Tackle the track

A deadly invader is on the march through the South Pacific.

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(Photo: Jarrod Stackelroth)

The site of one of our region’s most important battles—Kokoda in Papua New Guinea—was integral in repelling a fierce, determined enemy. Yet a far more deadly invader is on the march through the South Pacific and next year the Kokoda Track will once again be a central battle in the war.

Before Kokoda was ever known, early Adventist missionaries—the Carrs and the Locks—trekked the village trails, taking the transforming gospel to those in spiritual darkness. Over a period of 30 years they created mission stations in Bisiatabu and Efogi. By the time the Australian soldiers famously withstood the Japanese onslaught along this trail and caused a hurried Japanese retreat, most of the people were disciples of Jesus and Seventh-day Adventists. The famous “fuzzy wuzzy angels”, who supported the wounded and carried the injured soldiers, were mostly Adventists. This was real faith in action.

PNGUM president Pastor Kepsie Elodo, who is from Efogi, and my son and I are walking the Kokoda Track in July 2019. We want to thank and encourage God’s people along the track to be faithful and witness to the thousands of Australians who walk it each year. We have already produced a special Signs magazine for the descendants of the “fuzzy wuzzy angels” to give to those they support along the track.

We also want to tackle the modern Pacific threat—diabetes. One in four Pacific Islanders has diabetes, and lifestyle diseases make up 80 per cent of the disease burden in the South Pacific. The SPD Discipleship Ministry Team health focus is supporting the raising of funds for the 10,000 Toes campaign. They have a strategy to prevent diabetes and literally save 10,000 toes. If you would like to walk the Kokoda Track with us, all you have to do is raise funds for the 10,000 Toes campaign. For more information please email pam@10000toes.com. Trekking the Kokoda can still be a grace-filled act of faith.

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