What’s happening with Preaching in the South Pacific?
At first, when Covid-19 struck, I thought it meant the suspension of Langham Preaching in the South Pacific. In a sense I was right: all training cancelled; a ‘line-up’ meeting in Tonga postponed and, in Australia, the second training of Aboriginal preachers stopped. It would be a matter of keeping in touch and praying.
Very soon, however, I was proved wrong. The first indication was a message from Ann Karie in Vanuatu saying she had conducted two training courses, more were in prospect, and her preaching club was meeting weekly.
Also in Vanuatu, Joel Atwood has taken advantage of lockdown to gather and re-write our Bislama courses and has run training using the new material.
Other good news from Vanuatu, is that Talua College on the Island of Santo, badly damaged in a cyclone eighteen months ago, is re-opening in a few weeks. The Principal, Philip Baniuri, has all his students doing Langham preacher training.
In the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Pastors Willie Toito and Jonathan Inapelo continue to meet with preachers who have begun training, while in the Solomon Islands the next step is being planned as a fresh opportunity has opened with the South Seas Evangelical Church through Pastor Andrew Faniasa.
Poor or non-existent internet in the region has meant on-line training is not possible for most.
However, Suva (Fiji) was always the best chance and now it is starting. The motivation has come from churches and groups not involved in our present training. Tukana Nakesu, chair of the Fiji Langham committee, has given them a ‘Taste of Langham’ introduction and now is anxious that our training be completed and local trainers trained. God willing, we are doing it online over a number of weeks with Andy Shudall facilitating it from New Zealand.
With the easing of restrictions in Australia, training is resuming with a course for preachers in remote country areas meeting at Ardlethan in southern NSW in August and a second for Aboriginal preachers gathering at Wyee in October.
So Covid-19 has brought blessing.
People have stepped up and found they can train others. More churches are seeing the value of Langham training and are looking for locally trained trainers to train them. Under God, this is helping to create a true ‘preaching movement’.
Of course, we want the travel ban to end and for us to meet again. I think of our most remote work – in the Banks and Torres Islands in the far north of Vanuatu with Bishop Paterson Worek anxious for all his clergy to be trained. We long to begin in Tonga.
There is no shortage of churches in the South Pacific.
What there is a shortage of is good, biblical preaching by people who will expound the Bible ‘faithfully, clearly and relevantly’. More and more Christians recognise this. It is this that motivated Aboriginal pastor, Rick Manton and his wife Kayleen (among many others) to secure Langham training for their preachers.
Thank you for praying for this work. Perhaps you would remember specifically those named in this article. Thank you too for those who show interest in God’s people in the South Pacific. It is a great encouragement. And thank you to those who give financially. God bless and enrich you!
Join us in prayer
Give thanks as we come to the end of this year’s Library Grant Program and pray that the books selected by each college will be a blessing and encouragement to those who use them. Please pray also for the construction of the new warehouse in Carlisle (UK), that the project will proceed well and uninterrupted!
As Covid-19 continues to impact our world, pray for our Preaching Movement Coordinators as they work hard to maintain contact with participants and support preaching clubs. Many are meeting online while face-to-face gatherings are not permitted.
Here are the Preaching events we know are planned for the coming month:
May: Central Africa (online), South East Asia (blended) – sensitive countries, so not mentioned by name.
May 23-29: South Africa (in person), Benin (regional meeting), Latin America (online)
June 6-12: All Africa meeting (online), Costa Rica (in person, we hope)
June 13-19: Chile (online)
Pray for Scholars, Graduates and those connected to our Programs who had their study/research residencies postponed and are looking to re-arrange these in the next year. Give thanks for the increased number of partnership agreements that Langham Partnership now has with various institutions around the world and pray that we will work well with these institutions on behalf of the individuals and ultimately to promote the Gospel around the world.
Pray for Tayo Arikawe, as he takes on his full responsibilities as International Director – for him to quickly understand the breadth of our ministries and structures, and get to know the staff he will be working with.
Pray for the LP International Council, who will have extensive Zoom sessions on 20-23 May.
MISSIONS INTERLINK (MI) is a network of Christian missions in Australia. They work to link, equip, serve, inspire and represent mission organisations and churches around our country; and Langham Partnership Australia is one of their members. We know they would appreciate your prayers!On May 24, we will be hosting a session of “Prayer for the Nations”, a MI event that happens online on the 2nd and 4th Monday evenings each month (8.30- 9.30pm AEST). Missions take turns in hosting the sessions and each session focuses on a different country or region of the world, where some mission needs are shared and then prayed for in small groups. We’d love you to join us if you can as we focus on the Middle East. Go to https://missionsinterlink.org.au/mi-networks/prayer-for-the-nations to find the Zoom link!
Gillean Smiley writes…
I smile at Steve Williams’ prayer (above) that God bless you and enrich you. It is a wise prayer, though, as those whom God has called to give need the resources to be able to do so. Has God laid on your heart the desire to give generously to the work you see reported on through our various communications? Pray then, that He might also grant you the capacity to give, and wisdom as you make decisions about allocating the resources with which He has blessed you. Ministries such as Langham cannot continue without the faithful support of donors, and we recognise and thank God for you as fellow labourers, vital to the work.
We are excited to see how God continues His work in the South Pacific!