An eyewitness account of PNG for Christ

  Hi there, everyone. I'm Jarrod. And I'm Zenita. Let's go live.

 Hello everyone and welcome back to another episode of Record Live. We've had a few weeks break which has been good. But Jared, we haven't just had a break for the sake of having a break. We've also had a break because you have been in another country.

So welcome back. Do you want to tell us a bit about where you've been?

Thank you. Yes. It's good to be back, but I'm also kind of missing where I came from. I was in Papua New Guinea and it was a great trip. It was a great experience.

Awesome. , before you went, Jared, I actually thought that you were just on like a small business trip.

Didn't really have much of an idea of what was actually happening over in Papua of people have actually joined you in going over and there's a really significant and big event happening over there. Can you tell us about PNG for Christ, which I believe is still happening?

PNG for Christ is still happening.

It's running until this coming weekend. It started on the 26th of April. So most places are doing a two week program, 16 nights of Seminars and, , as an evangelistic program to the place. Now, it's anything but little, . 2000 sites across the country.


, this is a country of about 8 million people, currently.

And there's 2000 sites, there's over 200 speakers just from the South Pacific Division. So people have come from all over to help take part in the mission and the ministry that's happening right now in Papua New Guinea. And with 2000 sites, you know, you drive for 10 minutes, you see another site in some of the cities there.

And in some of the areas that we visited, we saw Many of the different sites,, but only scratch the surface because really across the country we couldn't visit all the sites in 10 days We went to a fair few, but it's just a huge logistical effort for the church there to have pulled off So is it a big program?

Yes There's about well, they say maybe around 600, 000 five to six hundred thousand Adventists in Papua New Guinea And I would say almost every one of those people is involved in this program in some way, whether volunteering, whether taking part in choirs that are singing at the events or, inviting people, their friends, their family, their neighbors to this programs, everyone's involved.

So there's a real buzz in the air. There's a real excitement and everyone else in the country knows that it's happening. there's some opposition. Some people are marching their churches past the sites and trying to pull their, their members in., But there's generally support, you know, there are many people excited to see the international speakers in their communities.

, Ted Wilson, the world, president of the seventh day of Venice Church. He got a great reception, at the airport or any airport that he flew into as he's been doing a few little trips around the country. , The, parliamentarians, the community leaders, everyone's excited that he's there. And he got onto the front page of the paper Anthony Albanese, the Australian Prime Minister, was there for Anzac Day, and Ted Wilson arrived on Anzac Day, and they both shared a front cover in one of the national pictures there.

So, , it's not every day a church leader gets that sort of prominence, , alongside world leadership. So, the whole country's abuzz with this excitement for PNG for Christ.

Mm. Exciting. I think of probably the biggest Adventist events we have, say, in Australia. And I, the first things that come to mind is like Big Camp, Campery, Elia Wellness, whatever as many of them, but none of them compare, I guess, to the magnitude of what we're talking about in Papua New Guinea. , you mentioned that there was, 2000 venues across the country. Is this an event for Adventists or is this kind of like an outreach event? Like, who is this for and what are they like, what are they trying to achieve? Is it just learning seminars? Is it worship programs? Is it all of the above?

It's a great question. , They're calling it a reaping campaign. So it's teaching, Hope from revelation and some of the prophetic understandings that the church has many of the people that are being baptized, and we can talk a little bit about baptisms probably later, but many of the people that are being baptized have been studying with pastors, lay people, elders, for some months.

So. It's not necessarily a program to get new baptisms, although that will happen. , it is a program to reap some of the groundwork that has been happening in the past few years. PNG for Christ was supposed to happen in 2020 and it got cancelled because of COVID. And so what The church in Papua New Guinea did was to go into house churches, small group Bible reading groups, and it really expanded their reach, and they started a whole heap of new groups, a whole heap of church plants, and it really exploded the church in Papua New Guinea since.

So this. Program has been somewhat delayed, and I'm not sure if it changed slightly in its focus, but it is being labeled this at least this time as a reaping campaign. Now, it's a great time to invite your friends and family and your neighbors. Many of the people are Adventists. Some of them may be fairly new Adventists.

And so this is a good faith bolstering exercise for them. They're attending, they're learning more about what we believe as a church, and they're hearing different perspectives from speakers and stories from speakers from around the world, rather than just their local church minister or the local elder, who's normally taking the church services for them.

