Today nearly 1,000 Adventist churches and 3,000 companies have been established throughout all 20 provinces of PNG.
In 1901, missionaries sent by the London Missionary Society to Papua New Guinea (PNG) were cannibalized. Seven years later, traditional sorcerers murdered pioneer missionary Benisimani Tavodi as he knelt in prayer one Sabbath morning. Tavodi, a dedicated Fijian Seventh-day Adventist, was assisting Pastor Septimus Carr and his wife, Edith, in bringing the Adventist message to this unentered land.
One hundred years later the Fiji Times reported that members of the murdering tribe apologized to relatives of Tavodi: “In an emotional ceremony held last week, the descendants of the Taburi clan in the Koiari district that first received the Adventist gospel in 1908, expressed remorse over the killing of missionary Tavodi by reconciling with his grand nephew, Pastor Mitieli Nakasamai.”
Today nearly 1,000 Adventist churches and 3,000 companies have been established throughout all 20 provinces of PNG. A quarter of a million baptized Seventh-day Adventists touch millions of lives through local church activities, health ministry, education, community services, the media, and so much more. The church’s influence extends from outlying islands to the highlands, from small jungle villages to cities, from local initiatives to the highest political offices in the land.
So why is this edition of Global Mission’s Frontline—which usually focuses on unentered people groups and territories—featuring a country with one of the highest member to population ratios in the world? First, despite the remarkable growth of the church in PNG, Global Mission pioneers are still planting new groups of believers in challenging areas. Second, it reminds us that mission and church growth doesn’t happen by accident. In 1908 PNG was an unentered country with hundreds of unreached people groups. It took the sacrifice and commitment of pioneer missionaries such as the Carrs and Tavodi to start the church in PNG.
But more than that, it took the prayers and financial support of the world church to support the missionaries in this area of the world. The church in Australia devoted the third quarter Sabbath School offerings in 1906 to help begin the mission work there. And Adventist youth groups raised funds to provide a basic stipend for Tavodi.
Today, the Adventist mission work moves forward in the same exciting way. Church members and leaders catch a vision. People pray. Plans are made. Resources are mobilized. Frontline mission work begins. New congregations are planted.
Thank you for your continuing prayerful and financial support of Global Mission around the world.