Plotinus in the Jungle

Story time with the Archbishop

A few weeks ago, the priests of the Archdiocese of Mount Hagen had a retreat at the seminary.  We were planning to take the Archbishop on a hike on Saturday morning, but it was raining, so we had a delightful story time instead.  We were all read the following stories in an urbane Australian accent:

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

A Small Miracle

Horton Hears a Who

The Miracle of Saint Nicholas

My favorite comment was when he switched from A Small Miracle to Horton Hears a Who: “Now we go from the sublime to the ridiculous . . .”  As a token of our appreciation, we fed him chili.


We had Bishop Young over before for reading.  I think the first book I tried him out on was Fox in Socks, whose successful reading he took up as a personal challenge!


A marvelous outing – Kimil waterfalls

Dear Reader,

We apologize for the dearth of posts of late.  Way back in January we went on hike that may be my (Brandon’s) favorite PNG excursion.  I told our neighbor John Ding that I was interested in going up a mountain behind a nearby town called Kimil.  John said that he would make arrangements with people at a village called Kondapina to take us up.  One Sunday a man from Kondapina came to the seminary and after mass, he guided us to his village.

They prepared some fruit to give us and some of the small children dressed up a little in traditional garb.  We told them that we wanted to go to the top of the mountain, but they decided that we should go see some waterfalls first.

On our way through the rolling foothills


This is the cascading stream that we followed. There was not really a trail, but we had a small village along to help us.

By the stream was a ‘bone cave’ a traditional place for hiding the bones of your ancestors.  This man is holding a human remain.  They were very eager to show them to us.

First waterfall

Our guides helped us get our children up the steep spots.

Some slight obstacles

Waterfall 2 from below

Waterfall 2 from above. My family did not attempt to scale the waterfall like this man did!

I left the family to enjoy waterfall 2 while I scrambled with some of the young men to the most remote of the waterfalls.  There was one place where they basically passed me to each other along a rock face.  I was able to get a good view of waterfall 3.  They went into it and a took a picture for me.

Where no white-skin has gone before . . .

Group picture

Our guides decided that we should go back by a different way and so proceeded to cut a new path through the jungle for us.  They said they would call it the “Brandon Road.”

CC enjoys the Brandon road

The road goes ever ever on, over rock and across gully . . .

Victory photo!

We then went back towards the village and met the progenitor of these happy people.

This papa ground told us about some bombs that landed in the valley in WWII.  One apparently made a small lake!  He said that he had four wives and I think almost all the people on our hike were related to him by blood or marriage.

We then returned to the cluster of houses where we left the car, only to find that the women had prepared a small mumu for us – chicken, pig, some vegetables.  They gave us the backbone to snack on and then loaded the truck with fruits, veggies, and a half a roast pig.  I was very touched by their generosity.  They explained that no white people had ever come to their village before.

Once back at the seminary, we divided up the pig among our neighbors in true PNG style.

Max the Cat

Starting Set-up

1 Game Description

A co-operative children’s game, which the box says is for 1-8 players. Players control a bird, mouse, and squirrel (the animals) which are trying to get home to their tree before Max the Cat eats them.  A player’s turn consists of rolling two dice, each of which has 3 green faces and 3 black faces.  The player then gets to move any animal of her choice one space forward for each green face showing and the cat forward one space for each black face showing.  In other words: 2 green=move two animals one space each or move one animal two spaces; 1 green + 1 black=move one animal one space and move the cat one space; 2 black=move the cat two spaces.  Movement is always forward.  The player chooses which token to move first.

Each animal has its own shortcut.  If the animal lands on its picture, it moves to the second picture (like a latter in Chutes and Latters).  If an animal is moved two spaces, you can chose to skip the shortcut.  If the cat lands on a shortcut space, it also takes the shortcut.  If the cat is next to a shortcut space, and two blacks are rolled, it automatically skips the shortcut.

When an animal reaches the end of the board, it goes to its home the next time it is moved and is then safe.  If the cat reaches the end of the board, then it sits there the rest of the game, waiting for the animals – who can jump over the cat if two greens are rolled.

