Why PNG Pentecost? 

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As the stories of what happened in PNG for Christ keep circulating around our church, both those who participated and those who listen wonder—why did God choose to bless PNG? We may never know the answer, but as I observed my time in Bougainville and listen to others who were in other parts of this diverse country at least three themes emerge about the PNG Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The church people were committed—really committed. All over the country people took their holidays to lead out in PNG for Christ. One businesswoman paid for hotel accommodation for 11 people for nearly three weeks. Another businessman made fuel free to the Mission and workers for the whole time. In another place a family bought a public address system and data projector so they could share the messages of Jesus with their wantoks. Adventist businesspeople all over the country sacrificed financially in similar ways to make PNG for Christ the best it could be. In many places Adventists brought their families and wantoks and camped near the site of the public meetings. They treated the Revelation of Hope series as a camp meeting. Because most sites were in the outdoors a stage was built and public address systems and data projectors were needed. Many men spent the night taking turns sleeping and taking watch of the equipment at the 2300 sites all over the country.

The commitment was not just in Kina and voluntary involvement—it came from a deep spiritual passion for the Adventist message. In most places people woke at 4am for a prayer meeting—interceding for the people in the area, the singing groups, the pastors, and lay leaders and presenters. Some did prayer walks through the towns and around the venues. Before I went up to speak, at least a dozen elders/pastors—both male and female—surrounded me and prayed for me. Sometimes designated people prayed, other times there was conversational prayer, and for added variety sometimes everyone prayed out loud quietly together. I felt so affirmed and so did many of my colleagues who reported the same prayer experience. Each international guest was assigned minders to protect and care for the presenter. They all took their roles seriously. One was an Adventist policeman leading a special force unit. He said to the preacher, “I have protected many politicians and VIPs, but you are the most important because you are presenting the Word of God—our people need to hear this message.”

The passion for mission was also shown by the 10,000 Toes volunteers and other health professionals who did health checks and talks. Some places had spent years developing ministries in support of the disabled; others for women and children affected by violence; others in feeding and schooling orphans. There was so much going on to show the love of Jesus in a real way. At one remote site a Union president was welcomed with a drama that showed the soil preparation, the sowing of the seed, the cultivation and the expectation that he as the visiting evangelist would help them harvest, and then they would multiply the disciples. Such focus and knowledge of the biblical model for becoming a disciple-making movement at the grassroots was country-wide. The commitment was deeply spiritual and focused on the message of the Bible and uplifting Jesus.

The speakers from all around the SPD were amazed at the generosity of the people—providing us with fruit, vegetables and more. It was overwhelming from people who had so little but they gave with hearts filled with so much. The greatest gift the PNG people gave us was that they invited us international speakers to witness what God was doing. In reality the PNG church did not need us—they could have reaped the harvest on their own—but they wanted to share the joy of the harvest with us and the world. What a generous blessing.

“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11 NIV. This is my prayer for the church in PNG as their example spreads throughout the SPD.

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