I could never become an Adventist,” my father-in-law told me as we stood outside his house and watched some Adventists walk to church. “I like my pork!”
Pigs are an important part of the culture in Papua New Guinea, and my husband’s family owned lots of them. Families butchered pigs for feasts; bride prices often are paid in pigs. And pork is a big part of the local diet.
I wanted to know more about Adventists, about their beliefs and why they went to church on Saturday, but I worried about disrespecting my husband and his family. So I stayed quiet.
Then my husband and I went to England to study. Life was so different there. I thought, There must be Adventists in England too. I began looking for an Adventist church. The search was more difficult than I had thought. One day I stopped on the street to pray to find an Adventist church, and when I opened my eyes, I saw a building with blue doors. A notice was pinned to them. To my amazement, it was a sign that announced that an Adventist congregation worshipped there!
The church was tiny, but the people were warm and kind. The pastor invited me to study with him.
I remembered how my husband had complained about all the offerings Adventists gave, and I worried what he would say when I told him I wanted to join the Adventist Church. I wondered if he would be angry that I no longer would eat pork. But when I told him, he was happy!
When my husband finished his studies, we returned home to Papua New Guinea. I began attending the large Adventist church in town. But I wanted a little chapel in which to worship. So I hired a boy to help me build a little house on our property where I could worship God any time. It was simple, with a thatched roof, and about the size of the little church in England.
When the pastor came to visit, he saw the chapel and offered to dedicate it to God. Eagerly I agreed. I invited the neighbors and my family to join in the dedication. I prepared a huge feast, and the pastor invited a singing group from the big church.
Some of my Adventist neighbors began worshipping with me there, and in time other neighbors came, too. The pastor urged us to hold regular worship services in the chapel, so we did. Sometimes one of the elders from the big church came to speak to us; other times we shared Bible texts and songs of praise. Soon 20 of us were meeting every week in the little church. Without realizing it, we had started a new congregation.
Our little congregation decided to hold evangelistic meetings in our area on a large lot nearby. We were amazed when 1,000 people attended! A number of people had been studying with us, and we planned to baptize them at the end of the meetings. But to my surprise, my husband asked to be baptized as well! I cried with joy. Now we could work together to bring people to God.
Our congregation outgrew that little church, so we took the building apart and built a larger church on the same land. A retired Adventist pastor has come to lead us. We’ve started another church in a nearby community, and we plan to start two more.
But still I wasn’t satisfied. I was glad to share God’s love with my neighbors, but what about my own family back in the village where I grew up? I started visiting my home village to share the gospel.
“You carried your husband off to church, and now you want to carry us there as well!” my brother said, laughing. “I’ll have to move to another village so I can eat my pigs in peace!”
“Then I will build a church in that place,” I told him. “You can’t run away from God!”
We are giving Bible studies to our friends and neighbors in the village, and soon we will have a new congregation to meet in the new church. But there are other projects brewing as well. A local man has offered to donate land to build a school.
God has given me so many dreams. So many people need to hear about God’s gift of love, and my husband and I want to share that gift with them. Your mission offerings help us share God’s love in Papua New Guinea in so many ways. Thank you.