So, the kids’ Christmas program… It all started a few months ago when my friend Carissa decided that she wanted the school kids to do a Christmas program since they weren’t planning anything at the school. She had directed a Christmas musical last year in the place where they were living and thought it would be fun to do the same music here, just without the acting part. I told her I’d help her, and so it started. We had weekly practices after school where Carissa directed and I manned the music and tried to help with crowd control.
The Saturday before the big day (just last week!,) our two families were at the school for most of the morning decorating the gym area for the production! Carissa is very ambitious and had big ideas for the set and decorating. She had her Papuan friends build a big backdrop, and they were all there helping us to decorate Saturday morning as well!
Here are some pictures of the finished decorations:
Big backdrop with star lights strung across the top and sides.
Greenery on wooden beams, holding lanterns and jars with candles.
The morning of the production (December 11) I went back to the school with Carissa and another friend, Jolanda, to decorate tables for the after-program snacks. The guys also set up chairs. It was SO windy – you can see the tablecloths blowing off the table in the back there! We finally ended up finding a stapler and stapling the tablecloths right to the tables!
The kids all came a little early so we could practice just a bit before the performance.
Carissa directing the kids.
Natalie sure enjoyed being a part of the program and poured her heart out on every song. Claire? Not so much. She sang the first couple songs and then was done – about how it had been during the practices each week as well 🙂
Some of the decorations in the patio area of the school where we would enjoy snacks afterwards.
Right before the program started we lit the lanterns and tried to light the candles. Even though the candles were in jars, we had a hard time keeping them lit – the wind kept blowing them out!
A blurry picture of Natalie and her friend T.
Beautiful lit lanterns.
Everyone milling around before the program started.
And then the program began! It was starting to get dark and the kids sang their first few songs in the growing darkness until we turned on the gym lights.
Like I said before, the music came from a Christmas musical, but we did not do the whole production. The kids sang about 6 songs from the musical, and in between each song there was a Scripture reading. Each time the Scripture was read both in English and in another language spoken by some of the people in the audience – Indonesian, German, Dutch, etc.
I found Natalie’s dress in a store here in Wamena, and she was so excited to have something new and pretty to wear to the program. Unfortunately there is nothing I could do about the green and pink flip-flops on her feet!
A view from the back of the gym.
After the last song that was from the musical, we did one last song. A couple weeks before, Carissa got the idea that for the finale we could sing Cindy Morgan’s “Make Us One” – very appropriate since there are people from lots of different nations serving together here in Wamena, and our biggest prayer is that God would give us unity. So all the moms learned the song along with the kids, and we put some sign language motions with it as well. I stood in the front and did the sign language “backwards” so that the kids could mirror my movements. You can see in the picture that they are all looking over at me (even though I am not in the picture)!
It was a lot of hard work and a lot of hours spent, but the kids did a great job and I am so proud of them! I would never have attempted doing something like this on my own, but I think Carissa and I made a great team and I was glad to be her partner and helper!