Men of faith


Two men have challenged my faith and commitment to God more than anyone else. If only I lived with as much passion and devotion to God as they do.

David was a deacon in the Wellington church in New Zealand. He and his wife, Tesa, had been married for some years and were childless. They decide to fast and pray each Sabbath for a child. Tesa became pregnant and they thanked God. David made another decision. He decided to fast each Sabbath as his gift of thanks to God for the gift of his daughter, Dianne. David had been offering this gift to God for 13 years when I pastored in Wellington. His example of passionate thankfulness to God continues to challenge my devotion to God.

Two men have challenged my faith and commitment to God more than anyone else

Last year, I visited Oksapmin in the highlands of the Sandau Province in Papua New Guinea. Here I met the second man, Anton, whose faith challenges me. Anton and his wife, Anas, were walking along a track beside the airstrip. They were each carrying a heavy 5 metre length of timber. Their young son walked beside them. The scene surprised me so I stopped and spoke to the couple. I discovered that Anton was the elder of the Tominap church and they were carrying the timber to build a permanent church in their village. How many trips would it take to carry enough timber to build their church at two lengths of timber per trip? Quite a few! That is not amazing in itself. What amazed and challenged me was that the journey from Oksapmin to Tominap is a 20 kilometre walk. What is more this journey takes the walker up 500 metres over the saddle, in the range and down again to the village. It takes five hours each way. His passionate commitment to the work of God continues to challenge my devotion to God. 

David and Anton’s passion and devotion are a challenge and an example to my faithfulness to God. They reflect well the passion and devotion that motivated Jesus’ life and ministry. They could each say with Paul, “Follow me as I follow Christ”. 

Can I? Can you?  

Please enjoy this special PNGUM edition as you read about the Church’s work here.

Leigh Rice is president of the Papua New Guinea Union Mission.