At the beginning of a player’s turn (and only at the beginning) a player may place a cat treat on the board, which causes the cat to go back to start.  There are four treats.

Players win if all three animals get home.  Otherwise, the cat wins.  With children, the game takes about 10-15 minutes, unless a mistake is made and you decide to end as soon as an animal is eaten.  In that case, the game can be over in just a minute or two.

2. Strategy

The basic strategy is to use the spaces between the shortcuts as safe places for the animals.  Hopefully the cat will take the shortcut and then the animals can safely follow it, using a treat before the cat gets to the end of the board.  Players need to work together to come up with a strategy for moving the animals and using the treats.  This strategy must also be adapted to the dice rolls.  Luck is a big factor, since you can roll 2 greens thrice in a row or 3 blacks thrice in a row and have to use your treats.  You can think for sure that you are going to win or going to lose and then a string of rolls completely changes things.  The unpredictability can make the game exciting.  If all the cat treats are used and if only one animal is left, then players cease having choices and simply carry out the results of the dice roll, which is not as interesting.

Players simply take turns playing the game.  The game does not really play differently with one player than with two or more, since more players do not add new mechanics to the game.  The game is harder with multiple players, because new and younger players may not understand the strategy and everyone can lose if a player makes a poor decision.

The cat now waits for the bird. No choices are left for the players to make.

3. Theme

My daughter (6) identifies with the little animals and is distraught when the cat eats them.  The playing dynamic creates some anxiety and you often have to take risks regarding what is likely to be rolled.  The unpredictability of the die roll fits with the unpredictable nature of a cat.  Presumably, the same board design could be adapted to other themes, such as a zombie chasing victims and being lured away by brains or a dragon chasing dwarves and being delayed by hoarding its treasure or a Nazgul chasing hobbits who can call on four different allies to distract it, etc.

4. Components and set up

A small board, two dice (that you stick the faces on), three animal and one cat token, and four treat tokens.  I believe the games are handmade by a family in Canada.  The production value is amateurish, but is fine for an inexpensive children’s game.  I prefer the simple drawings to glossy CGI.  Set takes one minute or less.

5. Interaction between players

This is probably the weakest part of the game.  Players do not have to cooperate.  Players have nothing to do while waiting their turn.  I think that playing this game with more than 4 would be dull, though it is possible that the children could become invested in the animals.  There is the danger in an old or bossy player just ordering the others around.  I think the best way to play the game is for an adult to play with 1 or 2 children and help then to understand the possible outcomes of the dice rolls and to make choices.

6. Fun and what happens if you are losing?

The dice rolls and the cat not necessarily following the shortcuts make the game exciting.  Animals that you thought were safe suddenly are not.  Even if one animal is eaten, you can keep playing to see if you can save any.  As mentioned before, sometimes at the end game there are no longer any choices to be made, which is not much fun, though there can still be a surprise, as when an animal manages to jump over the cat and reach home.

7. Improvements

The game has a flaw in that the cat just sits at the last space and waits for the animals.  Perhaps under some circumstances, the cat would advance backwards up the board, chasing the animals from the other direction.  With the simple game dynamic, I am not sure how to make it more cooperative.

8. Whom is it for?

Max the Cat is a good teaching game.  The play is simple enough for young children (4) to play, though they will not understand the strategy.  The game teaches children to plan ahead for multiple contingencies – they need to think what will happen if 2 blacks are rolled, or 1 black is rolled, and then decide whether to give the cat a treat or maybe risk an animal being eaten.  Thus the game teaches risk management, which is a key concept for more advanced games.  This teaching aspect is what draws me to play this game with my daughters (6 and 3), who generally enjoy it.

  1. Family with kids – Recommended because the players have real choices. 3.5/5
  2. Casual gamer – Would this game be desirable for people without kids? No. 1/5
  3. Hardcore gamer – No, but this is a good game for training children some basic strategy 2/5
  4. Social gamer – It would be silly to get a game of Max the Cat  in between your Balderdash and Dixit. 1/5
    Bottomline: A not-very-cooperative cooperative game that can teach children elementary board game strategy.

