Red, yellow and black are the colors of the day as Papua New Guinea celebrates its independence. Forty years ago PNG became its own country through a peaceful handover from Australia. Today there were many activities including speeches, concerts, greased pole climbing, tug of war, flag raising, and parades.
One thing that is very different from my home country is that the PNG government is very openly Christian. For instance, here in Wewak the independence week program was largely put together by the pastors’ fraternal and included nightly preaching and Christian concerts. For independence day, the Bishop of Wewak diocese gave a prayer and blessing right before the Founding Father spoke. The first Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, gave thanks to God for allowing PNG to become independent. The government and churches across the country are pushing a theme of “crossing over”, a reference to the Israelites crossing over to the promised land after forty years in the desert.
In my home country, the Ten Commandments are being stripped from courtrooms. In Port Moresby in the Parliament House chamber, an original King James Bible from 1611 is being put in place as a central fixture.
Here are some pictures from the celebration today. I hope you enjoy them. May God bless PNG the next forty years.