If your class will present the Thirteenth Sabbath program for the adults:
Narrator: Pioneer missionaries took God’s message of love to people in faraway lands. We still share God’s love with others, but the ways we do it have changed.
Today we’re going to hear the story of one missionary family who went to Papua New Guinea (PNG) to teach others about God. [Locate Papua New Guinea on the map.]
__________ [name of storyteller] will present the story of the Barnard family’s mission adventures 50 years ago, and ____________ [name of reporter] will tell us about mission today.
Reporter: More than half the Adventist Christians in the South Pacific Division live in Papua New Guinea. Many of these believers still live in rural villages scattered across the mountainous country. Most still live in traditional village homes and live off the gardens that they plant on the mountainsides.
Some areas are so isolated that the people live much as they have for thousands of years. Only recently has cannibalism been wiped out in the most isolated areas of the country.
Entire villages are changed when the people have a chance to hear God’s message of love. But reaching them has been an ongoing struggle to push back the darkness and claim lives for Jesus Christ.
Len Barnard stood outside the small bush hospital in Papua New Guinea, a rugged island nation north of Australia. Brown patches on the green mountainsides marked villages that could be reached only by hiking for days on dangerous trails. Someday I’ll visit those villages, he thought. A plane flew overhead and landed at the nearby air base. And someday I’ll fly over those mountaintops for God, he added.
When Mr. Barnard’s military term ended, he learned to fly a plane. The church didn’t have funds to send another missionary to PNG, so he took a job working in a government hospital. He learned to treat people suffering from leprosy, a fearful and contagious disease that robbed people of fingers and toes and hands and feet.
A year later the president of the Adventist mission invited the Barnards to open a leprosy hospital and colony in the highlands. At last the couple were missionaries!
The family’s first home was a grass-roofed hut. Just weeks after they arrived, their home burned to the ground, and the family lost everything but their lives. But the work among lepers grew rapidly.
Reporter: Today most missionaries live in houses built of concrete blocks. But people living in isolated villages still live in thatch-and-wood houses.
Thanks to modern drugs, leprosy isn’t the threat it once was, and if treated early, most people can live normal lives.
Storyteller: But Mr. Barnard knew that hundreds of villages needed medical care—and the hope that Jesus brings. I must reach them! he thought. Mr. Barnard and his helpers hiked for days over rugged, dangerous trails to treat people who needed medical care and to tell them about Jesus. “If only we had a plane,” he told one church leader. “We could build airstrips and reach these people in hours instead of weeks.”
“Too expensive,” the official responded. “Perhaps someday.”
It would be 18 years before Mr. Barnard flew the first mission plane to PNG. The mission plane carried workers to new fields and rushed the injured or the sick to hospitals in hours rather than days. When a new village was reached for Jesus, Mr. Barnard urged the people to build a church and a grass airstrip.
Reporter: Today a modern mission plane, paid for in part by our Thirteenth Sabbath Offerings, flies across Papua New Guinea, landing on those same grass airstrips, doing much the same work that Mr. Barnard did with the first plane.
Storyteller: The Barnards served in PNG for 25 years and rejoiced to see villagers who once had been heathen now serving god as pastors and nurses. Clinics he had helped start were still the sole source of medical aid, and the mission plane was the link to the outside world.
Reporter: The work that the Barnards pioneered represents the same mission spirit that powers the work in Papua New Guinea today. Today’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering reflects the passion to bring Christ and His Word to unreached people that the Barnards and other pioneer missionaries started.
Mr. Barnard had a vision to use a plane to reach the most isolated parts of PNG. Today the church’s mission plane, which our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering helped provide, continues that mission.
Mr. Barnard reached people for Jesus through medical work. Today’s offering will help establish more medical clinics in the most isolated regions of PNG.
Mr. Barnard shared God’s love with people who had never heard. Part of today’s offering will provide solar-powered MP3 players (“God pods”) to continue bringing God’s love to people in PNG and across the South Pacific.
And our children’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help provide Bibles for children in the South Pacific. Many adults still cannot read or write. They rely on their children to read God’s Word to them. Entire families can be strengthened in Christ through a single Bible.
Our offering will help continue the battle against spiritual darkness. Let’s help the people of the South Pacific hear that God loves them and wants them to prepare to live with Him forever.
Next quarter will feature the East-Central Africa Division. Special projects include a primary school classroom block at University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, Kenya; phase two of Mwansa Adventist Hospital in Tanzania; a classroom block for Adventist University of Lukanga in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); an evangelistic training center in Kinshasa, DRC. The children’s project will provide a lamb shelter for children who worship outside in Kinshasa, DRC.