Joshua Wambillie, chief financial officer (CFO) for the Seventh-day Adventist Church at the Eastern Highlands Simbu Mission (EHSM), Papua New Guinea, died on Friday, June 23 after experiencing a cardiac arrest. A funeral was held for Mr Wambillie on June 28 in Goroka, where EHSM is based. The casket was then flown to Mt Hagen for a second funeral with family members. After a two-hour journey by road, Mr Wambillie was laid to rest at his home village of Pepeka. He is survived by his wife Janet and children Leeroy (22), Brian (19) and Kayleen (14).
"I thank God for the life of this great man. The last 20 years of his life were not wasted."
As family, friends and colleagues said goodbye, Mr Wambillie was remembered as a humble man, whose journey in life was anointed by God.
When paying tribute to Mr Wambillie, close friend and treasurer for the Central Papua Conference, Max Lassah, said he was a faithful and committed young man. “Joshua is a very soft person, very loveable, has influence and is a great mentor. I was troubled at the shocking news of his passing but I thank God for the life of this great man. The last 20 years of his life were not wasted.”
EHSM president Pastor Benny Soga in his tribute said the late Mr Wambillie was a “very compassionate person, a compulsive giver, always reasoning and had a heart for people”.
Others who spoke at the funeral service at the Kama Seventh-day Adventist church in Goroka praised God for Mr Wambillie’s life.
Mr Wambillie was born at Pepeka village in Tambul district, Western Highlands, on November 23, 1967 to Wambillie and Koparue.
He began his education at Paglum Junior School, Western Highlands, from 1977 to 1984. He then continued at Kabiufa Adventist High School, near Goroka, Eastern Highlands, where he completed Grades 9 and 10. In 1988 he received his Year 12 high school certificate from Macksville High School in New South Wales, Australia.
For the next four years, he continued his education in Australia at Avondale College where he studied for a degree in business (accounting) and graduated in 1992.
Mr Wambillie began his career with the Adventist Church in 1993 as assistant treasurer at the PNG Union Mission (PNGUM), where he served until 2000. From 2001 to 2005, he was treasurer for the Western Highlands Mission before being recalled in 2006 to the PNGUM where he served as associate CFO for two years and under-treasurer from 2008 to 2015.
At the PNGUM session in November 2015, Mr Wambillie was called to the EHSM where he served until his untimely passing.
Mr Wambillie’s death comes only a week after the passing of Mrs Mary Soga, EHSM Women’s and Children’s Ministry director.