Adventists from Wapenamanda District in Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands Province hosted a one-day “Drug Body Convention” for individuals who are struggling or have previously struggled with a drug addiction.
More than 2000 people from across the district came together for the event, held at Wapenamanda Seventh-day Adventist Church on Sunday, August 25. Among those in attendance were teachers, students and other young people who have been marginalised in their communities for their drug addictions.
Church members, embracing the moniker of Total Member Involvement, personally reached out to individuals, inviting them to attend the program. They also arranged for vehicles to pick up people on the morning of the event.
Pastor Frank Minok, Personal Ministries and Sabbath School director for the Western Highlands Mission (WHM), opened the program by reminding the gathered crowd that they are God’s children regardless of who they are or what they have done. This was followed by a presentation by WHM Health Ministries director Simon Peter, who, speaking in the local dialect, explained the negative effects of drugs on the human body and mind.
A number of people responded to these messages by coming to the front of the church and expressing their gratitude to God for the program.
“We were always seen as useless and hopeless in the communities,” said one guest. “But now we have seen the new light and direction to follow to become a better person.”
Some of the men shared how drugs had become “like our wives”, with the addiction prompting them to forget about their family duties and responsibilities.
District director Pastor Mara Pawa said the Church is committed to supporting those struggling with addictions. “We want to nurture them to become changed people who contribute meaningfully in their communities.”
Wapenamanda Seventh-day Adventist Church is in the process of organising a follow-up retreat for convention attendees in November, with health professionals on hand to provide guidance and counselling.