October 29, 2019

In Fiji, Conference Remembers Unsung Heroes of Adventist Mission

Cecile Trief, Adventist Record, and Adventist Review

For the third year in a row, Fulton Adventist University College, a Seventh-day Adventist school in Nadi, Fiji, has hosted the “Waves Across the Pacific: Uncovering Adventist Mission” Conference, held September 12-14, 2019.

The conference was launched in conjunction with the Journal of Pacific Adventist History, published by David Hay with the contribution of many other Pacific Island missionaries.

Some of the “Waves Across the Pacific: Uncovering Adventist Mission” 2019 conference attendees follow a presentation at Fulton Adventist University College in Nadi, Fiji. The event highlighted the Adventist contribution to spreading the gospel across the Pacific. [Photo: Adventist Record]

The opening address, entitled “Connecting the Waves of Pacific History,” was delivered by guest speaker and associate professor Morgan Tuimaleali'ifano, a history lecturer at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.

“We, from Papua New Guineans to the west to Rapanuians in the east, Hawai’ians in the north to Maori in the south, inhabitants of the Pacific Ocean live in an area that is huge by any stretch of the imagination,” Tuimaleali’ifano said. “Compared to the waves of migration and settlement of the Pacific, the evangelizing movement is very young. In 2021, the evangelizing movement will be 500 years old.”

Papers were presented by speakers from Pacific Adventist University, Sonoma College, Avondale University College, and faculty members of Fulton, as well as other speakers from Fiji and New Zealand.

“This is a very good initiative, and I am glad that Fulton Adventist University College has committed itself to host this conference,” said former South Pacific Division (SPD) Adventist Mission director Ray Coombe, “but it needs to be widely advertised so as to attract more Seventh-day Adventist members to present their research or the ‘untold stories' of nationals and international faith heroes who have committed their lives for service in God’s vineyard of the South Pacific islands.”

Fulton principal Glynn Galo gave credit to Hay, who was unable to attend this year due to health-related issues but has continued to collaborate with the Journal of Pacific Adventist History for the publication of presented papers.

In his presentation on Griffith F. Jones, former Fulton principal Stephen Currow shared that the Seventh-day Adventist Church began its missionary work in the South Pacific islands in the late 1880s.

“We feel the need to uncover the sacrifices and lives of all missionaries who have answered the call,” Currow said as he quoted Griffith F. Jones: “‘My poor wife and I accepted it gladly as a duty of love, although we knew nothing of its dangers, hardships, and trials. In this respect, we rejoiced to be the children of Abraham who “went out, not knowing whither he went.”’”

The organizing committee also acknowledged important sponsors for this year’s event, including Fiji Water and Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing. On behalf of the Trans-Pacific Union Mission church region, associate education director Mere Vaihola and president Maveni Kaufononga attended the event, something that did not go unnoticed.

“We thank the continuous support of the Trans-Pacific Union Mission,” committee leaders said.

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.