A 12-night evangelistic series in Papua New Guinea attracted a record-sized crowd of 14,000 people, the equivalent of more than half the population of the port city where it was held, and resulted in 424 baptisms.
Retired Australian evangelist David Lamb led the campaign in Kimbe, Papua New Guinea’s third-largest port with a population of about 27,100 and located in West New Britain Province, an island off the mainland’s east coast.
“We want to praise and thank God for this united effort of our faithful people and give our Father God the honor and glory for what has been accomplished,” said Lamb, a pastor from the Sunshine Coast Adventist Fellowship congregation that meets on the campus of Sunshine Coast University in Queensland, Australia.
About 6,000 people showed up on the first night of the program, and the number increased to 14,000 toward the end of the series, with some even making the journey from offshore islands to attend.
Locals said it was the largest gathering of people they had ever seen in the district, with the size of the crowd even outnumbering the region’s popular soccer matches.
On the final Sabbath, 424 people were baptized in the ocean water of the South Pacific.
Other attendees are taking Bible studies in preparation for baptism, while local churches are seeing a flood of new visitors.
The idea for the evangelistic series was conceived two years ago by Papua New Guinea pastor Steven Moses, who worshiped with the Sunshine Coast congregation while studying at the public university. Moses encouraged the congregation’s leaders to run an evangelistic campaign in West New Britain, his home province, because previous series in Papua New Guinea had taken place mainly in the country’s capital, Port Moresby.
Members of the Sunshine Coast Adventist Fellowship took up the challenge and purchased six projectors and DVD players to be given to the six district directors in West New Britain Province. Lamb delivered the equipment in late 2013 and also conducted a training program for all pastors and Bible workers in the region.
Over the next 18 months, local church leaders hosted their own outreach programs in preparation for the larger campaign.
The event was organized by Kingsley Supa, an Adventist pastor who oversees West New Britain Province, with financial support coming from local church members and retired Australian businessman Bob Meyers.
“We would especially like to thank the provincial governor for his support by officially opening the program and being present at the last meeting to close the series,” Lamb said.