Sunday, July 27, 2008

Party in Paradise

-One very large mumu pit.

-One truck load of stones to heat the pit.

-One truck load of firewood to heat the stones.
-Four pigs.

-Dozens of friends, preparing food, firewood, cooking pit, working all night long.

-60 stalks of cooking bananas.

-70 chickens.

-Countless sweet potatoes, taro roots, cabbages, greens.
-Three hundred sixty guests.

All that adds up to one big party!

Sam's "PNG Papa and Mama," Simon and Esther Tausi organized the whole thing. A big group from Esther's home village came down on Thursday.

Many people from the hospital staff and from the community got involved. Many, many gave chickens, stalks of bananas, and lots of other produce.
Pastor Robert Kia shared a
few words from scripture. Papa Simon and friend Pastor John gave tearful speeches. Papa Andy did his best to be cheerful--my slogan was "bihain krai, nau amamas" ("cry later, have fun now").

There were dozens of gifts, including 12 bilums (colorful string bags, very time-consuming hand work), PNG artifacts, and cash ranging from small coins to wads of bills.
Sam will miss PNG terribly. Many Papua New Guineans will miss him just as much. But their hearts will be warmed by memories of this day.


Yours and His,




1. Sam with "PNG Papa and Mama" Simon and Esther Tausi
2. Sam with friends Tukni and Pil (and grandaughter)
3. Just a portion of the food given for the mumu. I counted about 47 stalks of cooking bananas in this pile alone. Many more were given, besides the 20 that we bought
4. Judy, Gail Dooley and summer visitor Britany Hart, peeling sweet potatoes
5. Our friend Meti preparing greens
6. The crew placing hot rocks and the food in the coking pit. The pit was so large that they had to make bamboo "bridges" over it, because they couldn't reach the middle from the edges.
7. Sam and some of the other men cutting up the pork
8. Pastor Robert Kia praying for Sam
9. Sam speaking to the crowd
10. Gola, chief of the Kuma tribe, and Wusik, chief of the Sikang tribe, leading the guests to the food line
11. The crowd going through the serving line
12. Display with photos of Sam

Sunday, July 6, 2008


The big day has come, and now almost gone. The tradition here on Kudjip station, is that when an MK graduates, he or she is honored at one of the once-per-month English worship services. The parents plan the service. I say "tradition": that what's happened with the two previous graduates in the 5 years that we've lived here.

So today was Sam's day. There were some graduation decorations at the pot luck prior to the service, including a beautiful cake. Gail Dooley had made a "memory" book, with messages from many of his friends. There was a display of photos.

In the service there were tearful comments from both of his parents. I read Psalm 127: 3-5, and said that if children are a reward from God, I can't imagine what I ever did to deserve such a reward as I have received. Judy shared some thing about Sam that she will always remember: falling in love with a small photograph sent to us from Korea; a 4 year-old asking her to "tell me more about Jesus"; the day and the place along the road where they pulled over in the old white Plymouth Voyager and Sam asked Jesus to come into his heart; lots of laughs; a 10 year-old boy wanting his very own call from God if he were to leave his friends and move to PNG; an alusion to a suicidal pig in the back of a truck that many of us didn't understand too well.

There was a slide show (including photos from long ago) accompanied by a couple of Sam's favorite contemporary Christian songs. There were songs; "My Tribute" in English, and "Long Marimari Bilong God" in Pidgin, and a special song sung by "Uncle" Jeff Myers. Sam even made a very concise speech (very concise), thanking the missionary family for their contribution to his life. There was a time of prayer lead by "Uncle" Scott Dooley.

His fellow MKs read scripture passages that are special to Sam: Deuteronomy 6:5 (Sam's "life verse"), 2 Peter 1:2, Philippians 4:19, Ephesians 5:1-2, Daniel 1:8, Jeremiah 29:11, and Philippians 4:4-7.

Brother John Alt, missionary with the Evangelical Brotherhood Church (the EBC is a Swiss denomination, and they call their pastors "Brother"), preached. He made some funny, but true comments on the international nature of the group present, with folks from PNG (a large group of our national friends were there), US, Canada, India, Wales. He joked that since the Swiss are famous for their neutrality, he was the logical choice to preach. He then shared a message on the trustworthiness of God, illustrated by 15 of the more than 200 names for God in the Bible.

The closing prayer was sweetly offered by Sam's "PNG Papa," Simon Tausi.

Lots of tears. Lots of love.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Party Planning in Paradise

15 stalks of cooking bananas at K20 per stalk: K300
3 pigs (1 gaint, 1 medium, 1 medium-small) complicated combination of gifts and purchases
40-50 chickens: many will be gifts, but we may have to buy 10: K200
Kumu (edible greens): K30
Kaukau (sweet potatoes): K40
Firewood (2 trees worth): K60

Assorted utensils and containers: K75
Refreshments for the friends who will be working through night to prepare the food: K30
The chance to watch Sam's PNG friends congratulate Sam for graduating and bid him farewell: priceless.

Any of you who can make it to Sam's combination graduation-going away mumu, come on by.

Yours and His,

#1 Cooked food being sorted into serving containers
#2 Veggies in the leaf-lined pit--see the steam already starting to rise from the hot rocks in the pit?
#3 The pig's head--given as a gift to honor or thank a guest at the mumu