Double Double

A quickie post to commemorate the fact that my children are, for the only time in their lives, exactly twice as old as each other. 1.5, 3, and 6. We had a little photoshoot in which there was always at least someone not cooperating.

This picture reminds me of their Uncle Ross, who had a no-teeth smile for all his elementary school pictures.

These two do SO much climbing these days. Tabitha spends at least half an hour in a tree each day.

Yes, Tobiah is 18 months old now.


He says single words: No, More, Down, Drop, Done, Up, Belbutton, Mouth, Door, Nurse, Ball, Duck, Mama, Dadda, Bye. He seems to understand simple Tok Pisin and his first Tok Pisin word is “gras” (hair).  He is a speedy walker and wishes he could climb trees like his sisters. He likes to play ring-around-the-rosie or any game that involves spinning. He loves to stare at bugs and caterpillars and to show them to other people with a big “OH!” Sticks and rocks are his favorite toys.

Tobiah down looking for stones and the girls up climbing something is pretty typical these days!


Favorite May Photos

There were some small milestones and other things worth documenting that happened in the last six weeks. Here’s a glimpse in slightly haphazard order.

Blowing out candles on the day of her birthday

Birthday sunglasses from Nonna

Enjoying the last of the guava harvest

Tabitha overcomes her fear of the tractor!

She even went for a little ride

It’s a treat to stay up to play a game with Daddy

We had talked about getting bunk beds for  a while, and even priced them out in town, but hadn’t done anything about it… but then I mentioned the idea to Michael Nolie, the station maintenance man, and he came over with some timbers and nailed one bed on top of the other! Problem solved.

Tabitha holds up her Pout-Pout Fish, with Margaret the tiger next to her

There’s more space and less arguing about who can see the pictures in bedtime stories

Some brief bedtime snuggles on the bottom bunk

Meanwhile, on the top bunk, Annie prepares to put her tooth under her pillow. 

Well, that’s a good bit of catch-up for now. More later!

Six and three, a fun party

Annie and Tabitha had a birthday party at the end of April.

The only extra text the bakery added this time was “God Bless!”

There was a picnic lunch, with cake, of course.

Singing to Tabitha with a friend from Banz Christian Academy

Blowing out six candles

Cutting the cake, very important

Can you say… sugar high?

Ruthie, our neighbor across the street, eats ice cream two-fisted

Afterwards everyone went down to the basketball court and played games.

Duck-duck goose

Brandon channels his inner camp counselor

Red-Light, Green-Light

Tobiah plays ball with Ruthie’s daddy

Freeze Tag

Blob Tag

A good time was had by all! A month later, Tabitha will look up at me and say “My friends came to my party! My and Annie’s party!”

Easter 2017

Jesus i kirap pinis.  Jesus is risen.

The seminary celebrated the resurrection of our Lord with a four-story bonfire made of dry bamboo (no pictures, alas), followed by the normal Saturday vigil mass.  Normally, the priest lights the fire and prays, and then we light our candles and go inside; but we just watched the fire in awe for awhile.  The bamboo crackled and splintered due to the air instead being heated, such that our resurrection fire sounded like fireworks!

The 16th was Annie’s sixth birthday.  She opened some presents with her siblings:

We went to the morning Easter service at the seminary.  Annie was especially happy.  She made up a little song about how she is the resurrection (Anastasia ἀναστασις is Greek for resurrection).

Then we went to our friends, the Crouches, for a great Easter meal.  We are especially grateful for them hosting us, since Dr. Mark had been up on call, saving lives, the night before.


Annie and Tabby will have a joint birthday party later this month.

Scriptural Stations of the Cross

My family and I led the Scriptural Stations of the Cross at the bi-monthly service for missionaries two Sundays ago at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital.  Here is our program.  Annie read the opening prayer.  Have a blessed Holy Week!

Opening Prayer:

God of power and mercy,
in love you sent your Son
that we might be cleansed of sin
and live with you forever.
Bless us as we gather to reflect
on his suffering and death
that we may learn from his example
the way we should go.

We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord.


First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Minister: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:36-41)

Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.

For it is for thy sake that I have borne reproach,
that shame has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my brethren,
an alien to my mother’s sons.

