Second history conference sends ‘Waves across the Pacific’

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Back row from left: Anil Singh, Bev Norman, Siosaia Vaihola, Pastor James Alagappan, Wilson Liligeto. Second row from left: Silivenusi Puniani, Livai Saukuru, Titus Alomon, Pastor Maveni Kaufonoga, Pastor Keperieli Lawedrau, Dr Glynn Galo, Dr Graeme Humble, Dr Rejeli Liligeto, Pastor David Hay, Dr Jillian Thiele, Pauline Potter, Vaseva Ratu, Dr Elisapesi Manson, Fulori Bola, Elise Napa’a, Tesimale Latu. Front row from left: Barry Abel, Pastor Luther Taniveke, Henao Mea, Josephine Gray, Debra Tavita, Akanisi Lanyon, Simon Davidson, Mele Vaihola, Cecile Trief

Fulton College (Fiji) hosted the second “Waves Across the Pacific: Uncovering Adventist Mission” conference at its Sabeto campus from September 8 to 10.

Papers were presented by speakers from Australia, Papua New Guinea (Pacific Adventist University and Sonoma Adventist College), Tonga, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Fulton’s own academic staff.

The conference was started in conjunction with the Journal of Pacific Adventist History, published by Pastor David Hay with the contribution of many other Pacific Island missionaries. The event also received some sponsorship from Fiji Water.

“The objective of the conference is to restore in the hearts of our members the same desire to serve our Creator God despite challenging and difficult circumstances experienced by our national and expatriate pioneers as they took at heart the promise ‘I am with you always even to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20),” said Fulton principal Dr Glynn Galo.

The conference remembered mission history in the South Pacific and reminded attendees of lessons learned that are applicable to mission today. “The stories and experiences of the past shared during the weekend allowed us to retrace the roots of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Pacific Islands, from PNG, Solomon Islands, Tonga through to Fiji and all the way to French Polynesia, as it continues to grow and mature to where it is today,” Dr Galo said.

The presentations included topics such as how the Adventist work proceeded among certain tribes or languages, anthropology, financial literacy, and the personal stories of specific missionaries and their family members in their work. The mission schooner Pitcairn was remembered as the vessel that connected one island to another.

According to Dr Galo, those who attended discovered the two main motivating factors for the pioneers and missionaries in the Pacific Islands: service and sacrifice for the Lord.

"The objective of the conference is to restore in the hearts of our members the same desire to serve our Creator God despite challenging and difficult circumstances experienced by our national and expatriate pioneers."

“The call from God reached those men and women to ‘go and make disciples’ (Matthew 28:19) as they understood the challenges they will face remembering the words of the Lord as recorded in Matthew 10:16: ‘behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves’. They accepted to be partners with God as ‘in the work of salvation, God requires the cooperation of man’ (White, 1888: RH October 30, par.3),” Dr Galo said.

This is the second year “Waves across the Pacific” has been held at Fulton College, Fiji’s Adventist tertiary institution, and plans are in place to continue.

“We would like to invite church members from around the Pacific region to research the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in their respective islands, to record stories and experiences of local missionaries that could be published in the Journal of Pacific Adventist History, and present their findings and work during one of our upcoming conferences,” said Dr Galo. “[Finally] we thank all those who have contributed to the success of this conference and we give praise to God and Him alone.”