Thirty children’s discipleship centres will be built throughout the South Pacific Division (SPD) after it received more than $A1 million from the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church for special projects.
The money, totalling $US815,882, was donated by Seventh-day Adventists from around the world during the 13th Sabbath offering in the second quarter of 2016. Two other projects will also receive funding: a Family Wellness Education Centre (Centre of Influence) in Fiji; and Hope Channel in New Zealand.
It will provide an avenue to empower people to make changes to their lifestyles and enable them to take control of their health physically, mentally and spiritually.
SPD CFO Rodney Brady said the amount exceeded his expectations. “Second quarter is not the best [offering] to be down for as it is collected at the time of the USA/Northern hemisphere summer holiday season,” he said.
The selected projects fit the comprehensive discipleship, media and health emphasis that the SPD is focusing on for the next five years—making up three of the four pillars, the other being mission to the big cities.
“It’s good to belong to a global church family where we can take turns assisting the Church in select parts of the world with important large-scale mission projects that may not happen without global support,” Mr Brady said.
Eighteen of the 30 children’s discipleship centres (lamb shelters) planned for the Division will be built throughout Papua New Guinea Union Mission (PNGUM), eight in the Trans-Pacific Union Mission, and two in New Caledonia, part of the New Zealand Pacific Union Conference.
Many churches in the Pacific have no shelter for children for programs such as Sabbath School and Adventurers. The lamb shelters cost roughly $A10,000 each.
“[Numbers of] children in most churches are almost the same or two times more than our adults,” reported PNGUM general secretary, Pastor Henry Monape. “The fact is we badly need lamb shelters all throughout PNG so the children can have their own places of worship to conduct their Sabbath programs.”
Pastor Monape expects the Church to grow due to the General Conference’s total member involvement initiative, and so the need for shelter for the children will grow as well. “Your assistance will be a great help to the children of PNG particularly at this time,” he said.
The My Family Wellness Centre in Suva will be built at the site of a local church and run in partnership with Suva Central church, the Fiji Mission and ADRA Fiji. It will be a Health Centre of Influence for the capital city and all of Fiji. With rooms and facilities that can be rented to health professionals such as doctors, counsellors and physiotherapists, the centre will also have a lunch bar and exercise club, run by Adventists. Preventative health programs, such as the Complete Health Improvement Project and Newstart, will also be run through the centre.
“The wellness centre in Suva will offer a clinically recognised way of addressing the epidemic of non-communicable diseases,” said Mission health director, Dr Alipate Vakamocea. “It will provide an avenue to empower people to make changes to their lifestyles and enable them to take control of their health physically, mentally and spiritually.”
Finally, the Hope Channel NZ grant will be used to set up a television studio so that more local content can be produced. This is one point of difference that Hope Channel NZ has in comparison with other Christian TV networks in New Zealand.
Hope Channel NZ was recently announced as the highest rating religious broadcaster in NZ and, according to the project proposal, is available in 87 per cent of homes.
“The timing for Hope Channel in NZ could not have been better given the impact that Hope Channel is now having in NZ,” Mr Brady said.