Conference remembers Pacific missionaries

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Presenters from the Waves conferences.

For the third year running, Fulton Adventist University College has hosted the “Waves Across the Pacific: Uncovering Adventist Mission” Conference (September 12-14).

The conference was started in conjunction with the Journal of Pacific Adventist History, published by Pastor David Hay with the contribution of many other Pacific Island missionaries.

The opening address, titled “Connecting the waves of Pacific history”, was delivered by guest speaker and associate professor Dr Morgan Tuimaleali’ifao, a history lecturer at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji.

“We, from Papua New Guineans to the West to Rapanuians in the East, Hawai’ians in the North to Maori in the South, inhabitants of the Pacific Ocean live in an area that is huge by any stretch of the imagination,” shared Dr Tuimaleali’ifao. “Compared to the waves of migration and settlement of the Pacific, the evangelising movement is very young. In 2021, the evangelising movement will be 500 years old.”

Papers were presented by speakers from Pacific Adventist University, Sonoma College, Avondale University College, New Zealand, Fiji and faculty members of Fulton.

“This is a very good initiative and I am glad that Fulton Adventist University College has committed itself to host this conference,” said Pastor Ray Coombe, “but it needs to be widely advertise so as to attract more Seventh-day Adventist members to present their research or the ‘untold stories’ of nationals and international faith heroes who have committed their lives for service in God’s vineyard of the South Pacific islands.”

Some of the Conference attendees.

Fulton principal Dr Glynn Galo gave credit to Pastor David Hay, who was unable to attend this year due to health-related issues but has continued to collaborate with the Journal of Pacific Adventist History for the publication of presented papers.

Professor Stephen Currow, in his presentation on Captain and Mrs GF Jones, shared that the Seventh-day Adventist Church began its missionary work in the South Pacific islands in the late 1880s.

“We feel the need to uncover the sacrifices and lives off all missionaries who have answered the call as Griffith F Jones stated:

My poor wife and I accepted it gladly as a duty of love, although we knew nothing of its dangers, hardships, and trials. In this respect, we rejoiced to be the children of Abraham who ‘went out, not knowing whither he went’.”

The organising committee also acknowledged the sponsors of the event this year: Fiji Water, Sanitarium, Coca Cola Amatil (Fiji), Goodman Fielder (Fiji), Tuckers and Gem Office Product (Fiji). They also expressed gratitude for the continuous support of the Trans Pacific Union Mission, which was represented at the conference by associate education director Mere Vaihola and president Pastor Maveni Kaufononga.