Adventist schools in Solomon Islands create ministry opportunities

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Teachers and their spouses lining up to have their blood sugar tested.

The Solomon Islands Mission (SIM) education department—which employs more than 800 teachers and educates approximately 15,000 students—has recently made a number of improvements to education quality and outreach.

“This is the biggest department in our mission and I have seen so [many] creative changes lately,” said SIM president Dr Silent Tovosia.

The following is a brief summary of the most significant developments:

Hovi Adventist Community High School

Located on Isabel Island, Hovi school is at the centre of a “modern frontier” of the Adventist church in the Solomon Islands and has been labelled by SIM administration as a focus area for mission.

“It has a very low Adventist membership compared to the population of the island . . . [the gospel] has spread very slowly until recently,” said Dr Tovosia.

Due to the government phasing out Grade 6 national examinations last year, Hovi Primary School took the opportunity to begin building high-school classrooms to house Grade 7 students. Many new students now attend the new high-school, 65 per cent of whom aren’t Adventist.

“Hovi High School is a school where students love and treat the Bible as a mobile phone. Why? They did not have this opportunity back at home,” said Pastor Tovosia.

Students from Hovi Adventist Community High School.

Mondo Adventist Primary School

Mondo school is located on Ranogga Island in the western part of Solomon Islands and operates as a boarding school. Dozens of non-Adventist children travel from their village to  live with Adventist families as boarding students during the academic year, only returning home during the holidays. The school regards this as a fantastic opportunity to introduce these students to Christ and instill Adventist values in their formative years.

A new hand-washing station introduced at Mondo to keep students healthy.

New opportunities

“Coronavirus and emergency laws to suspend classes have created an opportunity for some schools and the education department to collaborate and visit [local] communities,” explains Dr Tovosia.

New lockdowns have given administration and staff time to pray and identify past students, poorer families and struggling young people and visit them. Families and individuals visited have invited teachers from SIM schools to give them Bible studies. This has given teachers a new passion for mission and given them spiritual revival.

In addition, the “Save 10,000 Toes and Health Impact Strategy” received a strong support from teachers when officers of the education and health departments in the Western Region collaborated to check the health status of teachers.

The results show that around 90 per cent of teachers are at risk of developing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

To address this issue, school leaders and teachers are now working to improve their health status and, at the same time, are working to make their schools junk-free. In addition, many teachers are receiving training to do community health assessments, thus helping to promote the Adventist health message.