Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Pastor Ted Wilson, president of the Adventist world church, and his wife Nancy Wilson, are visiting Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands and Fiji this month, where 75 per cent of the South Pacific Division’s (SPD) membership resides.
“It’s good to see that when our world leader comes to Papua New Guinea, he opens the word of God.
(L-R): PNGUM president Dr Leigh Rice, Nancy Wilson, Adventist world church president Pastor Ted Wilson, PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill, South Pacific Division president Dr Barry Oiver, Julie Oliver, PNG Finance minister Hon James Marape, and CPC president Pastor Kove Tau.
Government protocol in Papua New Guinea dictated that Pastor Wilson’s tour be given the same priority as a visit from a head of state, with security on hand and a police vehicles escorting the presidential motorcade through the streets of Port Moresby, attracting curious stares and friendly waves from locals.
Pastor Wilson, together with SPD president, Dr Barry Oliver and PNG Union Mission president Dr Leigh Rice, met with the prime minister, Peter O’Neill, as well as the opposition leader, Mr Belden Namah, and the Speaker of PNG’s parliament, Mr Theo Zurenoc. With each leader, Pastor Wilson offered spiritual counsel and prayer, thanking the prime minister, in particular, for the religious freedom enjoyed in PNG.
Pastor Wilson chats with Prime Minister O’Neill in the parliamentary office.
Following his visit with Pastor Wilson, Mr Namah, an Adventist, said he was moved by the Bible verse the General Conference president used during their discussion, encouraging Mr Namah and his opposition colleagues to refrain from a negative spirit in their work and to instead “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21) as they work with the government for the good of the country.
Speaker Mr Zurenoc used his visit to explain his recent orders that a number of traditional carvings be removed from Parliament House. He reiterated his concern that the totem pole in the Great Hall represents immorality and witchcraft and showed the Adventist delegation a concept drawing for a proposed “Unity Pillar” that he hopes will replace it.
Pastor Wilson meets PNG opposition leader Belden Namah.
Prior to Pastor Wilson’s arrival, a series of evangelistic meetings at Port Moresby’s Jack Pidik Park, with the theme of “Immortal Decisions”, had been attracting large and enthusiastic crowds. But the main speaker, Pastor Chris Moses, secretary of the Central Papua Conference (CPC), ceded the pulpit to Pastor Wilson for the final three meetings, which included the Sabbath morning service. Up to 15,000 church members and other Port Moresby locals crowded into the park.
“It’s good to see that when our world leader comes to Papua New Guinea, he opens the word of God,” said CPC president, Pastor Kove Tau, a key host for the Port Moresby visit.
Pastor Wilson preaches to a crowd of 15,000 in Port Moresby.
Pastor Wilson and his delegation travelled to Solomon Islands, where they met with the prime minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, who, according to a government media release, informed Pastor Wilson about the role of Christian churches, including the Adventist Church, in nation building, particularly in the areas of education, health, youth development and spirituality. The Adventist leaders also travelled to Kukudu in Solomon Islands’ Western Province, the site of the establishment of the first Adventist mission 100 years ago this year.
The final leg of the trip was to Fiji, where Pastor Wilson officially opened the new campus of Fulton College at Sabeto, on the outskirts of Nadi.