Living at the center of town has more than its share of perks. Not only is the high school right across the street, but the meeting hall is, too. And on Sundays, people from all over Ukarumpa flock there to worship.
There are two services. The first is the Tok Pisin service – mostly for the local Papua New Guineans who live on site (the last figure I heard was over 200) – which is all in Tok Pisin (the local language). I didn’t go to it this morning (I might try it next week), but I had the pleasure of listening to all the singing from my open window whilst munching merrily on breakfast.
The English service is next, starting around 10:45 or so in the morning. Every week, I’m told, the service is organized and run by different folks in the community, so the flavor changes from service to service. Today’s service was grand, just grand. Simple music (and songs I knew for the most part), a time of celebration for a recent PNG Bible dedication (the culmination of a 13 year translation project), and a thoughtful sermon from one of the high school science teachers (on a story from Ezekiel).
Two separate ladies I spoke with told me that what they love about church in Ukarumpa is the fact that denominational differences are never an issue. “My sons grew up not even really knowing there were denominations,” said the first. “When they went to college in America, they were shocked by all the denominational tensions.” The second simply said that returning here after her recent trip back home was, all in all, completely refreshing.
From the few hours I spent at the service today and at a family’s house (for burgers) afterwards, I couldn’t agree more.