Our activities have been focused in the Bougainville, Lae, Alotau and Goodenough Island areas. Each area presents its own set of peculiar circumstances. Unfortunately, these areas are separated geographically by sea and mountain ranges, and are only readily accessible by air.
We have been very delighted by the response of a group of friends on Goodenough Island. One of these, Steven Ilewana after 5 years of association via post and seminars was recently baptized. Currently there are 72 participating in the Correspondence Course from Goodenough Island. On the mainland at Alotau, it is a rewarding experience to regularly have 25 or more visitors attend seminar evenings.
Bougainville presents a peculiar problem with the referendum for national independence less than one year away. As the outcome could be volatile, we have been conscious of the need to spend as much pastoral time in Bougainville as possible. In Arawa the hardliner political faction has warned us against holding Bible Schools. The alternative has necessitated a 340 km round trip, plus a significant trek through the mountains so our brethren and sisters can meet us in Buka.
A most enjoyable and spiritually encouraging time was spent in Buka in June. A memorial meeting, studies from the Acts and a consideration of current events took place. Two young men attending were given individual tuition. They were encouraged to attend Sis Gorethy Biupa’s weekly ‘Exploring the Bible’ and readings class.
The brethren and sisters were most appreciative of us coming and implored us not to forget them during the uncertain period ahead.
Finally, a visit was made to the Lae ecclesia and their growing Sunday School of 12 students. Lae is a high security area where we are advised to remain within protective fencing. Visitors come within the compound for meetings.
Bro Joachim and Sis Angelbert Ambia who have had their house burnt down twice in 2 years, are still suffering from the corruption that can be associated with acquiring Customary land. Meanwhile Bro Joachim is actively shepherding the ecclesia, holding discussions with the Berean brethren in Lae and preaching the Truth to a group of interested friends. It was a joy and inspiration to be with them for the week.