with neighbors.
[After finishing our caroling tour of the hospital, we hurried home to put pizza's together for dinner. Stephen, the resident from JPS, joined us. He and Dad readied the wood burning stove for an after-dinner fire. The toast blaze lulled each one of us to sleep as we watched the classic "A Christmas Carol." And thus, Christmas Eve came to a perfect close.]