Week of prayer meetings ended Sabbath with the baptism of 57 people at Papua New Guinea’s Pacific Adventist University, a stunning result for a team of campus pastors who had prayed for 15 baptisms.
“We have experienced the remarkable moving of God’s Spirit this week,”said Derek J. Morris, associate secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist world church’s Ministerial Association, who led the week of prayer.“Today was one of the most inspiring Sabbaths of my entire life!”
Morris added, “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”
Every year faculty and students on the campus in Port Moresby, the capital of the South Pacific country, participate in a Festival of Faith, as the week of prayer is called. About half of the university’s more than 1,000 students belong to Christian denominations other than the Adventist Church.
This week Morris presented “Rejoicing in Christ,“ 12 messages from the teachings of Jesus Christ that underscore Jesus is the Son of the living God, the strong Deliverer, the faithful Judge, the One who holds the keys of Hades and death, and the One who is building a church that will emerge victorious.
“It was clear even at the first meeting that God was moving in unusual ways,” Morris said.
A campus ministries team led by pastors Obed Yamasombi and Tiaon Burete carefully and prayerfully prepared for the week of prayer. Special prayer groups were formed. The day before the meetings began, a group of students and a faculty member climbed the highest peak on the mountainous campus and prayed all night for God to work in supernatural ways for the honor of His name and the blessing of His children, Morris said.
“They believed the words of Scripture given through the apostle John, ‘Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us,’” Morris said, citing 1 John 5:14.
As the week progressed, students were challenged daily to make decisions of eternal consequence.
“The pastors on the campus ministries team had been praying for 15 baptisms this year,” Morris said. “But they discovered that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. Their list of baptismal candidates grew throughout the week.”
He said the development reminded him of Ephesians 3:20-21, which reads, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.”
Sabbath morning began with the baptism of a student in a nearby river. The student had asked to be baptized in the river rather than the church’s baptistery.
Then Morris spoke to a group of 50 to 60 inmates at the Bomana maximum-security prison located about 15 minutes from the campus. The inmates, who attended voluntarily, heard a simple message about Jesus, the Good Shepherd, in a prison chapel where a local elder, Reuben Alu, regularly conducts weekly services.
“When I made an appeal for the prisoners to give their hearts to Jesus, the response was overwhelming,” Morris said. “It seemed that almost all of the 50 to 60 prisoners responded.”
By the time Morris returned to campus, the university church was filled to overflowing. The university choir sang, “In the presence of Jesus I find love and mercy. In His presence there is sweet comfort. There is hope for all.” Morris reminded the morning worshipers that when they prayed in Jesus’ name, standing under His authority and surrendered to His will, miracles would happen.
At the conclusion of the morning worship service, a team of seven pastors baptized 56 people in the church’s baptistery and in a larger baptistery constructed beside the building a day earlier. The candidates were mostly university students from various provinces in Papua New Guinea and surrounding islands, but a few were high school students and members of the local community. About two-thirds of the student who were baptized had grown up in Adventist families.
“We were reminded that Jesus is gathering His children from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people,” Morris said.