My friend Christy hosted a Christmas party for all the helpers who work for the MAF families in Sentani. I gave a short devotion, and then there were crafts and snacks. It was a blessing to see these men and women who work so hard for us relax and enjoy themselves.
Christmas was also celebrated with Christmas plays...
an MAF Christmas party where the kids sang...
...and David spoke. Most churches and organizations have a theme for their Christmas program, and MAF's was "The King has come."
Grace played the flute in the middle school band concert...
..and there were Christmas parties in the elementary school. A toilet paper snowman is as close as we get to the real thing!
We enjoyed an MAF Christmas cookout on base.
And we took a shopping trip to the big city of Jayapura where we saw some interesting Christmas decorations like this white tree (the kids call them "ghost trees" because at night when they're lit up they seem to sway in a ghostly way).
A Christmas tradition in Papua is to make a pondok Natal, or Christmas hut. This one, apparently sponsored by Honda, was very elaborate. Usually there's Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus, sometimes joined by Santa or the Wise Men, and often Christmas music is blaring.
Every year there seems to be something different sold on the side of the street at Christmastime. This year it was all kinds of lights.
On Christmas Eve we kept our tradition of decorating Christmas cookies. Can you spot the one inspired by Lord of the Rings?
Other goodies included a cheeseball, and bacon on Christmas morning.
St. Nicholclaus (as Zoe calls him) was good to us all this year.
After opening presents on Christmas morning, we did some visiting per Indonesian tradition. This is Pak Onong and his family. Onong works as MAF's flight scheduler.
We enjoyed Christmas dinner with some friends who have a tradition of exchanging presents that are very elaborately wrapped. You also must come up with a clever poem about the gift's recipient. Luke's gift was sewed up in a rice bag.
I love this little roadside stand. It has everything you need for Papuan Christmas: noisemakers, fireworks, Santa hats, cookies for visitors, and decorations.
So our Christmas wasn't exactly what it would be if we were in the U.S., but we were thankful for our time as a family, and with friends who are like family.
We wish you a Selamat Hari Natal dan Tahun Baru 2014!