July 10, 2018

Clean Water, Small Groups Lead to Sustained Church Growth in PNG

Adrian Ales and Adventist Record staff

Seventh-day Adventist Church members attending mission meetings in Awan village in the Markham district, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea, recently built a community water supply in one week. Attendees came from as far as Marawaka, several hours to the south, to attend the program.

Funds for the water initiative were collected through offerings and contributions by Adventist churches from across the Morobe Province. The project was estimated to cost almost PGK100,000 (US$30,000)but was built at no more than half that cost.

“This kind of project would have taken any company months to bring to completion, but it took us a week. To God be the glory for the miracle we’ve seen,” said Morobe Mission president Blasius Managos.

Current achievements in the region arise from an initiative launched in 2016, with the first Total Member Involvement (TMI) program held in Salamaua in 2017. The program’s goal is to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of the people.

A baptism was also conducted on the Sabbath (Saturday) of that week, with 81 candidates from across the Morobe Mission. On the same day, attendees witnessed an ordination service. Ministers Bairo Kiana, Sam Essau, and Max Tola received their credentials as full-time pastors of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

New Church Building

Several hours north, in the Madang Province, about 200 church members, officers, and directors from the Madang Manus Mission gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony for a new church.

Mission president Garry Laukei said the church was needed to cater for sudden growth in membership resulting from small-group discipleship training by Peter Roennfeldt and an evangelistic series by Gary Webster in the town of Madang earlier this year.

Madang Town church has a membership of 993. According to Laukei, the church has 21 small groups, “and they are making a lot of difference in the main town of Madang.”

“We do not want to lose members, and therefore the local mission gave the land to the Madang Town church to build another church to hold the members,” he said.

The new members are currently worshiping under the roof of an unfinished house.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Laukei challenged the church to continue making disciples using small groups, “as this is the real mission of the church.”

Small-group ministry has also been pivotal in reaching the nearby village of Bilbil. Madang Town church elder Joe Anivoga, who attended Roennfeldt’s training in Madang, started a Bible Discovery Reading small group in Bilbil. The group created a lot of interest, he said, leading to a recent evangelistic series in the village, conducted by Laukei. The series had the theme “Say Yes to Jesus,” with a nightly attendance of about 300 people.

Local church leaders reported that village community leader Kubei Balifun gave the community hall to the Adventist Church. “We will start worship services also in Bilbil,” one of them said.