30 Baptized in Tahiti but Common-Law Marriages Prove a Problem
A church leader says common-law marriages may have kept more than 200 people from being baptized after an evangelistic series.
, South Pacific Adventist Record
Thirty people were baptized in Tahiti at the end of a two-phase evangelistic outreach in June and September, and a church leader said the figure would have been higher if it weren’t for a large number of common-law marriages.
About 2,200 people attended a closing ceremony at the Aorai Tini Hau venue in the city of Pirae, with 52 people responding to an appeal for baptism. A further 200 people asked to begin Bible studies at the conclusion of the “Faaa for Christ” evangelistic series late last month.
The series, part of the Adventist Church’s Mission to the Cities initiative to share Jesus in large cities, started in June with 30 campaigns across the Faaa region of Papeete that resulted in 250 people requesting Bible studies.
But French Polynesia Mission president Roger Tetuanui said a number of people chose not to get baptized yet because they first wanted to get their common-law marriages right with God.
“The main issues for most people are that they live in a de facto relationship or work on the Sabbath,” Tetuanui said. “Otherwise many more people would have been baptized, maybe over 200 additional people.”
It was not immediately clear how the Tahiti people were dealing with their marriage problems. One step would be for them to formalize the relationships with legal marriages.
Turning to next year’s evangelism plans, Tetuanui said the French Polynesia Mission would focus on events to meet the physical, emotional, and material needs of non-Adventist families. A key part of this strategy will be to teach biblical health principles because “health is the right hand of the gospel,” he said.
The mission would also like to see more home churches established in Faaa in 2015 because land and buildings in the area have become very expensive.
Adventist Record, Oct. 23, 2014: “Baptism and Bible Studies in Tahiti”
Adventist Review, Sept. 11, 2014: “My Tahiti Trip Finds a New Challenge in Sharing Jesus”
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