Like Paul and Silas
Papua New Guinea
“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord…. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:1-6.
Brothers Manasa and David and I flew to the town of Vanimo, which is close to the Indonesian border. Vanimo is a very peaceful town with beautiful scenery that attracts many tourists. But for us it is a new mission field where we plan to establish God’s work. Along with three sisters from the area, we developed a plan to share the gospel with the local people. When Manasa, David, and I arrived we were warmly welcomed by these three brave sisters. You see, the sisters met with opposition from those who were against the program, but they stood firm to their decision. They told the Counsellor of Vanimo about the program and he was very happy to hear it. He told them that not only were they welcome to share the gospel, but that they could hold the meetings in front of his own home.
While in Vanimo, we stayed with one of the sisters, a relative of mine named Karolyn. She is married to a Catholic. Her sister is Monica, the head deaconess of the local Seventh-day Adventist church. Their sister Joyce is a single mother. These three sisters stood bravely, without support from the men, and arranged the evangelistic meetings for us.
The town is mainly composed of Sunday-keeping churches, and most of them are Catholic. When the people heard the news about the meetings, the townspeople were excited because nothing like that had ever happened there before. Hundreds of people attended the first meeting. Brother Manasa started it off by sharing the health message. I spoke the main message which was on end-time prophecy. It was a very shocking message to those Sunday-keepers and they couldn’t sleep that night. They discussed the truth they heard and came back very early the next morning to question us. When we answered them and clarified the truth, they accepted it.
One of the interested people was Silas. He is from Jayapura in Indonesia and his father is a very respected man in a high position in the Indonesian government. Because his family is Muslim, Silas asked us to pay a visit to his father and share with him the truth about the true God that we worship. So Manasa, David, and I made a plan to cross the border into Indonesia on Thursday, spend the night in Jayapura, and return on Friday. So we went to the embassy office in Vanimo to short-cut our visa before we crossed the border. We were very excited to go to this Muslim country. But we were like Paul and Silas entering Europe, not knowing that they would end up in jail.
We rode in a taxi for the three-hour drive from Vanimo to Jayapura. Our driver, Sadir, was Muslim and became our friend. He took me to his home to spend the night and while there I shared the truth about the true God with him, his wife, and some of his neighbors. They were very interested in this message and wanted me to go to his village and share the truth with the people there, too. I told him that if it were possible, I would come back on my next trip.
On Friday, the three of us were ready to travel back to Vanimo, so we went to the Papua New Guinea embassy to get Manasa and David their visas. But we were sadly told that the manager who distributed the visas was out of town and wouldn’t be back until next Tuesday. Our flight out of Vanimo was scheduled for Monday. Oh, what to do? We tried our best to find a way to get the visa, but the office just told us to wait until Tuesday. Because it was Friday, the holy day for Muslims, every office and shop began to close.
I asked my friend Sadir to take us back to the border, so he drove us back and when we arrived Manasa and David were arrested and taken back to Indonesia and put in jail. With a broken heart, I alone returned to Vanimo. The sisters and all the new interests were waiting for us. When they saw I was alone the sisters started crying and hugged me. I told them we must pray to God because He alone can make it possible for the brothers to be released from jail and their visas sorted out before Monday. If we missed our flight, it would be very expensive. So we all prayed.
Thank the Lord, He answered our prayers immediately! That Sabbath I returned to the border and the police released the brothers. We were given the cell phone number of the visa manager. So we returned to Jayapura and finished the Sabbath there. I called the visa manager and explained the situation. He was cooperative, praise the Lord! He said he would fly over and sign the visa because, “You are the servant of God and I must obey His voice and release the brothers, so you can all go out to do His work.”
Praise God! What a mighty God we serve who can touch the heart of a man in a high authoritative position and lead him to spend his own money to come help simple servants of God. It’s a great testimony for us and we will not forget it.
“Though enemies may thrust them into prison, yet dungeon walls cannot cut off the communication between their souls and Christ. One who sees their every weakness, who is acquainted with every trial, is above all earthly powers; and angels will come to them in lonely cells, bringing light and peace from heaven. The prison will be as a palace; for the rich in faith dwell there, and the gloomy walls will be lighted up with heavenly light as when Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises at midnight in the Philippian dungeon.” The Great Controversy, 627.
After the week-long series, with day and night sessions in Vanimo, the three brave sisters have learned the truth of medical missionary work and the Three Angels’ Messages for themselves. They now take a bold stand with us and are ready to go into the mission field. They have called and told me that the work is now on fire. A Seventh-day Adventist man in the area has offered his truck to transport us to the villages around Vanimo to do the Lord’s work and some of those who were against us in the beginning are now coming to us to learn more. A home church has been established by two women near the border of Indonesia.
We are thankful to God for opening up the mission fields of Vanimo and Jayapura. Seeds have been sown and a few souls have taken their stand for the Lord. Manasa, David, and I also want to thank the donors from overseas who funded our trip. We are witnessing souls taking their stand for the truth all over Papua New Guinea as a direct result of your donations that help support workers and their travel.
We are appealing for more funds to help us move the work into the Muslim country of Indonesia and establish a church there so a light can shine out for millions of Muslim souls to come to the true God and serve Him before probation closes and the work is over.
By Pastor Michael Loko. Mail: Pacific Lay Members Association, PO Box 103, Glasshouse Mts., Australia 4518. Donations: John A. Wolff, ANZ Bank, BSB 014-507, Account No. 5005 88883, Swift Code ANZBAU3M (for overseas use), “Laity Trust Account” (notation).