Christmas from Japan to Papua New Guinea

headshot-jayna-breighBy Jayna Breigh

Long before my husband (let’s call him Bill) and I ever met, Bill seriously considered being a missionary aviator. To prepare for his possible life as a missionary he learned to fly by taking private flying lessons at a little municipal airport. He also spent a year in Japan teaching English through his denomination.

Bill spent one Christmas in Japan while on this mission and remembers it well. Christmas was not a “legal” holiday there like it is here. Banks didn’t close and children had to go to school. I asked Bill if there were decorations and gift exchanges. He said there were secular decorations—Santas and reindeer, but no gifts. As he put it, there were the trappings of Christmas without the Christianity.

image-of-wakyama

Wakyama

Bill did have a very moving remembrance of his one Christmas in Japan. He was working at a Church in Wakayama City (the capital of the Prefecture of Wakayama–yes it has the same name twice like New York, New York). Wakayama City is a seaside city in Southern Japan, about an hour’s train ride from Osaka. On top of the church was a large illuminated cross visible to boats and ships in the Pacific Ocean. A Pakistani Christian sailor saw the cross from his ship in the harbor and joined the congregation of Bill’s church for their Christmas Eve service.

It did not work out for Bill to be a missionary aviator. One of the requirements to fly (at least at that time) was that the pilot had to be married, which Bill was not. The concern of the mission’s agency was that the isolation and depravations of mission life would prove to be too severe a temptation to a single man. Flash forward to today.  Bill ultimately became a commercial airline pilot. And our family now supports a missionary aviation family in Papua, New Guinea. The husband transports medical supplies, translators, Bibles, and other goods. He also flies medical personnel into remote areas and flies sick people out. His wife homeschools their four children. If I had met my husband years earlier, this could have been my life. And just like the missionaries we support, we would have spent Christmas in a remote village, far away from friends and family, far from modern conveniences, far from American commercialism, and surrounded by traditions that are so foreign to the way we were raised.

papua_new_guinea_map

Papua, New Guinea

I took the time to look back through four years of newsletters to see how our missionaries celebrated Christmas in Papua, New Guinea. Since it is in the Southern Hemisphere, it is summertime when Christmas is celebrated. The photographs in the Christmas newsletters of our Papua, New Guinea missionaries show green grass and lush vegetation in the middle of what is our winter here.

In the states, even if someone lives in a seasonally warm state like Arizona, Christmas is still marked with scenes of Winter, songs about snow and the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. And whether one is religious or not, the basis for the celebration of Christmas — the birth of Jesus Christ — is understood. In Papua, New Guinea, it is different. There are more than 850 languages in Papua, New Guinea, the most in the world. Yet, the Bible remains untranslated in approximately 300 of them. That means in these places there isn’t even a written Christmas Story for the people to read if they wanted to.

And this is part of Christmas around the world.

Writing Prompt: He pushed send on the application for the Missionary aviation position. He’d put a name on the application in the space marked “wife.” But, he hadn’t actually given her the ring that was currently in his pocket. In fact, he hadn’t introduced himself to her yet…

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Guinea


 

headshot-jayna-breighJayna is a wife, home educator, and an attorney who practiced in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles for more than a decade.  Currently she resides in the Southeast with her husband and two children.  Jayna enjoys online word tile games and British period dramas.

Jayna has spoken at women’s retreats, led women’s Bible studies, and has taught and facilitated women’s and parenting seminars on topics ranging from sharing the faith, life skills management, and mother daughter relationships. She is also a member of the ACFW.

Her current work in progress is a Finalist in the Inspirational category of the First Coast Romance Writers 2016, Beacon Contest, and took Second Place in the Central Ohio Fiction Writers 2016, Ignite the Flame Contest. You can connect with Jayna at www.JaynaBreigh.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/JaynaBreigh.

3 Questions Wednesday with Jayna Breigh

headshot-jayna-breighPlease welcome attorney and author, Jayna Breigh, to 3 Questions Wednesday.

Glad you could join us, Jayna. First question:

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Jayna: I have a thing for reading the Introductions to books and the Acknowledgement section. Interestingly, I have been fortified by small nuggets of writing advice found in books having nothing to do with the craft of writing. In the Acknowledgments to The Songs of Jesus by Timothy Keller and his wife Kathy Keller, Kathy says she and her husband were behind schedule with their writing right from the start of the project. Been there! Then she candidly admits that the first draft was, “unfortunately, awful−crammed full of information and ideas on every page that it was a dense as a haiku…” Guilty again. Their editor, “rightly rejected it because the format was too complex and not accessible enough.” Imagine, multi-published nationally renowned authors have their works rejected, make massive rewrites, have to start from scratch? The final product of all of their revisions and hard work is a beautiful and fortifying devotional that I have been loving for the past half a year.

The second nugget came as my children and I were listening to the audio book version of Watership Down by Richard Adams. Adams stated he submitted his manuscript, “to one publisher after another as well as to several literary agents. It was rejected again and again (seven times in all), always on the same ground…” Then Adams said this, “I refused to alter the draft in any way, and went on knocking on doors.” Amazing. He decided to believe in himself and what he wrote. How encouraging. Sometimes people just don’t get what we’ve written. If we’ve done our part−had it edited, critiqued, polished−we should have confidence in our effort. There is more in the Introduction, but there is not space here. In any event, Watership Down went on to win, among other prizes, the 1972 Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognizing the year’s best children’s book and the annual Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

I love the novel Watership Down! 🙂 Such a wonderful allegory. Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Jayna: I am an introvert, but I can talk to anyone and I find almost everyone fascinating. As a lawyer I took hundreds of depositions. Meaning, I sat in a room and asked strangers questions for hours on end. Everyone has done something interesting. And, once you find the right question to determine that thing, you can talk to them for hours about it.

That’s such an encouraging talent. Last question:

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Jayna: One of two things would happen if you came to my house for dinner. We would either have takeout, or my husband would bustle me off to the side and commandeer the entire production. I don’t know what you would have. But, either way, I know you would like it.

So glad you dropped by! Jayna has graciously offered to give someone a $10 Amazon gift card just for commenting on her interview.  Comment below and be entered…


headshot-jayna-breighJayna Breigh is a wife, home educator, and an attorney who practiced in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles for more than a decade.  Currently she resides in the Southeast with her husband and two children.  Jayna enjoys online word tile games and British period dramas.

Jayna has spoken at women’s retreats, led women’s Bible studies, and has taught and facilitated women’s and parenting seminars on topics ranging from sharing the faith, life skills management, and mother daughter relationships. She is also a member of the ACFW. Her current work in progress is a Finalist in the Inspirational category of the First Coast Romance Writers 2016, Beacon Contest, and took Second Place in the Central Ohio Fiction Writers 2016, Ignite the Flame Contest. You can connect with Jayna at www.JaynaBreigh.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/JaynaBreigh.