Welcome songs, parades, gift presentations, site visits, meals, sermons and speeches were part of South Pacific Division president Pastor Glenn Townend’s busy schedule during a recent visit to the Western Highlands Mission in Papua New Guinea.
Accompanied by PNG Union Mission (PNGUM) president Pastor Malachi Yani, Western Highlands Mission president Pastor Luke Nathan, secretary Pastor Solomon Paul, CFO Roger Nori and others, Pastor Townend started his visit to the local mission in Mendi on November 11 and ended it in Mt Hagen on November 16.
He preached on Sabbath morning in Mendi and flew by helicopter to Tari in the afternoon, where he visited a former laymen training school in Peri. Pastor Townend then spoke to hundreds of church members at Habare, sharing the story of his father’s near-death experience in a plane crash in Goroka in 1973.
Attendees were fascinated by Pastor Townend’s fluent Tok Pisin (Pidgin) and listened as he read 1 John 4:18, using his father’s story to encourage them to be strong in the Lord. “In 1 John 4:18, there is no fear in love. Despite the plane crash, my father wanted to continue working in PNG. God’s perfect love drives out all fear,” he said.
On Sunday morning, he again spoke to the people in Habare after listening to reports of church work in Hela province from district pastors and church members.
The group then travelled to Rakamanda in Enga province on Sunday afternoon where they were received by hundreds of church members dressed in the Adventist Youth Ministries and Adventist Community Services uniforms.
Pastor Townend encouraged the believers to be disciples for Jesus. “Let us uplift Jesus and the Bible. The Holy Spirit will work and you will become a disciple for Jesus,” he said. The SPD leader also encouraged the church in PNG to send pastors, teachers and nurses to Indonesia to reach out non-Christians.
On Sunday evening, he preached the Three Angels’ Message at Wabag town church, continuing the journey on Monday morning to Minj, Jiwaka province. The group stopped on the way to visit churches built by small groups.
A grand welcome, including the Correctional Services pipes and drums band, welcomed the leaders at the Minj station. After the welcome ceremony and speeches by the councillor, elders and the town mayor, the guests were treated to lunch.
In the afternoon, the church in Minj reported on church work in Jiwaka and its preparation for the PNG for Christ 2024 evangelistic meetings. Later on, Pastor Townend preached at the Kimininga Adventist Church where he shared about the disciple-making process.
On the final day, Tuesday, the people in Western Highlands received Pastor Townend and the team at Kerabug. Pastor Solomon Paul encouraged his people, and Pastor Townend reiterated Revelation 14:6 and Mathew 24, highlighting the PNG for Christ 2024 program.
The visited ended on Wednesday evening with a visit to Hagen Park church. He spoke about the power of God and the need to make disciples for Jesus by sharing His story.
Pastor Nathan thanked the SPD leader for visiting the Western Highlands Mission and added that the people were excited and working towards hosting the PNG for Christ 2024 program.