4th of July, 2005

Here in Vanuatu, July 4th is normally just a regular day. Even we weren’t keeping up with the American Independence Day as things here just don’t allow for it. But Eddie Karris of Eton village wanted to have a special independence celebration to show the people of Vanuatu what independence means to us as Americans (the Vanuatu Independence Day is July 30th and is a really big deal here so the theme fits quite well). We had Wayne Burger bring some small flags, sparklers and other goodies for the kids here to be given after the dinner (a special thanks to Shawnda's mom, Nancy, for donating all the fun stuff!).

As part of the celebration, the Americans sang the national anthem, spoke about America’s history and the flag. Small American flags were handed out to the locals and they enjoyed waving them for the camera. People here still have respect for the U.S. due to our entrance into WWII and saving New Hebrides (Vanuatu) from the Japanese. The Ni-Vans sang the Vanuatu National Anthem with pride and enjoyed ours as well. Eric led the Americans in the Pledge of Allegiance, complete with hand-over-heart. The real focal point of the celebration though, was Wayne Burger's message on the importance of heavenly citizenship, based on Philippians 3:20. Independence is certainly a blessing for America and Vanuatu alike, but the blessings of heaven far surpass anything that can be found here on earth.

We ended with a big meal of American and Ni-Vanuatu food. The girls cooked gobs of American style food: spaghetti, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, barbeque beef sandwiches and of course brownies and peanut butter cookies. The barbeque beef and the desserts went over the biggest. We didn’t want to be impolite because the idea was to try food from the other country, but we just couldn’t pass up the American fare. I did have some “tuluk,” which is kind of lap lap with ground beef in the middle, and the rest of the group ate some yam and pumpkin. Betty and Ken (visitors from the US) weren’t too thrilled with the Vanuatu fare and stuck mostly with the American food. We missionaries really have no problem with the lap lap, but given the opportunity, we would eat American food every time. The Ni-Vans eat lap lap like Americans eat pizza. They love it! We ended the evening by giving sparklers to the kids and letting them run around until they all burned out. It was a fun time for all involved and brought the two nations closer together.

MO

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The Christians in Eton asked our team to come and celebrate America's Independence in their village. We taught them about our traditions, the events of 1776, the flag, and the national anthem.

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We supplied the children with small American flags, glow-in-the-dark bracelets, and sparklers to help celebrate.

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