City evangelism moves to the atolls

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Tarawa, Kiribati

The City Evangelism series, often run in the world’s largest cities—from as far as New York to Sydney—has been extended to atolls in the central Pacific. 

Kiribati Mission president, Pastor Titau Tavita, described his country as probably the Pacific region’s most difficult mission field, in light of its remoteness, ongoing population pressures, coastal erosion and economic challenges.

A three-week program is being held in Betio Town, Kiribati, by Pastor Gary Webster, director of the Institute of Public Evangelism.

“Betio has a population density of almost 10,000 per square kilometre, which is among the highest that we know of,” Pastor Webster said.

In preparing for the program, he spent four days on Tarawa Island attending a combined service that involved members of the Bairiki, Betio, Bikenibeu, Bonriki and Korobu churches. Tarawa is a small atoll facing rising sea levels associated with climate change. At the combined service, 10 people were baptised in the lagoon. 

Kiribati Mission president, Pastor Titau Tavita, described his country as probably the Pacific region’s most difficult mission field, in light of its remoteness, ongoing population pressures, coastal erosion and economic challenges. “Despite these harsh realities, we will play our part as we are convinced of the imminence of Jesus’ return,” he said.

The Adventist work in Kiribati began in 1947 and the Mission was established in 1954. There are more than 2200 church members. The 247-student Kauma Adventist High school is the evangelistic centre for the Church.