SAND, sea and a whole lot of singing will be hallmarks of a Christmas with a difference for Townsville-based volunteers in Papua New Guinea.

Youth With A Mission will base its medical ship in Port Moresby during the Christmas and New Year period after a busy few months of delivering health services to remote parts of PNG. The MV YWAM PNG has just finished its final outreach for 2017 after seeing more than 7400 patients since October.

While the bulk of the volunteers will fly out in the next few days, about 30 are preparing for a PNG Christmas in the coastal village of Vabukori.

Ship manager Jeanna Wiemeyer spent last Christmas in PNG with the organisation and is set to celebrate there again.

“The week leading up to Christmas we’ll be joining celebrations in the village of Vabukori, where some of our PNG volunteers come from,” she said. “We’ll have some traditional PNG dishes and things from the countries everyone comes from.

“It’s always something very unique to experience.”

Ms Wiemeyer, from the United States, is no stranger to a tropical Christmas.

“I’ve been in Townsville for eight years,” she said.

“I do miss being home
for Christmas but I love Christmas in Townsville
and PNG Christmas, too.”

But the lack of shopping in remote PNG means that Christmas Day gift giving is a little different.

 “We do a secret angel gift exchange,” Ms Wiemeyer said. “It’s amazing the creativity some people have. Last year there were carvings and someone gave … a plate of pancakes.”
Source: Townsville Bulletin

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