Veterans of the Cross: South Pacific Division initiative focuses on retired ministers
COORANBONG, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA
Acknowledging retired pastors for their years of dedication to ministry, the South Pacific Division (SPD) Ministerial Association held its first Veterans of the Cross conference on September 26–29, 2022. Retired ministers and their spouses from across Australia gathered for the event at Avondale University, where they participated in a variety of activities.
Organized by a volunteer committee of ministry veterans, the event featured daily morning worship and a series of presentations about God’s grace by SPD Ministerial Association secretary Darius Jankiewicz. The program also included several simultaneous workshops on relevant topics for retirees, such as how to face retirement from a medical perspective, how to relate positively with grandchildren, and a beginner’s guide to social media.
In the afternoon, the 130 participants could choose from an array of recreational activities, including guided bush walks, table games, health checks, and Cooranbong tours.
The initiative was initially born after Jankiewicz heard his father’s perspective on retirement. “My dad is a retired pastor. He told me that after serving the church for almost fifty years, retirement felt like dropping off the face of the earth. [After hearing that] I’ve been dreaming of doing something for retired pastors, and since I returned to Australia in 2019, I have started working on it. Around eighteen months ago, we got the committee, and the result is here.”
Graham Thompson, a retired pastor from Western Australia, also acknowledged the importance of the initiative. “Ministers, when they walk out, it seems like they’ve been on the front line, and all of a sudden, they’re on their own; they’ve got to find their own way again, and it’s very difficult to settle down and to get on with a different life. So, this type of event is actually essential for us. It’s really appreciated.”
According to SPD president Glenn Townend, the initiative is a way of acknowledging retired pastors past and current contributions. “In my perception, pastors never retire. Their contribution to the work of the church and God’s mission in the community just continues. Sometimes retirees contribute their best life’s work in retirement, and so this is a great initiative to just honor them and thank them for their service and to say that we continue valuing their contributions since their retirement.” [Juliana Muniz, Adventist Record]
Adventists committed to reaching large tribe in Papua New Guinea
PAPUA, NEW GUINEA
Volunteers in Action (VIA), an independent ministry supported by the South Queensland Conference in Australia, has sponsored two volunteers from the Kiunga Seventh-day Adventist Church in Papua New Guinea to reach the large, divided Yogom tribe, which is based along the border of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Volunteers Johnson Dialope and Siro Waida, who have been sponsored for three years with the specific mission of reaching the tribe, have already started to take the gospel to the people of Dome village this year.
To support the work of the two volunteers, a large group from the Kiunga church recently organized a mission trip to the village, which is located within walking distance of the West Papuan villages. The mission started in the center of the area, with plans to expand to the north and south.
“We heard of that need from a report at their district camp meeting last September,” said Jim Wagi, Western Highlands Mission VIA coordinator. “We then sent the request to the VIA administration in Australia for sponsorship. Their positive response made it possible to kick-start the mission to this tribe.”
Jacklyn Nomi, a participant in the mission trip, brought clothes to donate for babies and children, meeting the needs of many families in the area. “Mothers with naked children queued up for Jacklyn’s favor. Her kind deed touched the hearts and easily created friendship within a short space of time,” Wagi said.
According to Wagi, the response from both sides of the border was very positive, but “there is still much more to do.” [Jim Wagi]
Mongolian Mission celebrates 30th anniversary by preaching and baptizing
What do people usually look for as a present when they celebrate a 30-year anniversary? Some would like to have a memorable trip, a special dinner, or special clothes. Others are simply satisfied to have some food and hope for a better future.
The Mongolian Mission, part of the territory of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, decided to celebrate its 30th anniversary by preaching and baptizing. From August 20-27, 2022, simultaneous evangelistic meetings were held in 21 cities across the country of Mongolia. The outreach was a Total Member Involvement event, including the participation of many church members, pastors, and church administrators. Hundreds of people attended the meetings, were inspired by the health talks and Bible presentations, and decided to be baptized.
Mongolia has 3.4 million inhabitants, and 1.6 million live in Ulaanbaatar, the country’s capital. The Seventh-day Adventist Church currently has 3,090 members in Mongolia. Adventist missionaries first entered Mongolia in 1992, two years after the fall of Communism. The country is located in what is known as the 10/40 Window, and more than half its population is Buddhist.
Commenting on the recent outreach event, Han Suk Hee, Mongolia Mission president, said: “We are celebrating thirty years of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s presence in Mongolia with an integrated effort to carry the message of salvation in Jesus.”
Yo Han Kim, the Northern Asia-Pacific Division president, also in Mongolia for the event, stated, “I trust God has great plans for Mongolia, and the pastors and administrators have excellent projects to expand and consolidate the mission of the church here.”
The president of the General Conference, Ted Wilson, preached daily throughout the week at the Mongolian Labor Union Auditorium in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. During the final weekend, he met with a large representation of the church at the Suut Youth Camp, 35 miles north of the city.
On the final Sabbath morning, Wilson challenged the large group to develop a Christian life through Bible study and prayer. He urged all members to engage in Total Member Involvement and stay faithful to the Lord’s call to be missionaries throughout Mongolia until “we meet with Jesus in the clouds of heaven.” Wilson said, “Since this mission is celebrating the 30th anniversary reunion of the Seventh-day Adventist message arriving in Mongolia, I challenge each of you to look forward to and invite others to be present at the greatest of all anniversary reunions—the second coming of Christ.”
That afternoon, the pastors baptized 155 people representing 21 locations that held simultaneous evangelistic meetings. Wilson is encouraging all pastors, teachers, health care workers, church administrators, church workers, and church members to be active in Total Member Involvement and engage in local personal and public evangelism sharing Christ, His three angels’ messages, and His soon second coming. There is no better way to celebrate three decades of existence in Mongolia than preaching and baptizing. [Williams Costa Jr., General Conference Communications]