Christmas Blessings and Greetings to you all,
May you know God’s presence and wonder this Christmas – you may have seen this before, but here
is a Christmas story for you. Lest we lose the wonder…
It’s been an exhausting week, as I have frantically been packing, preparing the Christmas events (more about those later) and trying to finish last minute jobs at MAF (ok ok – I was mostly trying to fob those jobs off on other people… and it worked lol).
The MAF Staff Christmas Lunch today was a huge success, because we don’t count things like lost pans and mixed up times with food arrangements, and then losing people, keys and even entire vehicles just when we need them!! It was held in the MAF hangar (the engineers moved all the aircraft outside and set up the area beautifully), and I was the chief organiser for this event, but really, the real heroes were the ladies who rose to the occasion to cater, organise food, supply drinks, serve lunch to over 100 people, and then clean up afterwards.
They were amazing, and laughed and sang and argued and made up and blessed us all with the result of their efforts 🙂
It was exciting to have many families of national staff join us, and I had fun meeting wives, children and siblings of my colleagues. Some families have really been struggling to get enough food due to the recent
Emma & Alwyn serve drinks
drought (though this seems to be over, food takes a while to pick up and is still scarce or overly expensive), and it broke my heart to meet pregnant mothers and small children who are much too thin. I realised how important this lunch was, apart from fellowship and greetings from MAF, even just to give them a decent meal and a kind word. They were all smiles and graciousness, and I was humbled by the quiet strength and dignity of those who are living in difficult circumstances.
Little Drummer Boy… Or Not
Tonight, the few expat staff left in Hagen (many are on holiday) will gather for an evening of Carols by Candlelight. Somehow I have ended up agreeing to play piano for these, even though I can barely manage simple chords – I am much more comfortable behind a full blown drum kit! But the latter doesn’t go down too well as far as “Silent Night” is concerned, so I will do my best to accompany a few songs and hope that the voices do most of the carrying 😉
Tomorrow we will all gather for a shared lunch on my compound, and later that day I hope to visit friends for my last few days before I fly out of PNG.
Garia & Emma
Instead of a MAFer, I decided to introduce you to Garia, my lovely haus meri (house/cleaning lady). She comes every Friday morning and spends a few hours doing laundry, ironing, dusting, sweeping/mopping floors, and cleaning bathrooms – all while a delighted IJ dances around her feet, fights the iron cord, and tries to get into every cupboard she is wiping out! Garia is also a beautiful Christian woman, and when I was quite ill a few months ago, she quietly worked while I slept. I woke just before she left at lunchtime, just in time to hear her come and place her hand on my closed door, and pray over me for healing and strength. Beautiful.
I am very excited to be heading home to New Zealand soon!!! It has been a long year, and I have missed my crazy Italian/Scottish family terribly. It will also be nice to spend some time enjoying the things of NZ that I no longer take for granted…
While I am away, the “Weekly Updates” will not be in circulation, but I will likely post on my Kaleidoscope
blog, as well as Facebook 😉 And I will still be checking this email address.I’m back in PNG in February, so keep an eye out 😉
IJ helps with packing
Also, for those who have been concerned about my little adventurer, IJ will be happily staying home to play, as my friend Catherine and her husband Luke (MAF pilot) are house-sitting for me while I’m away – hopefully he will give them a pleasant stay, and not push toooo many boundaries…
Thank you all for your support, prayers and encouragement this year. So many times you have been the silver lining on a cloudy day, and I have been reminded over and over of God’s love and care through you. Thank you.
Every blessing to you and yours for a safe and happy Christmas!
May you never lose the wonder…