Preaching adventures

Posted on June 10, 2014 by Global Mission Support

Ann Klavano

The Rev. Ann Klavano

The Rev. Ann Klavano is an ELCA missionary serving at the Senior Flierl Seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea. Here is an entry from her blog, New Guinea Call. To support Ann, or another of the ELCA’s more than 240 missionaries in the global church, click here.

Going to Kwalansawa

I am the leader of a Waspapa group, or in my case a Wasmama group. In this role I act as an advisor for some students and their families. Members of the staff also participate. We get together every other Wednesday night to worship together. I also look over the men’s exegeses and preaching manuscripts.

One of our activities each year is going to a congregation in the region and doing the service for them. Since they usually don’t have phones, planning is an interesting exercise in oral communication. This year we went to the home area (asples) of Asemba, one of our staff members. Fortunately, he took care of the organization part – talking to someone who would talk with the church leaders. Then the church leaders sent word back via this friend.

My Waspapa group has only seven students, but they, along with Asemba, have many children (11, I think). This means that we were able to take the school truck. Otherwise adults are considered able to walk. However, this village was about 15 kilometers away, so it would have been quite a walk! Some groups walk to their church on Saturday and then walk home after church on Sunday. Since it is the rainy season, the drive was quite an adventure. Fortunately, Asemba is the school driver and knows the roads so he did an excellent job of getting us there. The road is muddy and several of the crossings had some water on them. At one crossing we had the high school-aged sons of Asemba walk across first so we were able to see how deep the water was. Otherwise we would have had to wait until the water went down.

I did the preaching and the students did the rest of the service. I have several excellent students and they did a great job of organizing and presenting everything. Two of the Year 5 students came Saturday night and helped straighten out the language in my sermon manuscript.

The church was open-air like many of the churches here. The side walls go up to only about waist high. Then it is open air from there to the ceiling. There is a wide, covered area outside the church. During the worship I was wondering why there were so few women in the church. Then when I got up to preach I saw that many of the women were sitting on benches outside. There were few children at worship, so I assume they were in Sunday school. There is a high birthrate in Papua New Guinea, so normally there are children everywhere. Several dogs did wander in and out.

Afterward we went to the covered platform area in the center of the town. They provided us with lovely food. This included the usual staples of corn, sweet potatoes and cooked bananas. There was also some luxury food like rice. A real treat for me was all the fish as the village is on the ocean. Afterward they sent us home with bags of sweet potatoes, taro and other foods that travel well. Since this is a time that food shortages are common, it was very much appreciated by the students and their families. The gift also included buai, or betel nut, which most adults here chew. I haven’t started chewing it, so they gave me some lovely grapefruit instead.

Preaching on 2 Kings

I preached on 2 Kings 2:1-11 at morning chapel on Friday, May 30. One difference with week-day preaching is that I have to (get to?) preach on texts that I do not know as well as the Sunday texts. This last year is the first time I have preached from Revelations and 2 Kings. It is a good thing I still use a proof reader for my Tok Pisin. Among the mistakes I had made was confusing “to surprise” (kirap) with “dance” (kalap). So the priest of Baal was surprising around the altar and the disciples were dancing while Jesus ascended into heaven. Actually, the second one has some good theological potentials!