Pastor Wilson meets with PNG PM Marape and other leaders

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It was a full day of state visits for General Conference President Ted Wilson on his arrival in Papua New Guinea (April 25), as he met the Governor General, the Prime Minister, Speaker of the House and the Chief Justice, among other parliamentary figures.

Significantly, (or unfortunately as Speaker Job Pomat joked during his meeting), the roles of Prime Minister, the Chief Justice and Speaker of the House are all Seventh-day Adventists.

PNG’s Prime Minister since 2019, James Marape welcomed Pastor Wilson to the “ends of the earth” in PNG. He claimed that two other world leaders had recently called PNG that, a title he associated with Acts 1:8, that the gospel’s spread would start in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the “ends of the earth.

Pastor Wilson shared a promise with the Prime Minister found in Nahum 1:7, that “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,”

Pastor Wilson will be travelling tomorrow to Jiwaka Province in the Western Highlands, specifically to Minj, a place where PM Marape’s parents were missionaries.

Pastor Wilson gifted the Prime Minister a silver, Adventist-branded pen and told Mr Marape he hoped the pen would be useful, whether he was signing his name on forms of office or underlining his Bible.

Also part of Pastor Wilson’s entourage, Dr Duane McKey, president of Adventist World Radio, gifted the PM with an AWR Archaeology and Cultural Background Bible.

Dr McKey said that there weren’t too many questions you could ask, that “the Bible couldn’t answer.”

After meeting with the Prime Minister Pastor Wilson also met with Speaker Mr Pomat, MP for Manus Open.

Pastor Wilson was quite taken by a model the speaker had in his reception room, of a proposed monument called a Unity Pillar, which had the names of all the tribes in PNG, and a base of the leaders, the people, the constitution and the bottom level or foundation was the Word of God. Sharing a verse that was aptly chosen for the Speaker, Pastor Wilson read from Proverbs 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Pastor Wilson encouraged Mr Pomat that his role was important as one of a mediator between the two sides.

The private meetings were followed by a state luncheon held at Parliament House after, the morning visits, where more dignitaries, church employees and parliamentarians gathered to hear speeches from the PM and GC president, as well as musical items.

After an opening prayer by Pastor Lonol Winnie, President of the Central Papua Conference, Mr Pomat welcomed Pastor Wilson in PNG style, in tok pisin.

He told those gathered that the Holy Spirit would help Pastor Wilson understand what he said and, when Pastor Wilson replied, he claimed that he have help understanding at least some of what was said.

Pastor Wilson challenged attendees with a verse.
“This can be your marching orders to help keep order and progress and prosperity for the people of PNG,” he said. “But also for you, for your personal responsibility. Whatever [role you hold], God has given you an unbelieveable responsibility of representing the government of heaven.” He then read Joshua 1:9, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (KJV).

President Marape shared that “the church in PNG is full with abundant talents.” He encouraged all to use the talents they were given. “Some where given the pulpit, I’ve been given a podium,” he shared, as he reflected on many world leaders he had met and how even he could use his talents to bring glory to God.

It had been a big day for Mr Marape as he had attended the dawn service at Isurava on the Kokoda Track with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese before being transferred back to Port Moresby. He shared an anecdote about how he assured the Australian PM that God would hold the wet weather back so they would make it out of Kokoda on time, because he had to meet Pastor Wilson.

During the day, several of PNG’s leaders reflected that it was challenging being seen as Adventists, rather than the roles they fulfilled, as it was a great responsibility to carry. But they also acknowledged the privilege it was to serve the country in such a capacity.

A number of times, it was claimed by those presenting that about 20 per cent of PNG’s parliamentarians are currently Adventists and that the upcoming census would provide a better idea on the number of Adventists in the country.

Parliament House was not the first stop on Pastor Wilson’s itinerary.

After arriving early in the morning, Pastor Wilson took some rest to freshen up from his long flight before visiting the Governor General, Sir Bob Bofeng Dadae at Government House. In the 20-minute visit, Pastor Wilson signed the guest book and then conversed with the Governor General in a visit that lasted about 20 minutes.

Pastor Wilson expressed his gladness to be in the country and told the Governor General that he hoped Seventh-day Adventists would be the very best citizens for the country of PNG.

After the Governor General visit, Pastor Wilson visited the Court House where he met with the Chief Justice and a number of judges, before moving on to Parliament House.

For more highlights from the PNG for Christ program head to the #weRtheCHURCH YouTube channel.

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