A couple of days after the clean-a-thon, church members who took part in the initiative gather at Mt. Hagen airport to welcome international evangelist Doug Batchelor. [Photo: T.H.E. Party - PNGUM Facebook]

News

Marcos Paseggi

Senior Correspondent, Adventist Review

Street Cleaning Goes Before Evangelism in Papua New Guinea

Church members apply Total Member Involvement principles to their community

Thousands of members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church swarmed to the streets of a Papua New Guinean city Sunday, March 26 morning to clean the streets in preparation for evangelistic meetings. Church members, coming from more than 12 provinces across that South Pacific nation, have traveled for an evangelistic series and a church gathering at Mt. Hagen City, in the Western Highlands, to take place later this month and in early April.

The “Clean-a-thon” initiative saw members sweeping, raking, and shoveling as early as 7 am, as they slowly made their way from around Kagamuga International Airport to the New Town area in the city, reported EMTV News, which covered the activity.

“We saw that the city needed to be cleaned and that the church had to do something about it”

“We saw that the city needed to be cleaned and that the church had to do something about it,” said Solomon Paul, one of the pastors behind the initiative, in a TV interview. “We can’t blame others, or wait for the government to step in. The church is taking the initiative now.”

Cleaning activities enlisted the support of the provincial police force and local fire services. Dozens of police officers were sent to give a hand to the Adventist benefactors. Western Highlands Police Chief Superintendent Martin Lakari told EMTV News that police officers would be out on the streets to enforce city rules and prevent littering and street vending. “I call on the public to support the Seventh-day Adventist mission to live a clean and healthy lifestyle,” he said.

Paul shared that the clean-a-thon is part of a major church project in the country and beyond. “This is what we call Total Member Involvement, or TMI,” he said, in a nod to the initiative by the world church that encourages every church member to get involved in his or her community for service and mission.

Paul also informed local news outlets that church members would install garbage cans across the city, as city authorities joined the church in their cleaning initiative. “City authorities gave us gloves, rakes, and plastic bags,” said Paul, “but members also dug deep into their pockets to pay for fuel, hire dozers, and even used their cars [to remove trash].”

“The members themselves have done all this,” said Paul.

The Mt. Hagen clean-a-thon has taken place just a few days before the beginning of evangelistic meetings and a church gathering that will feature international evangelist Doug Batchelor as the main guest speaker.

“The meetings will also serve as a spiritual preparation for an upcoming church election,” shared Paul, hoping members pray to make good choices and avoid troublemaking. “We pray meetings will contribute to our members’ spiritual strength,” he said.


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