A small clinic constructed through a Thirteen Sabbath offering just two years ago has resulted in two baptisms, requests for 23 more baptisms, and the establishment of a Seventh-day Adventist congregation in a remote area of Papua New Guinea.
A Thirteen Sabbath offering in 2013 identified the isolated village of Arufi in the South Pacific country’s Western Province as a place that could benefit from a medical outpost. A fly-and-build team from the Adventist Church’s Northern Australian Conference traveled to Arufi in 2014 and built a small clinic.
A year later, Maris Taku, an Adventist community health worker, arrived to work at the Arufi clinic. She also visited nearby villages to give health awareness seminars and treat those too weak to travel to Arufi. On Sabbaths, she gathered the few local Adventists under a tree and led out in a small program. This went on for a while until the church’s South West Papua Mission sent a lay minister to assist the group.
Last June, the small church organized a health evangelism program and invited Gad Koito, health director for the church in Papua New Guinea, to speak. The program attracted about 500 people nightly, and health messages were shared alongside God’s Word. At the end of the program, a couple in their 70s was baptized and 23 people, mostly youth, asked to begin Bible studies for baptism.
“Health is truly the right arm of the gospel,” Koito said. “God is using it to bring the people of Arufi into the church.”
Before Koito and the visiting members of the evangelistic team left Arufi, the village elders, all leaders of the Evangelical Church of Papua, reaffirmed their support for having the clinic on their traditional lands and also invited the Seventh-day Adventist Church to raise a church building.
The small Adventist group in Arufi is now building a church where they can gather every Sabbath to worship God.
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