Yeah. You mentioned, that it was delayed due to the pandemic. I also watched another one of your videos that you posted while you were away. And you were saying that since the pandemic. Hundreds, if not thousands of churches have opened since then., COVID wasn't that long ago, so that's, that's kind of impressive.

Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Yeah. So I think at certain points in the pandemic for Papua New Guinea, the limit was 50 people. 50 people were only allowed , in a place at one time in a building. Now that was a challenge to some of our churches in Papua New Guinea, cause they're bigger than that. , they have more people in total than that. So what they had to do was meet in homes. , they would get their family and they would do worship together and they would invite maybe the neighbor's family, their friends. Now it had a really interesting effect because people who would never walk into an Adventist church or some people who.

Would be afraid to walk into a church in general, there's still a lot of superstition. There's still a lot of,, spiritualism. In Papua New Guinea. So the idea of walking into the church might be quite confronting to people, but walking into your neighbor's house for a meal and a Bible study, that was accessible to a whole bunch of new people.

And so these little plants, these little church plants , and house groups, they flourished during the pandemic. And so when it was time to come back to the churches, people came back. But they couldn't fit in the churches any longer. So they had to build new churches. We, in drive, in driving around, we saw at least two churches that we took a photo of and went up to have a look.

And, they were called TMI churches, Total Member Involvement churches. What that means is one of the members, some of the lay people, perhaps the elders of a local church have actually been, reaching out in that village. and have started a group and that group has grown to the size where they need a permanent building to worship in or semi permanent building.

Some of these churches are bush material churches. So they've been woven with Kunai grass walls and the roofs, maybe some sheets of corrugated iron and they build this church so they can have a shelter on Sabbath if it rains or if it's really hot. And they're worshiping. Why? Because they don't fit in the house anymore.

that they started the group in. So they're growing these churches, building these churches all across the country. And, I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I did hear at one point that there's been something like 6, 000 churches planted since COVID. Now those aren't necessarily organized churches, what the church Handbook calls an organized church, um, 60 members or something in, a permanent church building and stuff like that.

But these are church plants, groups that associate themselves with the Adventist church and have,, some attachment to the mother church, , the. Whichever church planted them. it's just phenomenal to see and to witness the growth. In fact, we pulled over at a little church and it looked like a bit of a construction zone.

It was very busy. There was lots of activity. There were unloading boxes off a ute. And so we stopped in there and we talked to the local area pastor and he said, this church has actually been decommissioned. We're renovating and rebuilding this church because we need a bigger church. But there are three other churches that have come out of this one.

They gathered in smaller groups and now they're, , Worshipping in those places before we come back and build up the mother church for us to fit sort of back here. They're taking the opportunity to grow and multiply and rebuild and


bigger all the stuff that they have already. And at that church, at the back of that church, they've also, received some government funding for like a safe house.

So for domestic violence victims, for homeless people. They've got some rooms. They've got some, nice facilities where the church can be a center of influence. The church can look after the least of these, , and be a light in that community. So it's not just like, Hey, come listen to the Bible, join our church.

They're actually serving their community. And it's a really great thing to see.

That's so cool. It's almost like they're stripping it back to the ax method of. Back in the homes and multiplying it that way. I don't know if you're aware, Jared, but TMI in Australia, it's kind of a girl's lingo for too much information.

There's like girls groups where you can go and discuss things.

I am aware, I wasn't aware it was a particularly female thing, but when it came out from the general conference, I was skeptical. My eyebrows raised. I thought that was not a good acronym, but up there, they've, they've embraced it. They've embraced it and they're using it.

So that's, that's how I'll refer to it. It

means something else for them. You mentioned that there's 2000 venues across Papua New Guinea., I imagine that is requiring a huge amount of commitment. involvement from the church members over there., what kind of like hard work are they doing to make this all possible?

So, so as part of my reporting, I'm privileged to be part of a SPD like group chat where I'm hearing from a lot of our speakers who are over there and They're sharing stories, and some of the stories of the commitment of our church members are just amazing. I also have a lot of friends on Facebook who have gone over and are preaching, and they're also sharing stories.

