Saturday, 23 April 2011

Weekend in Wabag

Over Easter weekend, Scott and Gail Dooley were invited to speak at a regional retreat for the Tertiary Student Christian Fellowship.  TSCF is something like Campus Crusade back in the States.  It is an organization for Christian students who are attending various universities, technical, and professional schools around the country.  Since I wasn't working or on call over the holiday, the Dooleys invited me to tag along.  I couldn't resist the opportunity to get off station and explore a new part of the country.

The three of us plus one nursing student loaded into "The Turbo" Land Cruiser on Friday afternoon and drove down the Highlands Highway toward Mt. Hagen.  As we headed through Enga Province and on to Wabag, it was new territory for the Dooleys and me.  The road was good for about an hour, but rapidly deteriorated.  There were pot holes and more pot holes, boulders blocking the road, and a couple of precarious drop-offs.  As we climbed higher into the mountains, the beautiful views almost made up for the badness of the road.  After three hours of driving, it began to get dark.  The road became more difficult and dangerous.  Rain fell and fog began to rise from the broken pavement.

We safely arrived at our destination about 7 PM.  The TSCF conference was held at a secondary or high school just before Wabag.  The evening service was in progress, so we joined a group of almost 1,000 young people for a time of praise and worship.  The keynote speaker spoke about the Kingdom of God.  What an awesome way to celebrate Good Friday.

The service finished up about 10 PM.  One of the student leaders of the conference rode with us into Wabag and to the guest house where we would be staying.  It was nice to have a warm place to lay our heads for the night.  Our lodge was equipped with satellite TV, but we had no running water during our stay.  Something about when it rains the city turns the water off.  Huh?  Thank goodness for hand sanitizer, bottled water, and wet wipes!  

On Saturday morning, we headed back to the school where now we (including me) would be speaking at one of the workshops.  Scott and Gail had prepared a talk about sexual purity before marriage.  Scott read from 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7, challenging the students to live a life that is holy and pleasing to God.  Gail shared some practical tips on dating and relationships.  I gave my "10 toea testimony" about seeking God and trusting in his plan for your life.  (In PNG, someone who is single is called "10 toea."  A married person is "20 toea.")

At the end of the talk, students were invited to stand up and make a commitment to stay pure before marriage.  About 400 students came forward to pray.  Each of these students received a 10 toea necklace as a symbol of his or her commitment.  Wow, what an incredible trip.  Thanks to the Dooleys for letting me be a part!

"For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life."
~ 1 Thessalonians 4:7

For Scott and Gail's accounts of our weekend adventure, here are a couple if links to their blog...

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