Michael Kuya’s parents were divorced when he was just 8 years old. He grew up in the care of his father until the search for education brought him to Lae (Papua New Guinea), where he lived with relatives and attended Bugandi Secondary School.
“It was very tough, living in a big city. Life isn’t always fair but I had to survive anyway,” says Michael. “I was initiated at the Madang Men’s house and was given all the spiritual powers that I needed to help me survive.”
Michael comes from a strong Lutheran background. In school he was quick to denounce the Adventist Church, although he had good Adventist friends. He began to realise that his anti-Adventist attitude was having an opposite impact on him. The more he hated Adventists, the closer he was brought to them.
This gradual change was highlighted when he met Helen Kiwi, an Adventist girl from the Two Mile church. “We both lived on the same block and attended school together and I knew her as a good sister,” Michael says. He recalls that each Wednesday and Friday night he would escort her to and from the church for her safety. “While she was worshipping, I would hang around with the boys outside to wait for her to finish so that I could escort her back home.”
One Wednesday night, however, Helen asked if he could attend the worship program with her instead of hanging around outside. “I reluctantly agreed and took the back seat for the rest of the program,” he says. Soon he found himself regularly attending all the programs and was starting to attend Sabbath services.
Then came the time when Two Mile church conducted some meetings in the local community. Pastor Roy Tukar was the speaker. “For the whole week I attended the meetings,” Michael recalls. His attendance wasn’t in vain because during the whole week he was troubled by the messages he heard. “Despite my stubbornness, I could not resist this strong feeling in me; a feeling that something wasn’t right,” he says.
At the end of the program, there was a baptism and Michael found himself standing in line with the others who had made their decision to be baptised. From then on, he started attending church regularly. From the last seat he gradually made his way up to the front and finally joined the klas redi baptismal preparation group. Within two years he was baptised.
"Despite my stubbornness, I could not resist this strong feeling in me; a feeling that something wasn’t right"
Meanwhile, at school, Michael’s negative views about Adventists changed. He started attending religious instruction programs with the Adventist students. Soon he joined the Bugandi Adventist Students Association (BASA). Due to his eloquence in interpreting the Bible and his in-depth understanding he was appointed as BASA’s spiritual leader.
While only a student, Michael felt he was on fire for Christ. His desire led him to the streets and he started preaching. “I started at the main market,” he says. After he left school he committed himself to street preaching. “I enjoy it so much because I often enjoy seeing God’s hand,” he says. In 2015 his ministry was really transformed when Two Mile church presented him with a portable speaker. “It really enhanced my ministry; by projecting my voice I can reach as many people as possible,” says Michael.
Today Michael Kuya is an active member of the Two Mile youth group. He travels far and wide around PNG, witnessing to the love of God with more than 20 other Adventist street preachers.