Happy 4th

What did you all do on the 4th?
send us an email so we can celebrate with you in spirit? (yesterday was our 4th of July) owens at

thought of home yesterday as one of the families here had a 4th of July bung (boong...get together).

A lot of Americans gathered at one home, picnic style. We grilled on the Australian grill (a flat grill, what we would call a skillet, not an American bbq grill because they are hard to come by) It was covered in hamburgers and hotdogs and steaks and chicken.

Kendal baked apple pies....and they were mighty tasty.

There must have been about 80 Americans there.
For fireworks later the older kids stuck steel wool in the fire until it got red hot, then spun it around on a chain. It looked a lot like the chinese fire wheels, spinning fire... it was fun to see.

The organizer coaxed many to sing American patriotic songs. You really have to be more deliberate here because the holidays sneak up on you.

Without the television and radio ads, and stores selling products, you almost forget a holiday is coming up. For us of course it wasn't a day off of work, we're jsut one nationality here of several.

There was a moment of homesickness as I realized that it was July and didn't feel like summer (it's winter here) during that moment though, I looked over and saw my wife singing American patriotic songs about the Revolutionary war, shoulder to shoulder with the vice principal of the primary school who is from England.

A Brit and an American singing the American national anthem, shoulder to shoulder, in Papua New Guinea.
The awe of that moment, blew away any homesickness I was feeling.
I don't think they realized the significance of it. They were representing opposite sides of a war, singing a song about the war of independence, in peaceful harmony. God brings people together, time heals wounds.

The opportunity to be near so many different cultures provides us with different moments of admiration for God's creation.
I looked out over the rolling green hills that were the view of this person's back yard, and smiled at the sunset. I smiled at Sydney and Calvin running around with sparklers. (Someone had saved them for such an occasion, probably for as long as a year) I smiled at eating apple pie. I laughed at eating hot dogs which didn't really taste like hotdogs, but no one was complaining. (it's near impossible to get a good American beef frankfurter here).

It feels a little odd celebrating the freedom of your home country when you're so far away from it. But we did, we spent time together in prayer thanking God for the freedom to share Christ. For the men and women who died to protect those freedoms, and for protection of those in harm's way now for the same reasons.

Then we prayed, that we would be good witnesses for Christ where we are now, and good representatives of our country as well. Many here don't have the roots of a home country because they've moved around so much. I was speaking with a new friend of mine, who was born dutch, in Peru, grew up in peru, but lived in villages, and now is serving in PNG. Where is his home? He spent a few years in Tennessee, and that's where he tells folks he's from because that's where his dad is from. Gives you a new perspective on national pride... it's a privilege to come from a place... especially if that place is America.

We prayed for America's leadership. There may be a lot of America bashing in America itself. We all have things we dislike about our own country, we have the freedom to criticize, and that is part of what makes our country great. It's a country that maintains it's freedoms, even if those freedoms are used to do it harm.

I have gained a perspective that I held only loosely before regarding politics and government. Being in a country where currently we are able to share Christ, spread the Gospel and are not held in contempt to do so, is a luxury. The government can change any moment on us here, it is election time in this country. And the new officials can decide to forget their history, to ignore the good that has come to this country with this organization's presence, and dispel us.

This is not a real threat, so don't be alarmed, but we could very easily lose our freedoms quickly should the wrong sequence of events occur. Which is why, my perspective on freedom has intensified. While we enjoy the freedom to share Christ, we shall use it.

God has put it on our hearts to be here, He has provided the freedom both from our home country to get here, and the host country to stay here, and do what we're doing.

We thank God for that opportunity and we pray for those living in less free countries who are putting their lives at risk for doing what God has called them to do.

Today's prayer request is that God's light would shine in all countries to all nations and that those He uses to shine it, would be protected.

Happy 4th of July!