August 28, 2014

First Church to Be Built in World’s 2nd Smallest Country

Would you like to build a church in the second smallest
country in the world?

Adventist leaders are looking for volunteers to start
construction of the first Adventist church in Nauru, a tiny South Pacific
island nation, in the fall after acquiring a 99-year land lease.

“This is something that the members of the Nauruan church
have been looking forward to for years,” said Glenn Townend, president of the
church’s Trans Pacific Union Mission. “Land in Nauru is very expensive and not
easily transferred to others.”

Nauru is the smallest country in the South Pacific, with
9,400 people living on 8 square miles (21 square kilometers) of phosphate rock.
The only smaller country in the world by population is Vatican City, with some
850 people.

Twenty-five Adventists live in the island, but weekly
attendance in the current meeting place, a rented hall, is closer to 40, Eparama
Drou, associate chief financial officer for the Trans Pacific Union Mission,
said Wednesday.

<strong>THE LEASED LAND:</strong> A planning document showing the front of the land plot where the Adventist church will be built in Nauru. Photo credit: Trans Pacific Union Mission

In May, Nauruan President Baron Waqa signed off on the
transfer of a land lease from a local church member, Steve Mwea Amwano, to the
Adventist Church. The land was given so a church could be built in

Townend said Mwea Amwano gave the land because he was
grateful for his education at Navasau Adventist High School in Fiji. In
exchange for the land, the church agreed to build a two-bedroom house for Mwea
Amwano and his family on property that he owns elsewhere on Nauru.

The transfer of the land lease started in 2011. The lease
first had to be moved from Mwea Amwano’s family to Mwea Amwano himself. Then
Mwea Amwano transferred it to the Adventist Church. Each time, the documents
had to go through Nauru’s parliament and be approved by the president.

In another complication, the Seventh-day Adventist Church also
had get registered in Nauru, a process that was completed last year.

Now the Trans Pacific Union Mission, of which Nauru is an
attached district, is ready to build both the church and the house for Mwea
Amwano, Townend said. The church’s blueprint is awaiting the endorsement
of municipal lawmakers. A double-story church is envisioned, with a hall,
kitchen, and rooms for youth and children Sabbath school classes downstairs and
a main worship hall upstairs.

Nauru members and the Trans Pacific Union Mission are asking
that other church members, particularly those in the South Pacific Division, consider
flying in to help build the church.

“Building materials are being shipped to Nauru from Fiji and
should arrive in early October,” Townend said. “All we need is builders to put
the new building up.”

— With reporting by Trans Pacific Union
Mission staff

For more information,
contact Eparama Drou, associate chief financial officer of the Trans Pacific
Union Mission, at [email protected]

Contact Adventist Review news editor Andrew McChesney at [email protected].
Twitter: @ARMcChesney

Related link

Trans Pacific Union Mission Web site