Adventist News

GC President’s South Pacific Tour

Head-of-state treatment and Scripture-based counsel go hand in hand

, Record magazine

In late February, Pastor Ted Wilson, president of the Adventist world church, and his wife Nancy Wilson, visited Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, and Fiji, where 75 per cent of the South Pacific Division’s (SPD) membership resides.

Pastor Wilson preaches to a crowd of 15,000 in Port Moresby. [Photo: SPD Record]Government protocol in Papua New Guinea dictated that Pastor Wilson’s tour be given the same priority as a visit from a head of state, with security on hand and police vehicles escorting the presidential motorcade through the streets of Port Moresby, attracting curious stares and friendly waves from locals.

Pastor Wilson, together with SPD president, Barry Oliver, and PNG Union Mission president, Leigh Rice, met with the prime minister, Peter O’Neill, as well as the opposition leader, Mr. Belden Namah, and the Speaker of PNG’s parliament, Mr. Theo Zurenoc. With each leader, Pastor Wilson offered spiritual counsel and prayer, thanking the prime minister, in particular, for the religious freedom enjoyed in PNG.

Following his visit with Pastor Wilson, Mr. Namah, an Adventist, said he was moved by the Bible verse the General Conference president shared during their discussion, encouraging Mr. Namah and his opposition colleagues to refrain from a negative spirit in their work and to instead “overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21) as they work with the government for the good of the country.

Pastor Wilson meets PNG opposition leader Belden Namah.[Photo: SPD, Record]Speaker Mr. Zurenoc used his visit to explain his recent orders that a number of traditional carvings be removed from Parliament House. He reiterated his concern that the totem pole in the Great Hall represents immorality and witchcraft and showed the Adventist delegation a concept drawing for a proposed “Unity Pillar” that he hopes will replace it.
Prior to Pastor Wilson’s arrival, a series of evangelistic meetings at Port Moresby’s Jack Pidik Park, with the theme of “Immortal Decisions,” had been attracting large and enthusiastic crowds. But the main speaker, Pastor Chris Moses, secretary of the Central Papua Conference (CPC), ceded the pulpit to Pastor Wilson for the final three meetings, including also the Sabbath morning service. Up to 15,000 church members and other Port Moresby locals crowded into the park.

“It’s good to see that when our world leader comes to Papua New Guinea, he opens the word of God,” said CPC president, Pastor Kove Tau, a key host for the Port Moresby visit. Earlier, Pastor Wilson and his delegation had travelled to Solomon Islands, where they had met with the prime minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, who, according to a government media release, informed Pastor Wilson about the role of Christian churches, including the Adventist Church, in nation building, particularly in the areas of education, health, youth development and spirituality. The Adventist leaders also travelled to Kukudu in Solomon Islands’ Western Province, the site of the establishment of the first Adventist mission 100 years ago this year.

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