Four small groups formed during COVID-19 in the Goroka district, Eastern Highlands Simbu Mission (PNG), have been encouraged to create more groups so more people can become disciples of Jesus.
During his visit to the Kerefa, Zogohutoka, Orange and Gonicks small groups, South Pacific Division (SPD) president Pastor Glenn Townend thanked the groups for working hard to reach others.
Pastor Townend and PNG church leaders visited the small groups after flying back from the remote districts of Unavi and Karimui on Wednesday, August 17.
The first stop was at Kerefa, a small group formed by members of the Massey Adventist church. It has 104 members who worship in a semi-permanent building.
Citing Acts 20:20, Pastor Townend encouraged the small group to follow Paul’s example. “Paul had a vision of multiplication. In Ephesus, Paul trained people about the Bible, Jesus and how to grow churches,” he said.
The next visit was to the Zogohutoka small group, which was formed by members of the Faniufa Adventist church in March 2020, starting with eight members. Currently, the group has 153 members who worship in a semi-permanent building.
Addressing the group, Pastor Townend shared Acts 5:42 and encouraged the members to multiply churches. “You have done a really good thing. God has really done a good job with you. Think about multiplying churches,” he said.
He also encouraged the Orange small group to multiply. Beginning with 35 members from the Kama Adventist church in March 2019, the group has grown to 140 members. They first met in a house, then as the numbers grew, they moved out into the backyard and worshipped under five orange trees. The members have now built a church and will soon start meetings in their new building.
“You have done a good job and God has brought something good out of something bad,” Pastor Townend said, referring to how, despite COVID-19, the members continued to make disciples. “Orange has seeds, and each of them can become trees. You can multiply too,” he added.
On their last stop, the leaders visited the Gonicks small group, which began in July 2019 with four people worshipping in a house. The group has now grown to 160 members worshipping in a permanent building.
Pastor Townend thanked the members for conducting Bible studies, cleaning backyards and streets, and worshipping God together as a group and urged them to keep multiplying disciples for Jesus.
PNG Union Mission president Pastor Malachi Yani said COVID-19 had encouraged Adventists in the country to worship in small groups, which now have grown into churches.
During COVID-19, Eastern Highlands Simbu Mission recorded 14,000 baptisms and built 226 new churches.
Pastor Townend’s visit to the region was part of a week-long trip to PNG, which included meetings with church leaders, visits to schools and a meeting with PNG Prime Minister James Marape.