Presidential visit: Ted Wilson to return to South Pacific in November

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L-R: General Conference president Dr Ted Wilson, Vanuatu Mission president Pastor Nos Terry, Trans-Pacific Union Mission president Pastor Maveni Kaufononga, and South Pacific Division president Pastor Glenn Townend at the construction site of a new church building in Vanuatu in 2016.

Dr Ted Wilson will travel to Fiji in late November to celebrate the rebuilding and reopening of 27 churches destroyed by 2016’s Cyclone Winston.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church president is scheduled to arrive in Nadi on Thursday, November 30, after which he will travel by helicopter to the interior of Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island, to open one of the new church buildings. A special evening meeting will follow.

“We are looking forward to this visit from our world leader,” said Pastor Maveni Kaufononga, president of the Trans-Pacific Union Mission. “It’s empowering to let our people know that our world Church cares for them. It will be a good reminder to our people that we belong to the worldwide family of God who cares for one another. When one has suffered, we all help.”

Before heading to Fiji, Dr Wilson will stopover in Sydney (Australia) to meet with South Pacific Division (SPD) leaders and speak at a number of Adventist schools and churches, including Macarthur Adventist College (November 17), Wahroonga Seventh-day Adventist Church and Mountain View Adventist College (November 18). Christian Services for the Blind and Hearing Impaired has organised an Auslan signer for the Wahroonga Sabbath service, as well as screen-on-screen for the live streaming. The General Conference (GC) president will also take morning worship at SPD headquarters in Wahroonga on November 15.

Dr Wilson’s most recent trip to the South Pacific region also took place in the aftermath of a devastating cyclone.

In May 2016, the GC president joined SPD leaders in helping to rebuild one of the 53 churches destroyed by 2015’s Cyclone Pam. The Category 5 storm, regarded as one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit Vanuatu, claimed the lives of 24 people.

Last year’s Cyclone Winston, meanwhile, was the biggest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. The storm made landfall in Fiji on February 20, 2016, ultimately claiming the lives of 44 people and causing more than $A1.7 billion in damages.

"[Dr Wilson's visit] will be a good reminder to our people that we belong to the worldwide family of God who cares for one another. When one has suffered, we all help."

The extent of the devastation prompted the GC of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to sponsor the rebuilding of 27 churches on Viti Levu.

During his four-day visit to Fiji, Dr Wilson will meet with Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and tour the Trans-Pacific Union Mission’s new media studio. The GC president will also speak at a combined Sabbath church service to be held in Suva city’s main stadium.

Dr Wilson previously travelled to Fiji in February 2014 to open the new Fulton College campus in Nadi.