Rarely do we get to see the full cycle of development of a whole new church from conception to birth in just a few months, but we do in this beautiful story of Judea Seventh-day Adventist Church in Malaita, Solomon Islands.
Prior to the early 1930s, the people of the Judea community were oriented towards heathenism, worshipping the spirits of their ancestors. They were known as a “crocodile tribe” who did a lot of killing and stealing.
Preparing the soil
In the late 1960s, Christian denominations, one after another, began entering the community of Judea and setting up churches. Many of the churches did not succeed as the local people struggled to connect with their messages.
In July 2018, we received a call from the people at Judea. They wondered if the Seventh-day Adventist church could visit and teach them about the Three Angels’ Messages in the book of Revelation. They also wanted to see if the Sabbath was God’s true holy day. Judea is a neighbour to our Kwailabesi Seventh-day Adventist Church so we worked closely with them.
To prepare our own members’ hearts, Kwailabesi church ran revival meetings and outreach training, as well as lessons on Bible marking and how to give Bible studies. They then went to Judea in August to do a survey and gather data about interest in Bible studies. This allowed them to get to know the families in the community by name. As it turns out, the whole community was interested in Bible studies!
Before beginning the Bible studies, Kwailabesi began donating clothes and helping families to live a healthy life in September 2018.
Growing the crop
On October 7, Kwailabesi began a three-week series of salvation messages on topics like health, family life, Christian standards, the law of God (including the Sabbath), judgement, the remnant church and the second coming. This was accompanied by singing, telling children’s stories, health talks, praying together, sharing testimonies, and question and answer times. Many people made commitments to Christ. After the second week of the series, Bible studies began with these attendees.
Based on the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the beautiful new truths they had learned, Kwailabesi held a baptism for 34 people in late October and another 30 people stood at the appeal. By late November another 12 people were ready for baptism, with many more interested in Bible studies.
While continuing Bible studies and teaching new members to share faith with their friends, the men at Kwailabesi began to construct a church with the people of Judea. At the last appeal, the village chief and Betero (“the great warrior”) made a stand for God. The community of Judea and Kwailabesi praise God for opening doors and opening hearts.