Health message making inroads in PNG

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Arufi, Western Province, Papua New Guinea

The Adventist health message is reaching into homes in Papua New Guinea’s Western Province and people are making decisions for God.  

Health is truly the right arm of the gospel. God is using it to bring the people of Arufi into the Church.

In 2013, through a 13th Sabbath offering, Arufi village was identified as a place that could benefit from an isolated medical outpost project. A fly and build team from the Northern Australian Conference travelled to Arufi in 2014 and built a small clinic.

A year later, Adventist woman Maris Taku, a community health worker, was sent to work at Arufi clinic. Since arriving, Ms Taku has been working tirelessly during the week, treating patients at the clinic and travelling to other villages to provide health awareness and treat the sick who are too weak to travel to Arufi. On Sabbath, she would gather the few local Adventists under a tree and lead out in a small program. This went on for a while until the South West Papua Mission sent a lay minister to assist the group.

In June the small church organised a health evangelism program and invited PNG Union Mission health director Gad Koito to speak. The program attracted about 500 people each night and health messages were shared alongside God’s Word. At the end of the program, a couple in their 70s was baptised and 23 people, mostly youths, took the stand to give their lives to God.

Before Mr Koito and the visiting members of the evangelistic team left Arufi, the village elders, all leaders of the Evangelical Church of Papua, reaffirmed their support for having the clinic on their traditional land and also invited the Seventh-day Adventist Church to erect a church building there. 

“Health is truly the right arm of the gospel,” Mr Koito said, elated at these positive responses. “God is using it to bring the people of Arufi into the Church.”

The small Seventh-day Adventist group in Arufi is now working to build a shelter where they can gather every Sabbath to worship God.