So I'm seeing all these stories in my newsfeed. My emails are filled with. PNG for Christ stuff. But some that really stand out to me, there's a teacher at one of the venues and he has given up his full time job to be the chairman of the organizing committee for the site in this area. So he is,

they've got committees for all this stuff, organizing these programs. And he's the chairman of the organizing committee for his area. He was a teacher. Currently he's dedicating his time full time to these programs. Now. Whether or not he can get his job back at the end of this,, it's been two years that he hasn't had a job so that he could dedicate his time to planning and organizing this. , as I say, these events have been planned for a long time and they've been happening, you know, for a long time., I saw another inspiring story. One of our Vanuatu pastors is over., in the Highlands there, and he put up a story about a missionary volunteer. So this guy, would only get a small stipend, if anything, but he's gone into a remote work area to spread the gospel, and he is a missionary.

not great at reading and writing. , he's got, low levels of literacy, but he has a Bible role and he's looking after four churches and he visits everybody every day and he builds relationships and he tells them Bible stories out of his Bible role. Now he has had to walk, I think it said two days, one or two days to get to the venue, to the site.

And he's brought with him 20 people ready for baptism that he's been studying with. That want to get baptized. So, the commitment and many of these sites, especially the bigger ones have campsites. You talked about big camp before. This is like big camp, but it's happening all over the whole country.

, people are camping at all the sites around all the sites in tents. They're building, They build like a grass type hut, and then they put a tarpaulin over the top, and that keeps, more water out, , and they're just in these camps lining the field that the site is, , Being preached in,, lining the back of along the river bank where, you know, next to a church site, , where that's happening.

So it's just amazing to see the commitment because some of these people have to walk for a long way to, , to attend, but they're that committed. They're doing that for two weeks so they can be there for the program.

Crazy. And then two weeks back again after that. No doubt. Yeah, wow. What a story. As well as, , the programs that are happening, I believe there's also been quite a large amount of healthcare services happening by 10, 000 toes.

, and I believe there's been quite an incredible turnout. Can you tell us, do you know a little bit more about that that you can tell us about?

Yeah, I do. The Mega Health Clinic ran before the programs . They saw 10, 400 and something patients, 10, 420 odd patients, and they actually gave away 18, 000 treatments.

So some people had more than one treatment. So out of that 10, 000, you know, they might've had a tooth removed that was rotten or aching, and they had a leg treated for or they had, a test, a blood pressure, heart test and such and such. So The medical work is really an important part of This whole campaign.

, In fact, there's an eye doctor there from India, Dr. Jacob, and he did 1, 500 cataract removals.


of these people are people who can't see, you know, the cataracts have gotten so bad, they haven't seen their loved ones, they haven't been able to, Do simple things for themselves, prepare their food, et cetera, and they can see again because the cataract surgery that he does takes about three minutes.

And so he gets through hundreds in a day with, if all the conditions are set up, right? So these are people who couldn't see and now see, and this really is the ministry of Jesus, like healing the people. Before you feed them spiritually, , and they've talked about, I've heard stories of people claiming, , that they've recovered, that they felt better.

Just from rocking up to the venue just to be, you know, lining up and seeing the doctors and it's sort of healed some of their ailments. So look, the church in PNG, the leadership of the church sees it also as a really strategic part of this whole,, this whole campaign, this whole program, we're here to heal the body.

Not just the mind and the spirit and the,, the spiritual angle of it., Jesus did heal people and speak and preach to people. This same thing is happening in PNG. So yeah, the mega health clinic at Togoba. Had , 10, 000 patients plus seen since then. The good doctor, Dr. Jacob has been doing more cataract surgeries at Minj, which is where the world church president is based.

, We mentioned 10, 000 toes and SPD health as supporting organizations, but also AWR, Adventist World Radio Health, , 360, they've been a very good key part from the States. They've been supporting this venue. Many of their people are here at sites speaking in this division, and they provided clinical teams, doctors, et cetera, from the the U.

S. As well to support these programs. So it's really been an international effort. But pastor Kyle, he works for AWR and he said, this is the biggest, 360 health mega clinic that they've ever undertaken. So they've done it in Africa. They've done it in other places and big numbers come out for those, but this is the biggest one they've done.

So they're really,, happy, I guess, excited to see the results, coming through from that, Zanita people have flown, which means they have some money to buy an air ticket. They've flown to the mega clinics from places like Lae, from Medang, from Moresby, so the problem is that health services in the country just may be not that great and so people who need a certain type of healing wanted to come to the health clinic have made an effort, they've travelled up Trucks and buses, they've flown even to be at the health clinic to get treatment, to seek help and healing, for whatever is impacting them.

So it really isn't, it's a massive impact on the country, and there is a conscious understanding from the church that it would be great if we could have some more clinics. Or have some way to follow up and some way to continue to support the health work in this country of Papua New Guinea because it's all very well to fly in and fly out, make a big splash, but can we contribute in a sustainable way?

