Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has made a large donation to the It Is Written Medisonship, a medical mission boat owned and operated by Sonship.
Mr Lilo’s donation of SBD25,000 will ensure that Medisonship is able to continue providing health services in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands.
When I started talking about Medisonship the Prime Minister became very interested and offered financial assistance.
The donation came as a result of a meeting with Helen Oliver, co-founder and secretary of Sonship. Sonship is a registered supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Mrs Oliver recently travelled to the Solomon Islands to assist the local crew prepare Medisonship for the start of 2012. While in the Solomon Islands a meeting was arranged with Mr Lilo to discuss the ongoing operation of Medisonship, which services his constituency. “I was very nervous meeting such an important person but God understood my fear and paved the way for the meeting,” Mrs Oliver said.
Mr Lilo’s grandparents leased some land at Kukudu to the Adventist Church. Mrs Oliver’s parents, Pastor and Mrs Wally Ferguson, were involved in establishing the former Western Solomon Islands Mission Headquarters, also located at Kukudu. “We talked about family for 25 minutes,” Mrs Oliver said. “When I started talking about Medisonship the Prime Minister became very interested and offered financial assistance.”
A cheque was presented to Sonship’s representative in the Solomons, Sau Panda, three weeks later. Mr Lilo has indicated that his government will contribute more funds in the future. “We are very grateful to the Prime Minister and thank him for his support,” Mrs Oliver said.
Medisonship is a floating medical clinic that services Kolombangara Island and the Vonavona Lagoon in the Solomon Islands. Being mobile enables Medisonship to provide ongoing medical services free of charge to villages that would otherwise not be able to access medical help—for example, it would take two months’ wages for villagers to purchase the fuel to reach the nearest hospital.
The Adventist presence aboard Medisonship has also opened the opportunity for entry into previously hostile villages. In particular, the Vonavona Lagoon, which does not have an Adventist presence, now welcomes Medisonship visits. Hayden Jaques, who volunteered with his family last year as the Sonship Solomon Islands manager, said, “The team of Medisonship are very eager to continue the evangelistic work within the lagoon throughout 2012. They are really excited at the prospects the next 12 months hold.” He urged people to pray that “come this time in 2013 reports will be detailing how entire villages are giving their life to Christ”.
The Medisonship team played a part in 33 baptisms and recommitments in the past year. Pastor Gary Kent, speaker/director of It Is Written Oceania, said, “We are delighted to see how Medisonship is opening new territory to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and bringing hope and healing to these remote villages.”
In the middle of 2011 a group of school students from Darling Downs Christian School, Queensland, experienced first-hand the impact Medisonship is having on unchurched areas of the Solomon Islands. The group had been working at a village called Kena. On their final night a crowd gathered to farewell the team from the wharf. In the midst of the commotion a young man made unwanted advances on a local girl who had been staying on Medisonship to assist with cooking. The girl, Flora, felt a numbing sensation as the young man grabbed her hand unusually for a second time.
“Flora came to me upset,” recalled Mrs Oliver. “In this culture it is common for a curse to be placed on a person who doesn’t return romantic attention. This curse has led to death.” Once the team discovered what had happened they retreated to the boat and prayed for Flora. Trevor Oliver, co-founder and president of Sonship, reminded Flora and the other team members that Medisonship was God’s boat, and that He was in charge and looking after the boat and all its occupants. After much prayer and a sleepless night, Flora experienced a full recovery.
Mr Lilo’s financial support will indirectly help Medisonship provide spiritual aid to over 30 villages, and close to 2000 people throughout the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. Approximately 20,000 patients have been treated during the past four years, with the most common complaints being malaria, tropical ulcers and muscle aches.
Mr Jaques said the Prime Minister’s donation was an answer to prayer. “Since Sonship relies solely on the good-will offerings and donations of individuals and businesses, a large financial donation such as that from Prime Minister Lilo has come at a much-needed time,” he said.
For more information visit <www.sonship.org.au>. To view a documentary on Medisonship, please visit: <www.itiswrittenoceania.tv/medisonship.php>.