Dancing with Nakingai

By Elizabeth Evans.

The hills around Maprik are delightfully dressed in dense folliage,watered most afternoons by tropical rains.

Hence I was in  a happy place as we ascended the track to a new congregation of Christians at the top of the incline.

Yes it was a “puff” to get there but in the Sixties I was young and “skinny!”

Kulingei was the prettiest of villages; the thatch houses, neat and tidy, and  the surroundings swept clean.

Hospitality was generously afforded in the form of a drink of  cooling coconut water from a village palm.

We worshipped God together in a rather limited musical scale, but overwhelmingly sincere.

It was wonderful.

This  story starts on the decline of the mountain track.

The muddy path was very sticky.

With careful tread I made my way down and unexpectedly my shoes lost their  grip on the mud.

Ever so slowly I began to slide which gave me ample time to think through my predicament.

This was not going to end well.

As my pace  gained momentum thoughts ran riot.

Will I go down this path on my bottom or flat on my face?

Will I break a leg? Will I sustain a head injury? How will I get medical help?

There were no phones or ambulances.

Like a run-away train  my speed accelerated. O dear, will my landing be modest!

Into my predicament swooped Nakingai, a village pastor.

At full pace behind me he soon caught up and placing his arm through the crook of my elbow we began our graceful dance down the mountain, swaying in duet .(Eat your heart out “Swan Lake”)

The finale was a neat little pirouette and a bow of thanks at the base of the track, followed by applause by the bystanders.

This memory brings to mind how many in the church are feeling in our current dilemma.

We have moved from a very happy secure and beautiful place to a slippery slide of predicaments that are making us feel that we are not in control.

We are confronted with questions like; Should I conform to the Government wishes?

What will happen if I get the vaccine? What will happen if I don’t get the vaccine?

Should I? Should I not? Will I lose my Job?

Is it of the devil or is it a blessing to prevent an uncontrollable pandemic?

Am I lacking in faith if I wear a mask?

Am I being rebellious if I don’t?

I can be in church online in my pyjamas, or should I make the effort to be in church?

Is medical advice good for us?

Are politicians evil people taking away our rights as citizens?

Is this the Mark of the Beast?

Will the vaccine kill my immune system?

Will it affect my ovaries?

What will be the long term outcomes? And etc. etc.

Diverse judgements will be made and  is ok to express opinions. There is room for a respectful conversation  but love , respect and understanding will always be the true mark of the christian community.

I had no answers to my questions as I slid slowly down that mountain in Kulingei and I have no desire to  give you answers to your questions.

The local PNG  pastor didn’t pull me out of my serious predicament but arm in arm we went down together.

I was safe in his protection. He was strong. He knew the way. He was in control.

Ah yes, God is with us. He knows the end from the beginning.

My prayer for you through this unprecedented time is that you will know the peace, and confidence that God has His strong hand in the crook of your arm and He will be with you as you navigate this season in your life.

May He give you wisdom, guide, protect and bless you.

One word of advice given by my much loved mother in law – “KEEP SWEET” she would say!

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