Friday, April 15, 2011

Western High Schoolers Unleashed into Papuan Villages

It made me cry this week to see the photos of the high school kids that I still know in Papua, so I got permission from one of them to post some of their photos here. They just returned from the year's "Outdoor Education", a trip out of the city that the international school is located in and into remote villages. It used to be a sort of adventure and ministry trip, but in my last year there they implemented more of the "education" part of it, which is great.

Now they do language study and get some basic understanding of linguistics, which is fascinating:

And they study some botany and biology and such in the local flora and fauna:
Pitcher Plant - the kind that "eats" insects...

And they bring in medical supplies and a doctor and do basic medical work, which is such a privilege and a huge need - these villages have no medical care.

It's always such an adventure - my last OE was 10 years ago (I can't believe it!) and I remember so many of these experiences. This year the high school took a boat to the area they were working in, and we did that when I was a freshman.

It's a massive boat and we always stay in the economy class, essentially rows of beds. When you're in high school and socializing is your top priority, it's amazingly fun.

It's really SUCH an amazing trip every time. I mean... in high school and you are seeing sights like this:

and hanging out like this:

and meeting these people:

What made me cry, though, was slowly going through the photos of the baptism that the high schoolers got to attend. This is a tribe that had no outside interaction when I got to Papua. When I left a couple of families had just moved in and begun learning the language. Ten years later, there is a national-led church and this year a flood of people who want to know Jesus and be baptized. 40-some baptisms...

That is beautiful to me. Today I was reading the history of baptism and catechism during the Lenten season. It's incredible to think that for 2000 years, from Rome to Papuan villagers, we are buried with Him in death and raised alive in Christ. I was baptized in a muddy Papuan pond like that.

As I was flipping through the photos Phil Wickham's song, "You're Beautiful" came on, and this verse...

"When we arrive at eternity's shore, where death is just a memory and tears are no more, we'll enter in as the wedding bells ring, Your bride will come together and we'll sing, "You're beautiful.""

I love the global nature of the Bride of Christ. I love that Papuan villagers are loved by God.


jenabroad said...

These are really beautiful - especially the last ones about the baptisms! Thanks for sharing. Isn't it amazing the experiences we've had as MKs? And they all seemed so normal when we were living them.

Kacie said...

For sure, Jen. I completely agree. The normality of it amazes me now.