Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Flipped Side: Christmas in paradise (day 6)

* by guest story-teller Steve Doenges a.k.a. Dad [with occasional commentary from Steph]

December 25, 2010

What sounds would you expect to wake up to on Christmas morn... perhaps a distant jingle of sleigh bells as they "drove out of sight?"  Or, since the nearby Kudjip market was silent, would one hear the birds of paradise singing louder than ever?  How about a dad finishing a Christmas present to his children?  Scott had promised the tree house for Christmas, so the sound of hammering surprised several but was not long lasted as the project was completed and the three Dooley girls could climb up in their newly finished house.

We, on the other hand, enjoyed a 10:00 brunch and then read the greatest missionary story from Luke chapter 2 before opening presents.  Smiles were in abundance as gifts were opened and enjoyed by the foursome [Mom, Dad, Beck, and Steph--though Brutus and Sweet P enjoyed all the wrapping paper!].

In the afternoon, we had the pleasure of walking to each missionary's house and presenting a jar of hot fudge.  Mom had also brought gifts from Ohio for the Radcliffes since they were so helpful in keeping us on the right path to Nazareth Street.  Upon returning to the house, we were greeted with the aroma of beef cooking in the crock pot for the 4:00 Christmas meal.
The day was very relaxed (well, at least "very" for this unemployed kitchen worker who sat in the food line).  Christmas came and went without any snow or cold weather!  [Only in Steph's dreams!  It was sunny and 80 as usual.]  And by now we were getting accustomed to what paradise living was like--waking up to 60 degrees, elimination of the morning Waghi Valley clouds within two hours and the warming of the solar water tank on the roof.  Just about the time it starts to feel hot in the afternoon at just over 80 degrees, the clouds appear from the mountains and a gentle breeze starts to flow.  Also, two or three days each week, a soft rain falls from the clouds for a few minutes (better known as the "rainy season").  

In addition to the weather, there is the paradise electrical outage "entertainment"--guessing the time that the blackout(s) and/or brownout(s) will happen each day.  These usually come in the afternoon along with scattered internet outages.  The backpacker's headlamps did come in handy one evening as the three cooks reached for their head gear to finish supper preparations.  [This one's for you, Narn.]

Christmas day ended like many others--the black lab pup stretched out on the floor near the stove with his new Christmas bone nearby, the kitten placed in the laundry room, and all others in bed covered with a light sheet.  Not a creature was stirring.  Except the rat in the shed or in the rafters--not sure which... Mom didn't want to tell Steph about the noise in case she might be afraid... but no concern about Dad sitting up in the middle of the night, shaking Mom and frantically exclaiming, "what is that!?!"  [Steph would hot have been afraid.  Rats are part of life in PNG.  In fact, this one is most affectionately named "Squeaky."]

The impact of Christmas in PNG

During one of the evenings of our stay, the greatest missionary message of Christmas was freshly proclaimed as we watched a true classic missionary video entitled "Peace Child."  It took a couple of days after we arrived home in Ohio before the light bulb went on in my head (that's because my brain has slowed down to the speed of a 286 processor) and 2 thoughts came to mind:

1.  Why would Jesus Christ, the Son of God, leave the glories of heaven to be born in a stable and live among us?  Why would He leave his heavenly Family and come to the sinful world?  Why would He want to become our sin?
  • "God made him to had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." ~ Isaiah 53:3-6
2.  "Filmed in the unspoiled jungles of the Southwest Pacific (west of Papua New Guinea--but on the same island), Peace Child dramatically portrays the startling reaction of stone-age people to the Gospel.  Don and Carol Richardson respond to the call of Christ.  Careful preparation for their mission and a journey by dug-out canoe bring them to a remote rain forest inhabited by some of the world's most primitive people.  Painstakingly, they learn the language only to be shocked when the story of Judas' betrayal of Jesus makes him a hero to a people whose highest attribute is to be masters of treachery.  When the inter-tribal warfare breaks out, the battles continue until a warring chief offers his son as a means of bringing peace."  If the Peace Child lives, peace is guaranteed.
[One part of the movie is a bit gruesome.  Click here for content warnings.]

God sent to us our needed and necessary Peace Child.  Because He lives, we have a guarantee of everlasting peace.  

"For he himself is our peace."
~ Ephesians 2:14a

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