New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea
I’m originally from Mussau, but live in Namatanai and am a member of our town church. My grandparents were the first missionaries to an area of the highlands. Tragically, my grandfather was shot with an arrow in the chest and died. My mum was only two years old at the time. We grew up with this pain—but we accepted it as the price of being a family of pioneers. But in honesty, it was very hard. I learned the lessons as a child—and it gave me a depth of faith.
Many people leave the Church when they get involved in politics because they lose their faith. I am committed to remain true. I hope my witness may result in colleagues being in heaven.
My husband died when he was only 40. I have two sons and a daughter. It has been a real struggle at times, but God has always come through.
I was involved in business—a successful fishing business. I’ve now passed that to my family. I became involved in women’s services in the Church and a non-government organisation. I worked to stop violence against women, promoted gender equality and focused on youth activities. I was appointed as women’s representative in the Provincial Assembly in 2008.
I attended a women’s ministry conference in Brisbane a few years ago. That conference helped me to focus on Jesus and built my faith. It really helped me get to be where I am today.
In addition to being the representative for women in the assembly, I was appointed chairperson for Education. In 2009 I was appointed deputy governor.
In my work I uphold the principles of the Adventist Church. Our governor is Catholic, but he’s very supportive. Our government supports church schools, and has an emphasis on ensuring everyone lives in dignity—particularly the old and families. Adventists benefit from these policies. I talk freely about the Sabbath and now the provincial government takes Sabbath off.
Many people leave the Church when they get involved in politics because they lose their faith. I am committed to remain true. I hope my witness may result in colleagues being in heaven.—as told to James Standish
Florence Stocken is deputy governor of the New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea.