57 baptised following Festival of Faith

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Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Week of prayer meetings ended on Sabbath with the baptism of 57 people at Papua New Guinea’s Pacific Adventist University (PAU), a stunning result for a team of campus pastors who had prayed for 15 baptisms.

God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.

“We have experienced the remarkable moving of God’s Spirit this week,” said Pastor Derek Morris, associate secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist world church’s Ministerial Association, who led the week of prayer. “Today was one of the most inspiring Sabbaths of my entire life!”

Pastor Morris added, “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

Students make a stand to be baptised.

Every year faculty and students on the campus in Port Moresby participate in a Festival of Faith, as the week of prayer is called. About half of the university’s more than 1000 students belong to Christian denominations other than the Adventist Church.

Pastor Morris presented “Rejoicing in Christ,” 12 messages from the teachings of Jesus Christ that underscore Jesus is the Son of the living God, the strong Deliverer, the faithful Judge, the One who holds the keys of Hades and death, and the One who is building a church that will emerge victorious. 

“It was clear even at the first meeting that God was moving in unusual ways,” Pastor Morris said.

A campus ministries team led by pastors Obed Yamasombi and Tiaon Burete carefully and prayerfully prepared for the week of prayer. Special prayer groups were formed. The day before the meetings began, a group of students and a faculty member climbed the highest peak of a nearby mountain and prayed all night for God to work in supernatural ways for the honour of His name and the blessing of His children, Pastor Morris said. 

“They believed the words of Scripture given through the apostle John, ‘Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us,’” he said, citing 1 John 5:14.

Pastor Derek Morris (left) with the family of Nelson Gah (right) one of the pastors who baptised on Sabbath.

As the week progressed, students were challenged daily to make decisions of eternal consequence. 

“The pastors on the campus ministries team had been praying for 15 baptisms this year,” Pastor Morris said. “But they discovered that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. Their list of baptismal candidates grew throughout the week.”

He said the development reminded him of Ephesians 3:20-21, which reads, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.”

Sabbath morning began with the baptism of a student in a nearby river. The student had asked to be baptised in the river rather than the church’s baptistery.

Then Pastor Morris spoke to a group of 50 to 60 inmates at the Bomana maximum-security prison located about 15 minutes from the campus. The inmates, who attended voluntarily, heard a simple message about Jesus, the Good Shepherd, in a prison chapel where a local elder, Reuben Alu, regularly conducts weekly services.

“When I made an appeal for the prisoners to give their hearts to Jesus, the response was overwhelming,” Pastor Morris said. “It seemed that almost all of the 50 to 60 prisoners responded.”

Bomana inmates taking part in praise and worship on Sabbath.

By the time Pastor Morris returned to campus, the university church was filled to overflowing. The university choir sang, “In the presence of Jesus I find love and mercy. In His presence there is sweet comfort. There is hope for all.” Pastor Morris reminded the morning worshipers that when they prayed in Jesus’ name, standing under His authority and surrendered to His will, miracles would happen.

At the conclusion of the morning worship service, a team of seven pastors baptised 56 people in the church’s baptistery and in a larger baptistery constructed beside the building a day earlier. The candidates were mostly university students from various provinces in Papua New Guinea and surrounding islands, but a few were high school students and members of the local community. About two-thirds of the student who were baptised had grown up in Adventist families. 

“We were reminded that Jesus is gathering His children from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people,” Pastor Morris said.


Originally published at www.adventistreview.org.