October 24, 2014

30 Baptized in Tahiti but Common-Law Marriages Prove a Problem

, South Pacific Adventist Record

Thirty people were baptized in Tahiti at the end of a
two-phase evangelistic outreach in June and September, and a church leader said
the figure would have been higher if it weren’t for a large number of
common-law marriages.

About 2,200 people attended a closing ceremony at the Aorai
Tini Hau venue in the city of Pirae, with 52 people responding to an appeal for
baptism. A further 200 people asked to begin Bible studies at the conclusion of
the “Faaa for Christ” evangelistic series late last month.

The series, part of the Adventist Church’s Mission to the
Cities initiative to share Jesus in large cities, started in June with 30
campaigns across the Faaa region of Papeete that resulted in 250 people
requesting Bible studies.

But French Polynesia Mission president Roger Tetuanui said a
number of people chose not to get baptized yet because they first wanted to get
their common-law marriages right with God.

<strong>SPECIAL MUSIC:</strong> A choir singing near the cloth-covered baptismal tank during the baptismal service. Photo courtesy of Geoff Beissner / Adventist Record

“The main issues for most people are that they live in a de
facto relationship or work on the Sabbath,” Tetuanui said. “Otherwise many more
people would have been baptized, maybe over 200 additional people.”

It was not immediately clear how the Tahiti people were dealing
with their marriage problems. One step would be for them to formalize the
relationships with legal marriages.

Turning to next year’s evangelism plans, Tetuanui said the
French Polynesia Mission would focus on events to meet the physical, emotional,
and material needs of non-Adventist families. A key part of this strategy will
be to teach biblical health principles because “health is the right hand of the
gospel,” he said.

The mission would also like to see more home churches
established in Faaa in 2015 because land and buildings in the area have become
very expensive.

Related links

Adventist Record, Oct. 23, 2014: “Baptism and Bible Studies in Tahiti”

Adventist Review, Sept. 11, 2014: “My Tahiti Trip Finds a New Challenge in Sharing Jesus”