And I think they'll leave some of the equipment they've donated that they've brought over there. They'll, you know, have, they've set up a clinic now that is furbished and ready to, serve, continue to serve. So there is contributions being made that will be ongoing., but the church is interested in how can we continue to provide support in these places?

Yeah, that's really important. That is. And it's being put in place for the future. I think we can't quite comprehend,, how big this is when most of us have access to health care and the hospital is just around the corner. I'm like, I've never had to get in a plane to have anything healed. I guess there's something so big.


They said that some people had never been able to see a doctor. Like we, we don't understand that experience here in Australia. We just don't have that. experience.

Yeah. Wow. There's something so big like this., why is it PNG for Christ? Like do things like this happen in other countries? Like why?

Korea for Christ or India for Christ? Like why is it, why is this happening in Papua New Guinea? ,

it's a good question. Actually just when we're starting this program, Tonga was also running an evangelism program. Tonga for Christ, they called it. So it's a much smaller scale. , but it's definitely something that, in our division, we're looking at, at doing, look, they've run big programs around the world before the Adventist sort of mission, efforts in different places have done things like this.

So is it unique? Maybe, part of, I think the amazing thing about this program is the groundwork that was laid, the fact that it was delayed by COVID, and it was a plan that got delayed, which means God has been able to set things up. And people have been able to work more on some of those plans to make it more successful than perhaps it would have been in our timing as human beings, we, often think we have a plan and we do our hardest to work for a plan.

But something that derails that is sometimes God's timing. Sometimes it's the silver lining that this program actually is much better placed now than it would have been in 2020., Also, this program, I think, is a response to some of the Discovery Bible reading groups and the house church., as I said, there was a program planned for 2020, and some of this hadn't yet happened as much, but it was starting to happen.

They were having those conversations in PNG. They were starting small groups. They were training their leaders to be able to use these methods., and so the fruit we're seeing now is the result of the division strategic plan, many years of hard work. Pastor Glenn Townend. If you've ever heard him speak, you'll know that he emphasizes discipleship, and he's the president of the South Pacific Division.

He's always talking about discipleship, and I think it's been a sort of,, highlight or a, main emphasis of his leadership. And so. That looks different in different unions, you know, PNG is tackling that slightly differently to TPUM and to New Zealand and to Australia. And so we're all tackling that slightly differently, but in Papua New Guinea, this is part of their strategic plan to.

Disciple others, but also to have this big reaping program in T. P. U. M. They're doing different discipling of different spheres of influence each year, and then they have a reaping program each year as well., and so their, their model looks like, first it was like, I will go to my family. I will go to my neighbors.

I will go to my work colleagues. And then I think next year is I will go to the ends of the earth. So it's the sort of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria. ends of earth model. And so people are tackling it slightly differently, but I think here in the SPD, there is a real reawakening of


desire for mission and a desire to be active church members and discipling disciple makers who.

who are being discipled and are making other disciples pass in that faith on to others.

Yeah, super excited to hear everything that's happening. You were a bit of a roving reporter while you were over there. , what were some of the interesting or significant things that you came across, while you were there?,

Well, it's the first time I've sat in a meeting of the prime minister of a country with the world leader of a church. That sort of significant event happens., but then I guess of personal significance, I got to speak to the prime minister and He was a student at Kabiufa High School, secondary school, which is an Adventist secondary school, which my grandfather was principal at when he was there.

So a number of the church leaders and the country, students of my grandfather when he was a missionary there. So to me, that, That has personal significance, you know, meeting people that my grandfather taught when he was alive,, and up in Papua New Guinea,, we saw different sites, we heard different stories, and as I said, I'm getting reports through on my phone of, of miracles happening.

There's some Avondale. Lecturers and students at Omara Bible School, which is a Bible worker training school in a fairly remote area of Papua New Guinea, there was a lady there that asked for prayer for healing. And so they prayed with her and her leg was healed. So she told her friend. Who wasn't an Adventist and she came for prayer and she also was healed.