For zeal for thy house has consumed me,
and the insults of those who insult thee have fallen on me. (Psalm 69)

What Wondrous Love is This, Verse 1:

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul?

Minister:Lord, grant us your strength and wisdom,
that we may seek to follow your will in all things

All:Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

Second Station: Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, is Arrested

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: Then, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “the man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.(Mark 14: 43-46)
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief,
my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,
and my bones waste away.

11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries,
a horror to my neighbors,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
13 Yea, I hear the whispering of many—
terror on every side!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life. (Psalm 31)

What Wondrous Love is This, verse 2:
When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
when I was sinking down, sinking down;
when I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul.

Minister: Lord,grant us the courage of our convictions
that our lives may faithfully reflect the good news you bring.

All:Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.


Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us,” but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth.”
(Luke 22: 66-71)

12 “Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,
because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions;
he reproaches us for sins against the law,
and accuses us of sins against our training.
13 He professes to have knowledge of God,
and calls himself a child of the Lord.
14 He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;
15 the very sight of him is a burden to us,
because his manner of life is unlike that of others,
and his ways are strange.
16 . . . he calls the last end of the righteous happy,
and boasts that God is his father.
17 Let us see if his words are true,
and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;
18 for if the righteous man is God’s son, he will help him,
and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.
19 Let us test him with insult and torture,
that we may find out how gentle he is,
and make trial of his forbearance.
20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death,
for, according to what he says, he will be protected.” (Wisdom of Solomon 2)

Ah, Holy Jesus, Verse 1:
Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted!

Lord, grant us your sense of righteousness
that we may never cease to work
to bring about the justice of the kingdom that you promised.

Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by Peter

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: 54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance; 55 and when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 Then a maid, seeing him as he sat in the light and gazing at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later some one else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22)

16 Answer me, O Lord, for thy steadfast love is good;
according to thy abundant mercy, turn to me.
17 Hide not thy face from thy servant;
for I am in distress, make haste to answer me.
18 Draw near to me, redeem me,
set me free because of my enemies!

19 Thou knowest my reproach,
and my shame and my dishonor;
my foes are all known to thee.
20 Insults have broken my heart,
so that I am in despair.
I looked for pity, but there was none;
and for comforters, but I found none.
21 They gave me poison for food,
and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. (Psalm 69)

Ah, Holy Jesus. Verse 2:
Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!
‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.

Minister:Lord, grant us the gift of honesty
that we may not fear to speak the truth even when difficult.

Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.” The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of.” Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed…. Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barrabas… [and] handed [Jesus] over to be crucified.
(Mark 15: 1-5, 15)

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53)

Ah, Holy Jesus. Verse 4:
For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Minister: Lord, grant us discernment
that we may see as you see, not as the world sees.

Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns

Minister: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,”Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly.
(John 19: 1-3)

13 Behold, my servant shall prosper,
he shall be exalted and lifted up,
and shall be very high.
14 As many were astonished at him—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the sons of men—
15 so shall he startle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they shall see,
and that which they have not heard they shall understand. (Isaiah 52)

O Sacred Head, Verse 1:
O sacred head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, your only crown.
O sacred head, what glory
and blessing you have known!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I claim you as my own.

Minister:Lord, grant us patience in times of suffering
that we may offer our lives as a sacrifice of praise.

Seventh Station: Jesus Bears the Cross

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.” … They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.
(John 19: 6, 15-17)

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53)

When I survey the Wondrous Cross, verse 1
When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

Lord, grant us strength of purpose
that we may faithfully bear our crosses each day.

Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross

Minister: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: As they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon the Cyrenean who was coming in from the fields. They put a crossbeam on Simon’s shoulder for him to carry along behind Jesus.” —Luke 23:26

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter, and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men.”

34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?[c] 37 For what can a man give in return for his life? (Mark 8)

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, verse 2:
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
save in the death of Christ, my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them through his blood.

Minister: Lord, grant us willing spirits
that we may be your instruments on earth.

Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Minister: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time, people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?”
(Luke 23: 27-31)

10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born. 11 On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Ha′dad-rim′mon in the plain of Megid′do. 12 The land shall mourn, each family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; . . . 14 and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves. 1 On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. (Zechariah 12-13)

When I survey the Wondrous Cross, verse 3:
See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Lord, grant us gentle spirits
that we may comfort those who mourn.

Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Luke 23: 33-34)

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Why art thou so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but thou dost not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.

But I am a worm, and no man;
scorned by men, and despised by the people.
All who see me mock at me,
they make mouths at me, they wag their heads;
“He committed his cause to the Lord; let him deliver him,
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax,
it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
thou dost lay me in the dust of death.

16 Yea, dogs are round about me;
a company of evildoers encircle me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my raiment they cast lots. (Psalm 22)

Where you there, verse 1:
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Minister:Lord, grant us merciful hearts
that we may bring your reconciliation and forgiveness to all.

Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23: 39-43)

17 “For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth;
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice for ever
in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing,
and her people a joy.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the child shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
23 They shall not labor in vain,
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
and their children with them.
24 Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 65)

Jesus, Remember Me (2 times):

Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom
Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom

Lord, grant us perseverance
that we may never stop seeking you.

Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19: 25-27

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I ate.” 14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all cattle,
and above all wild animals;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3)

Were you there, verse 2:
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailied him to the tree?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Minister: Lord, grant us constancy
that we may be willing to stand by those in need.

Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Reader: It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. (Luke 23: 44-46)

After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mori′ah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and took with him his son Isaac; and he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. . . . And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for the offering, my son.” (Genesis 22)

Were you there, verse 4:
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
Minister:Lord, grant us trust in you
that when our time on earth in ended
our spirits may come to you without delay.

Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

Minister:We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

All:Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed. (Matthew 27: 57-60)

And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him;
he has put him to grief;
when he makes himself an offering for sin,
he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand;
11     he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous;
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he poured out his soul to death,
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Were you there, verse 5:
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Minister:Lord, grant us your compassion
that we may always provide for those in need.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ,
your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven
and reconciles all people to you.
May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries
follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven
where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.



How Great Thou Art, Verse 3:

And when I think that God, his Son not sparing, sent him to
die, I scare can take it in.  That on the cross, my burden gladly
bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee: How great thou art! How great thou are!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee: How great thou art! How great thou are!


the famous one

Anastasia’s fifteen minutes of fame should get some airtime on the blog, I suppose.

Annie’s dance team was invited to dance at another guesthouse opening, like they did in Minj.  This guesthouse was in Banz, and we assumed that there would be two to four singsing groups there. We got to the rugby field to find it mobbed by people and dance teams.

Warming up in an empty lot across the street

Listening to directions

Each dance team processed into the rugby field past the grandstand through a huge crush of people culminating at a narrow gate. This entrance took it out of Annie somewhat, so we sneaked her out the back door and fed her a sausage flour in a kai bar, away from curious eyes. Refreshed by the golden batter fresh from the fryer, she ventured back in. Miriam commented, “Now she is dancing well.”

Apparently many other people thought so too, as a crowd three or four deep began to form:

Yes, Annie is in there somewhere

The crowd followed along as the team danced its way around the rugby field. Some commotion started up by the grandstand: the Minister for Tourism had arrived! He brought with him a reporter from the Post-Courier, a TV crew from NBC Papua New Guinea, and a drone.

There were announcements from the grandstand: “Do not be afraid. It will not harm you. It is only taking your picture.”

Pretty soon, the Tourism Minister was standing in front of Annie to watch her group!

Tourism minister, at right, in lei. Anastasia, at left, turning around for dramatic drum hit.

He gave Annie K100 as a prize for dancing well, and she used some of it to buy soft drinks for the whole team when they were done. Miriam and I were both interviewed by the reporter, and a few days later, Annie showed up in the newspaper, complete with a lead on the first page! “Girl, Age 6, Promotes PNG Culture”.

Our neighbor, John Ding, also reported catching a glimpse of her singing during a segment on NBC PNG about the guesthouse opening and the activities of the Minister for Tourism.

Fr. Michael Anis, the former parish priest in Banz, used to call Anastasia “the famous one”… it gets truer all the time!

Satisfied with a job well done

Guava Season: Photo Essay