A surprise party

A visit to a neighbouring village includes an unexpected celebration.

Childbirth looks very different in other parts of the world. In fact, it may look sort of like a village party, David Searcy says.

David’s dear friend and fellow servant in Christ, Pak Lujung, needed some encouragement and David decided to go and visit Lujung and his wife.

When he arrived at their village, David learned that their daughter, Ping, who was nine months pregnant, was experiencing some back pain. As the evening progressed, the back pain progressed, too.

“I asked her if it was coming in waves. She said ‘Yes,’” David writes.

Soon it was abundantly clear that Ping was in labour. David made his bed in a dark corner. He had the distinct feeling that “it was going to be a long night,” he shares.

The entire extended family on both sides sprang to action. David describes the scene: “People were hauling water, setting up the generator and calling in the local midwives.”

It’s helpful to note some big cultural differences at this point, he explains.

First there is the issue of electrical wiring. David says. “We consider electric wiring to be permanent. Not so with these villages.” As events unfolded, it became clear that Lujung’s house wiring had been borrowed for a Christmas celebration, so it had to be returned and suddenly there was a flurry of activity as people rewired Lujung’s house.

The crowd continued to expand. David looked around at the growing group. Both sets of grandparents and all the younger siblings were there, along with various sets of aunts, uncles and cousins.

It seemed no one wanted to miss the celebration. David said the gathering also included some “busybodies and various ladies who just wanted to be there.”

From his spot in the corner, David watched it all.

“The generator ran all night, and people ran in and out all night,” he recalls.

Because there was electricity, teens were watching a video on a laptop computer. Men dozed but remained available in case there was a need to run and fetch something. Women laughed and told stories of their own childbirth experiences. It was turning into a significant social event.

David took it all in and slept fitfully, thinking he probably resembled “a long white lump in the corner.”

“By 5 a.m.,” David says, “I heard the first cry of a breathing newborn—another eternal soul had entered the world—a fat, healthy little girl!”

It was a moment to remember. David has been invited to help name the little girl, but names are still being debated and discussed.

Please pray for the new mother, Ping, and for Bujang, the father. To Lujung and his wife’s sorrow, their son-in-law, Bujang, is not a believer. But David shares expectantly, “I had a good opportunity to talk with him that night about his eternal destiny.”

David is hopeful that Lujung will be able to further teach and share the gospel with his unbelieving son-in-law so that he will soon come to know Christ and become a godly husband and father.

His journey to encourage his friend, Lujung, turned into quite a memorable night for missionary David Searcy. It was a village celebration that he will not soon forget.