And so they've started a prayer ministry there where they're going around the campsite and praying during the day with all the people that want healing and, and are coming forward for healing. Like, there's a, there's a prison., there's a number of sites in prisons, but Eva Ng, who is, a division worker here at the SBD, she's preaching at the women's correctional facility in Garoka. She had 20 or 30 people requesting baptism. These are prisoners locked up behind bars, but they're also being ministered to by these programs. So, like, just there's things all over the place. I guess in being there and being a roving reporter, the things that stood out to me, I've sort of mentioned the commitment of the people, the church members that I meet, they're always friendly, they're always faithful, they're always convicted and committed and so excited to be taking part in God's work, , and the sheer scale of the program, like, if you think what it takes to run your local church on a Sabbath, you've got an AV team, You've got some musicians organized.

You've got maybe a host or a welcomer or an MC. You've got the speaker for the day with their message and their PowerPoints. You've got all these things that's happening at 2000 sites every night simultaneously. Right. Think of how many volunteers and not just that. The speakers that have to go from where their accommodation is to the site every night.

They've got drivers and guides who are looking after them. These are local church members who are sometimes looking after these people. And some of these people are there all day. If the speaker wants to go somewhere, they take them as their driver. Now, These people have jobs, they have families, but they're taking two weeks out to be part of this program.

They can't preach. Maybe they don't want to preach. They don't want to, heal people in the clinic. They don't have medical skills. What can they do? They can drive. So they'll drive the people around, like everyone's ministering however they can. It's just fantastic to see that, that commitment and that level of,, activity and involvement from everyone.

Yeah. Just doing whatever they can to help for sure. We, do like to get practical here on Record Live, as you know, Jared, you're well informed. , but I'd like to change the perspective here a little bit because, This is probably, for people listening, this is probably, they're not going to be impacted in the same way that you were, obviously, having been and having seen all of these things.

But I suppose travelling often, maybe not to things like this, but just travelling in general or going to events like this, it kind of can conjure up something in us that makes us want to change. And so, I'm wondering from your experience, from your brief time at PNG for Christ, how and now coming home, how has this event impacted you in a way that you want to return and I guess live a little different or serve a little different or fill in the blank?

Like, how has this impacted you coming home to Australia?

What a question, Zenita. , I mean, just right off the bat, I know I could do with more time in my Bible and in prayer, especially prayer. Like, I make sure to pray with my kids every day. I try and say a prayer before Going to work and before going to sleep., But it can become fairly rote. It's the same, same, you know,, I'm seeing examples of prayer, prayers being answered in this campaign, people praying and even God protecting and working and helping when. It hasn't necessarily been prayer. And so for me, I'm like reminded of the, I guess the power and the importance of having a good connection with God in my life every day, reading his word, praying.

It's hard. I'll be the first to say it's hard with two little kids at home, a toddler and a four year old. , it's not easy to get time to yourself and to commit that time. But in PNG, we were going, we were busy all day. , but I was waking up super early every morning and I would read my Bible before I started the day.

And I want that to be part of my. Everyday life, not just, because it was easier there. I didn't have little feet kicking me in the face to wake me up, you know, finding that time and that, that commitment. Like if a guy can walk two days to come attend some meetings or give up their job for two years to, Organize a program so that people might find Jesus.

What am I giving up out of my comfort? Like, what am I doing to commit to sacrifice, to show that for many of us, the last couple of years have been a bit rough with burnout and stress and covert and the cost of living's going up, et cetera. Maybe that stress is a wake up call. We need to. Yeah, rededicate, recommit, and just really focus on the mission and the ministry of, of Jesus

simple reminders, but good reminders. , for anyone wanting to know about PNG for Christ, where's the best place to stay updated or just to, learn more about what's going on?

Adventist record, we've got, we've got, , stories continuing to go up. , we'll be processing stories, I think for months to come for weeks to come at least, , coming out of this event. , our other podcasts that we have record wrap is featuring, some more interviews, some more information on the health clinic with some of those guys that I mentioned that were giving me some information over there, we've got some snippets from them. So check out record. Record wrap podcast this week.

, but our website, our email list, we can't always guarantee that we'll be able to reach all of our followers on social media forever. So it's great. If you guys sign up to our email list, then you get the updates every week in your inbox. , as well as things, you know, I'm sure, the PNG stories will be part of our division report for the general conference and now we are the church programs that are coming up.

So there's going to be plenty of info coming out about PNG for Christ., if you keep. your eyes open and keep updated you'll hear a lot about it

yeah. Awesome. Well, it's been great to hear from you, Jared, and about your trip. Had quite a turn out here today. So for everyone watching, everyone liking and loving, thank you for joining us for another episode of Record Live and we will see you next week again.

Thanks for joining us. Bye.

An eyewitness account of PNG for Christ
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