Active in communities

Pastor Glenn Townend offers a snapshot of the community work taking place in the New Zealand Pacific Union Conference and Trans Pacific Union Mission.

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I sit in multiple committees and do get bored sometimes. The NZPUC and TPUM mid-year executive committees were exceptions. Both of these Unions are wanting to impact not just churches but also the community. Most of the reports, data and stories reflected this desire.

In the Nadi district in Fiji, George Kwong and team are having community impact with health ministry. Adi Tema, 33-year-old paramount village chief of Saunaka Village, recently invited George to conduct a health screening in her village. Saunaka is a prominent village on the periphery of Nadi. An international fast-food franchise sits on Saunaka land. As a gesture of goodwill, franchise owners offered ongoing free meals to the chief’s family—who then dined there almost every day. After her father passed away and her older sister died of a heart attack, Adi blamed their deaths on the daily fast food. As a result, Adi was adamant that she and her village needed to change. All of the 120 households (600 people) in Adi’s village were screened and individuals in the high risk category of lifestyle disease participated in the Church’s lifestyle change programs.

In New Zealand, Hope Channel is producing a program, Finding Home, that features local church members—their work, families and service and how it affects the community. It shows mechanics, optometrists, counsellors, financial managers; men, women, youth, families and seniors—anyone who is living as a genuine disciple of Jesus. They show their support of health, women’s refuges, sport, arts, kids’ after-school programs and soup kitchens, and why they do it. Church members are seen as the hands and feet of Jesus.

It is no wonder I didn’t get bored in these meetings. None of us will be bored in church if we have a heart to serve like Jesus.