I had forgotten just how good a mini chocolate bar can be, until I had one yesterday for the first time in months! Amazingly, I only ate 3, even though there were approx 90 in my possession 😉
So, how did Emma come to have 90 mini chocolates, fresh from NZ, (as in not expired or melted/cooled four times over) in her delighted little hands?! It may take a few extra paragraphs to tell, so feel free to grab a coffee (or a mini chocolate) and enjoy the read…
On Thurs 29th Oct we celebrated the second bi-annual MAF International Day of Prayer (D.O.P.) for 2015 – a day when MAF operations, bases and support groups around the world pause in their happenings for an afternoon and take the time to pray and reflect together.
The theme for this D.O.P. was “Joy”, and I was excited to be given the task of organising and running this special event for MAF PNG. Jackie, wife of the HR Manager, had asked if I would take on this event as she transitions out of it, and so she backed me up as I embraced the challenge! I found a few others to make up the team, and we spent 6 weeks organising, imagining, praying and working to make this day special and a blessing for the MAF PNG family.
It was such a beautiful occasion, and God’s presence was tangible throughout the day, even as we ran around like crazy setting up last minute chairs and banners and solving unexpected hiccups and absences. In order to really share the experience, I’d have to sit down with you and tell you all about it over a cup of tea (and perhaps any of those mini chocolates that may be left).
In the meantime, here a few highlighted moments:
Prayer Flags. The idea came from Nathanael (a Swiss volunteer) as a way to give everybody a little gift at the end, and also to cover in prayer our MAF coworkers around the world. Every flag had a different country or program on it, with key prayer points from that place. Tessa (my legendary sister) went out of her way to help us make this extra special, and she sent close to 100 mini chocolates to act as “bases” for the flags! Needless to say this was very well received, and made the prayer flags something fun as well as poignant.
“Joy” cards. Doris (Flights Ops Assistant, and my office buddy) took this section of the program, facilitating an idea I’d had some weeks back. Tessa helped make this happen as well, sending over 40 pages of scrapbooking card. We cut these into smaller sections and gave everyone a piece. On the outside they wrote “Joy” or the things which reminded them of where their joy comes from (eg God’s presence), and on the inside they wrote things that they felt robbed them of joy or distracted them from seeing it in their lives. The illustration was that joy, when found in Christ, covers all these things, and we
can have God’s joy no matter what circumstances lie underneath. His presence, and therefore our joy, is the covering on our lives as believers.
My cajon (a wooden “beat box” type drum) made an appearance, and it was so cool playing that again. I joined the ladies who were leading us all in a lively version of an African song “We are moving in the joy of God” (Siyahamba). Too much fun!!
Reflective Stations. At one point in the program we split into four groups and each group spent time at one of four “reflective stations”, rotating every 15 mins. The four leaders had all agreed to take part in this way, and they rose to the occasion, praying over their theme and station, taking time to set up and decorate as they felt led, and making a real effort to let the groups engage, share and pray (i.e. not just speaking a message themselves).
Set up and pack down. Maybe a funny thing to highlight, but these times were so much fun with anyone around lending a hand. Sam (another Swiss volunteer) did an amazing job with powerpoints and music, and he spent much of the morning setting up the whole space with Nobi, one of the maintenance guys, and Kep, the groundsman. We had music playing while we worked, and alternated with setting out chairs and grooving to the music. Kep pulled in chairs from every corner of Headquarters and even the hangar, Nobi hung flags and banners, some of the ladies brought flowers… Wow, it looked so bright and joyful! And I think this set the tone of excitement and anticipation. Everyone was buzzing by the time we got started…
The prayer. Pilots, ground staff, admin team, engineers, maintenance workers, mechanics, cleaners, managers… everyone united in prayer. Heads bowed, hearts lifted, voices ringing out in praise, smiles exchanged, laughter shared…
This was a special day indeed, and I was privileged and blessed to be a part of it.
To God be the glory! In His presence is fulness of joy (Psalm 16:11 – incidentally, my favourite Bible verse).