A Pastor and A Deacon!!
(The following Story took place in November of 2004.)
Missionary Terry Thrun is an IFB missionary in Kavieng, New Ireland. Kavieng is on the north tip of our Island, and it is about a 5 hour drive from me. I usually travel to Kavieng once a month to get supplies and our families get together and fellowship. We did not know each other prior to meeting here in PNG, but since we have become good friends.
In the summer of 2004, he had asked me to travel with him to New Hanover, to do some outreach. He had some members, in the church he started in Kavieng, that had family there. They desired for us to go and preach at New Hanover. (New Hanover is one of our many islands that make up the New Ireland province.) I told him yes, and we planned a November 2004 trip for New Hanover.
Both of us anxiously, prayerfully awaited this trip. On a Wednesday morning that November, I left my house and began the five hour drive to Kavieng. From there, I would be meeting up with Bro Thrun and getting on a banana boat and heading to New Hanover. It was not long into the trip, that I knew this would be an adventurous one. I took my son, Daniel, with me. We were not 1 hour from our house, when the front passenger side of my truck fell through a bridge. I simply heard a large crack, and boom, the left front wheel had broken through the bridge. (Many of our bridges here are very old, and worn out.) Quickly, though, several of the people from the village we were in came and helped. We were back on the road, headed to Kavieng. Once in Kavieng we rested there at Bro Thruns house and left the next morning for Kavieng.
The boat ride to the coast of the island itself was about two and half hours. The ocean was great. When traveling in the ocean in these banana boats, the ocean can be very dangerous. Many lives have been lost, since I have been here, when the weather has turned, and these boats are caught out on the water. Once at the coast, we came to a mouth of a river. We then began a long journey down this river. The scenery was spectacular. Most of this area has been unchanged for hundreds of years, including the way the people live. We traveled for several hours down the river. At times we had to be pulled through the water because it was so shallow. After traveling for several hours on the river alone, it was now time to walk. This is deep bush. There is no road for cars, no landing strip for planes, just trails leading through the jungle. As we walked in this beautiful place, we were mesmerized by the scenery. At times, it felt surreal. After walking for one hour, we arrived at the village we would be preaching in. We greeted many of the people, and then rested. In just a short time, the preaching would begin. We would only be here for two nights and three days.
As it was drawing closer to service time, I noticed there was a large hollowed out log behind me. I thought it was just something for decoration. From where I was sitting it was behind me. Then a man walked over to it, with a big stick in his hand, and began beating inside of this log. The noise reverberated, throughout the entire valley! This was a communication device for them. I have always heard of these things, and seen them in a smaller scale, but have seen it used before. The noise let the people in the valley know, that the preaching service was getting ready to start. They needed to wash up and come to the meeting place. I was amazed at how this thing echoed through out the valley.
Sure enough the people started coming, and it was dark by now. There are no light poles, no head lights in the distance, just darkness. We brought with us a pressure lamp that we would be using when the preaching started. I was hoping for hundreds to come, but it did not happen. We had well over a hundred, and we were thankful that they came to hear the preaching.
As I was preaching, I could see the Lord working on hearts. There was one man, sitting about four rows back on the end, where I could see the Lord was really working on his heart. At the end of the preaching, he had put his hand up asking to be dealt with as well as two others. When Isaac saw his hand go up, he quickly came to me and said, “He is the United Church Pastor in a village about an hour away!” I took this “pastor” to the side and began dealing with him, one on one. As he listened, the Lord was clearly working on his heart. Then with tears in his eyes he repented, and put his faith in Jesus Christ! He was so excited. He told me how his church needs to hear this! He told me how his family needs to hear this! I was thrilled, as the Lord just saved this Pastor of the United Church! We talked for awhile more that night, before I retired and went to bed.
During services the next day, the Lord would be working on hearts once again. There were several new faces this night. After the service, again there were a few who asked to be dealt with. I dealt with a man who had just arrived, as services began. He, too, put his trust in Jesus Christ! After he put his faith in Christ, we talked. This man was the Deacon of the church belonging to the Pastor who was saved the night before! He had no idea that his Pastor had come forward the night before and trusted Christ! Amen! The Pastor and Deacon of a United church both coming to Christ!!!
What has happened since…..? (As of February 2006)
Upon going back to his village after we left, the Pastor had his church split, and he started a new one. A few months later, brother Thrun brought Henry to Kavieng for training. During training, he had a lot of problems with family and other things that I do not know. He returned back, not finishing his schooling. Please do pray for him (Henry) that this will work out and a solid Baptist church can be planted.
I can not tell you how thrilling it was to see this Pastor, Deacon, and a few others, come to know Jesus Christ in truth!
Missionary/Pastor Terry McGovern