Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Bob Loughman congratulated the Seventh-day Adventist Church for training up national leaders in his opening address at the Church’s 24th Quinquennial Session at Epauto Adventist Multipurpose Centre, Port Vila, on Wednesday, January 20.
Mr Loughman said his office is working with churches to address secularism in the country.
Newly-appointed Vanuatu Mission (VM) president Pastor Charlie Jimmy presented Mr Loughman two books—a family Bible and Food As Medicine by Dr Sue Radd—as a token of appreciation for attending the session opening.
Still underway at the time of posting (January 22), 146 delegates are currently present at the session, and 192 people are expected to attend overall.
“Session is a time [for] the Church [to] listen to reports, re-think, dialogue, re-focus and plan for the next five years,” read a post on the VM Facebook page.
Trans Pacific Union Mission (TPUM) president Pastor Maveni Kaufononga made his official speech live through Zoom and congratulated VM’s newly-appointed officers, Pastor Jimmy, Mission secretary Pastor Kaio Timothy and Chief Financial Officer Tom Noka.
A highlight of the meeting was Pastor Timothy’s report, which stated that membership has grown to more than 29,000 members in VM.
“It’s the biggest venue since the first session in 1924. The last session was held at Aore Adventist Academy in 2015,” read another Facebook post.
Delegates have so far heard reports from health ministries, women in ministry, treasury, youth ministry and Aore Adventist Academy.
Pastor Andric Tanghwa reported that in 2020, the “Year of Youth in Evangelism”, more than 2,000 youths preached at 246 meeting sites, resulting in the baptism os 1,700 people by October last year.
Aore Adventist Academy principal Mr George Jonathan called for help to rebuild the school, after its destruction by Cyclone Harold last April. A fundraising concert was held to support this cause after session closed on Sunday, January 24.
At the session closing ceremony, Prime Minister Loughman returned to acknowledge the gifts he was given and to return Vt500,000 (approximately $A6000) to Pastor Jimmy to be used in the work of the church.
“As a church, we will continue to support the government especially through our education and health systems as well as through the spiritual welfare of our people,” said Pastor Jimmy in an interview with Vanuatu’s Daily Post. “For the government to turn up for the second time in one week to support the church, I have been an Adventist all my life but this is my first time to witness such [an] act of generosity,” he added.