A group of “old missionaries” gathered at Avondale college on December 8, 2019, to meet for lunch, reminisce and hear about current news from the mission field of the South Pacific Division.
The annual end-of-year get together was held in the Education department building at Avondale University College on Avondale graduation day.
“[We] will do it again and on and on until Jesus comes,” said former missionary Joy Butler, “Some will fade away while newer generations of missionaries will come.
Missionaries and former missionaries that have served from the 1950s until present were in attendance, including Pastor Lionel Smith Senior, Warren Martin, Joy Butler and the Boehm family.
“It is an appropriate place to meet for it was there that most of the old missionaries trained and prepared to serve in far flung parts of the earth,” said Mrs Butler. “For they took their motto seriously: ‘A Greater Vision of a World in Need’.”
The attendees discussed how God has rewarded their hard work, reflecting on the thousands of faithful Adventist Christians throughout the South Pacific.
In Papua New Guinea alone, nearly a third of the Members of Parliament are Adventists. The current Prime Minister, James Marape, is also an Adventist and regularly attends church. There are more than and 370,000 Adventist members in the country, with thousands more attending church and Sabbath school each week.
“We hope, plan and pray that 100,000 more will be baptised this year as a result of the Papua New Guinea for Christ program,” said Mrs Butler.
As well as looking to the future with hope, those in attendance also shared their struggles abroad and the reality of mission work.
“Some of the old missionaries suffered great hardships and left their homeland rarely to visit again,” said Mrs Butler. “Many saw their loved ones die and some lost graves testify to the sacrifices they made. They were willing to take the message they loved to the poverty stricken and to people who had no idea about a God who loved them.”
The group will meet again next year, and look forward to more missionaries and their families joining them.