A ministry of reconciliation

Church membership in Papua New Guinea continues to soar, thanks in no small part to the power of reconciliation.

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(Photo: Wes Tolhurst)

To God be the glory. It is through His divine providence that the Church in Papua New Guinea is growing.

Since the first missionaries arrived in Port Moresby 109 years ago, the Adventist Church has grown from just one member in 1920 to more than 294,000 this year.

With growth comes challenges, but when we do things God’s way and let Jesus be the Leader, those hurdles turn into success and victory.

Since last year, the PNG Union Mission has embraced the Total Member Involvement initiative to help reach one of its four key focus areas—Adventist Mission. Through this platform every member of the Church enters into a life-long commitment to Jesus and His commission of disciple-making. Personal and public evangelism are ways in which church members are reaching out to their communities.

With its huge cultural diversity, the unity of the Church in PNG is sometimes challenged. But to be effective disciples and disciple-makers, we must be united.

I see reconciliation as the way forward for many individuals and the Church in this mission field. Jesus prayed for unity in John 17. He first prayed for unity within the Trinity, then among His disciples and thirdly for believers, especially in our time now. I am passionate about reconciliation because it brings unity, peace, togetherness and a sense of belonging. It brings revival and reformation to marriages, families, churches and communities.

Our churches, schools and health facilities must have this atmosphere of care and love. It makes our discipleship more attractive and powerful.

In Acts 2 the disciples met together before they received the Holy Spirit at the time of Pentecost. They confessed, forgave and reconciled. When they were in one mind they were ready to receive the Holy Spirit.

I strongly believe history will be repeated. Before the latter rain is poured out there should be reconciliation. We should be one despite our diversity. When we are one, we will receive the latter rain and be empowered to carry the gospel further before Jesus comes.

"I am passionate about reconciliation because it brings unity, peace, togetherness and a sense of belonging."

When I was called to serve as general secretary of the then North East Papua Mission in 2000, I was confronted with leadership conflicts at a local church. I asked God for answers. After praying for four months, the Lord showed me that reconciliation was the way forward to bring the church together. It worked for that local church.

As a result of reconciliation, the membership of Kikori church in South West Papua Mission in 2002 grew from 15 members to 300-plus.

Reconciliation has helped the church in Efogi district (Central Papua Conference) and Antiragen church in Markham (Morobe Mission).

After the 10-year civil war in Bougainville, the Church struggled but reconciliation has helped in reforming and reviving believers. Fifty reconciliation ceremonies have been held in Bougainville with help from 15 pastors. One reconciliation ceremony in south Bougainville lasted 28 hours. Churches in Bougainville are now united. Tithes and offerings have improved. I see a bright future for Bougainville.

Most recently, reconciliation ceremonies were held for the Western Highlands Mission staff and Kambubu Adventist Secondary School in New Britain New Ireland Mission.

Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. We have limitations but the Church is God’s organisation and we are able to create an environment of love through the Holy Spirit.

As the church in PNGUM thrives, its roadmap for 2016-2020 should help to set the direction. The key focus areas of Adventist mission, comprehensive media ministry, human socio-economic development and institutional development should help believers to be Spirit-filled and ready to serve.

As a Union we continue to pray together for the leading of the Holy Spirit as we reach out to people in need of salvation through Jesus Christ. We have seen God at work in the lives of hundreds of people who now follow Him.

In this Sabbath’s (October 7) special edition of Adventist Record, we share our stories of the great things that God is doing in the various local missions of the Union. Please continue to pray for the Union. To God be the glory.

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