Nauru is an island country in Micronesia, in the Central Pacific. It lies northwest of Tuvalu, north of the Solomon Islands, east-northeast of Papua New Guinea, southeast of the Federated States of Micronesia and south of the Marshall Islands. With 10,084 residents in an 8.1-square-mile (21-square-kilometre) area, it is the smallest state in the South Pacific and the third smallest state by area in the world. Local members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, however, are now celebrating that after years of praying and waiting, they finally have a church building in which to worship.
The new church was officially opened on April 9 by Maveni Kaufononga, president of the Trans-Pacific Union Mission (TPUM) church region, based in Fiji, and Nauru Government Minister Shadlog Bernicke.
Reagan Aliklik, the elder and landowner who donated the land for the church, shared a brief history of Adventism in the small nation. He said that in 1975, a small group of Adventists made up of Kiribatians and Solomon Islanders who came to work in the phosphate mines, started worshipping together.
Later, Nauruans who went to study in Adventist schools in Fiji (Navesau High School, Vatuvonu College, and Suva Adventist High School), Kiribati (Kaume High School), and Papua New Guinea (Pacific Adventist University) returned and joined the group. Eventually, church ministers were sent to nurture and grow the small group.
Today, total membership has grown to more than 50.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, there was joyful celebration and thanksgiving expressed by the members. “After so many years of waiting, we now have a proper place to worship and have communion with God,” they said.
During the worship service, Kaufononga reminded the members that the church should be a light in the darkness. “The church is a lighthouse for the lost and wounded souls, and you are here to serve them,” he said.
Following the service, members served the guests a feast of food, with plenty of networking and fellowship taking place around the table.
The resident pastor was also excited as he no longer has to live in rented houses and temporary shelters because a new three-bedroom house was built under the church.
“We wish to thank the world church for their kind gesture and financial assistance that allowed us to build this new church,” said Ronald Stone, Ministerial Association secretary and Global Mission coordinator in the TPUM. “We are also grateful and thankful for the two teams of builders from Fiji,” he said. “[We appreciate] their sacrifice and determination to complete the project despite the many challenges they faced.”