Sabbath, June 27, 2009

Papua New Guinea has a population of 5,172,033 (2002 estimate), giving an overall population density of about 11 people per sq km (29 per sq mi). Around 83 per cent of the people (1998) live in rural areas. The popula­tion growth rate was estimated at 2.47 per cent in 2000.

The capital and principal city is Port Moresby, with a population of 193,242 (1990). Other cities include Lae, population 80,655 (1990), and Madang, 27,057 (1990). The country is divided into 20 administrative divi­sions: 19 provinces and the National Capital District.

Christianity is the main religion of about 95 per cent of the population, of which 22 per cent are Roman Catholics and 16 per cent Lutherans. Tra­ditional local faiths, incorporating strong beliefs in the occult and ancestor reverence remain and coexist with Christianity.

English is the official language of Papua New Guinea and is taught in schools. Over 860 local indigenous languages have been identified in Papua New Guinea. Of these, Hiri Motu and Enga are among the most widely spoken. Melanesian Pidgin is spoken throughout Papua New Guinea, and is often used for communication between members of different ethnic groups.

What little is known about the early history of Papua New Guinea it would seem as though the island has been inhabited by people for many years. Several waves of migration to Papua New Guinea from Asia and through neighboring islands have taken place over the centuries, with each group developing its own language and tribal culture. This cultural diversity has provided Papua New Guinea with a fascinating cultural heritage of sculpture, painting, music, storytelling, and dance. The Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery in Port Moresby exhibits collections of artifacts relating to primitive Papua New Guinean culture and traditional lifestyles, including sculptures, and examples of early basket making.

Agriculture is the most important economic activity in Papua New Guinea and employs over 77 per cent of the working population (1995). How­ever, soils are generally of poor quality, heavily leached, and fertile only in lowland areas and on some outlying islands. Cultivation is mainly at a sub­sistence level. Coconuts, sweet potatoes, bananas, and yams are important crops. Fishing and hunting are also important subsistence activities. Com­mercial crops, raised on plantations, are dominated by coffee, and copra. Papua New Guinea also produces considerable quantities of timber, and fish­ing (both freshwater and marine) is a sizeable industry.

Two years ago Br. Peter Dakieri visited Australia and came across the IMS. As a result of that visit, Br. Andrade went to Papua New Guinea and accepted into fellowship Br. Dakieri and others who now form the basis of the IMS Reform Movement in Papua New Guinea. Regular contact has lead to the formation of a church in Papua New Guinea which sees Br. Dakieri travelling approximately 400km as a round trip to visit those interested in the message of the Reform Movement. As a result there is a growing interest in regards to the IMS which means that a building be purchased as a head quarters for the IMS in Madang.

In July of this year 2008, Br. Henry Andrade and Br. Mike. Brewer vis­ited Papua New Guinea to see how best the Oceania Union could help further the Gospel there and was able along with Br. Dakieri to secure a 90 year lease on land suitable for the erection of a church building. It is essential for the spiritual welfare of this nation that such a church building be built and estab­lished to the glory of His name. Sadly funds are not available to go ahead and build a church on this property. We hope that our Br. Peter Dakire will soon move to Madang so as to support the work and have our headquarters there. The land that we aquired is in the town boundaries making it accsessible to most people. Br Henry and Br Mike met people who are already become members of the Lord’s flog and others are waiting to be fellowshiped into our church so please have it in your hearts to pray that the good Lord will bless us with a church in PNG.

The people in Papua New Guinea are very poor and there are many needs. Clothing, educational, health, spiritual and food are all essential to the survival of these people, but all of which are extremely scarce. Likewise a salaries for Br. Dakieri the elected leader of Papua New Guinea and an appointed Bible Worker, Br. Keppel, is needed to further the work already in progress there.

Please pray earnestly for this country as the needs there are many and great. Likewise I encourage you to give generously to the work in Papua New Guinea.

This is not only as new work for the IMS, but also a sign of great sac­rifice and effort to further the Gospel in a significantly poor country in the Pacific Ocean.

May almighty God bless you as you consider your response to the needs and requests in Papua New Guinea.

–Anton Salavyov
General Conference Regional Representative and President Oceania Union