, president of the South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
I have just returned from five days with General Conference president Ted N.C. Wilson and his wife, Nancy, in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu.
It was a hectic blessing.
We helped a Vanuatu rebuild team and local villagers at Epike, on the island of Efate, to put up the major beams of their new church. Ted worked with the rest of us. In five days, we had five welcome ceremonies as well as one farewell ceremony. At each event Ted remembered key people’s names and thanked them. He acknowledged the many hours of preparation and honored and valued the people, their cultural practices, and gifts.
At different times we met the president of Vanuatu, two ministers in the Vanuatu government, and four different provincial leaders. On each occasion Ted was able to share with these civic leaders the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s philosophy of mission; how ADRA, education, and medical work contribute; and how he wants the church to be a solution in society as we wait for Jesus’ return. He was also able to share an appropriate Bible promise and pray for each of them by name. He showed statesman-like dignity.
At each location people wanted to talk with him. Ted took time to listen and encourage, and never said no to the photos — although preferring to be out of the limelight. Everywhere we went, he showed interest in those he met.
He also had radio and TV interviews and presented sermons. As we rushed from one appointment to another, whether by car, boat or plane, he chatted with those in the delegation.
Most days we spent 10 to 12 hours in public view. Nancy told me that the busy itinerary was similar to every other place they visit as part of their church work. From what I saw Ted was genuinely kind under this constant pressure. He often remarks that the Lord upholds him and appreciates people’s prayers. A good example for me as I cope with the pressure, too (Hebrews 13:17).