The City Evangelism series, often run in the world’s largest
cities—from as far as New York to Sydney—has been extended to atolls in the
A three-week program is being held in Betio Town, Kiribati, by
Pastor Gary Webster, director of the Institute of Public Evangelism.
“Betio has a population density of almost 10,000 per square
kilometre, which is among the highest that we know of,” Webster said.
In preparing for the program, he spent four days on Tarawa
Island attending a combined service that involved members of the Bairiki,
Betio, Bikenibeu, Bonriki and Korobu churches. Tarawa is a small atoll facing
rising sea levels associated with climate change. At the combined service, 10
people were baptized in the lagoon.
Kiribati Mission President Titau Tavita described his country as
probably the pacific region’s most difficult mission field, in light of its
remoteness, ongoing population pressures, coastal erosion and economic
challenges. “Despite these harsh realities, we will play our part as we are
convinced of the imminence of Jesus’ return,” he said.
Adventist work in Kiribati began in 1947 and the mission was established in
1954. There are more than 2,200 church members. The 247-student Kauma Adventist
High School serve as the church’s