Sutherlin, Oregon and Papua New Guinea are worlds apart. Separated by 6,518 miles and the vast Pacific Ocean. Sutherlin is in the Northern Hemisphere and Papua New Guinea is in the Southern. But the two places and their people are separated by more than just geographic distance. Culturally, the inhabitants of each place, at least on the surface, are completely different. And yet, in a very real and meaningful way they are now connected for eternity.
The members of the Sutherlin Seventh-day Adventist Church, motivated by missionary zeal, decided that they wanted to do something to impact the world for Christ beyond their own little American town. Knowing that we here at Light Bearers have a heart for the mission field, and knowing that we target developing countries around the world with cargo containers full of gospel literature, they contacted us with a simple but amazing question:
Can we as a church sponsor a container of literature to some place in the mission field?
While we’ve never had a local church adopt one of our projects, we were eager to accommodate their request. It immediately occurred to us that everything about the idea was brilliant.
It is an exciting opportunity for a church family to give of themselves to the wider world in the form of a tangible gift that will radically impact people’s lives.
The church family becomes connected in a powerful way to another part of the world that has such great needs they cannot meet on their own behalf due to poverty.
One third of the population lives on a little more than $1 a day.
The people on the receiving end are brought to the realization that there are fellow believers in faraway places that love them and share their faith.
The church family becomes motivated by the process of pulling their resources together for the mission field, thus revitalizing the members and getting them more enthusiastically engaged with their church.
Consider a few interesting facts about Papua New Guinea:
- About 1000 diverse cultural groups exist in Papua New Guinea.
- With a population of 7 million, there are 836 indigenous languages spoken, many with fewer than 1,000 speakers.
- Until the 1930s, seashells were used as the common currency, called “shell money.”
- The island is situated along what is called the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” so named because of its many active volcanoes.
- Only 18% of the Papuan people live in cities, while most of the inhabitants live in rural areas.
- One-third of the population lives on a little more than $1 a day.
- Until the mid-20th century, headhunting and cannibalism were practiced by the warring tribes because it was believed that beheading and eating one’s enemy was the means by which their powers and spirits could be received.
- Papua New Guinea has been categorized as one of the worst places in the world for violence against women.
- Malaria is the leading cause of death.
- 10% of the population identify themselves as Seventh-day Adventists.
After six months of fundraising, on July 3 the treasurer of the Sutherlin Church, full of enthusiasm and with a big smile, presented the second of two checks to Light Bearers, totaling $65,000, designated “to provide a container of truth-filled literature for Papua New Guinea.”
This is no small matter.
Due to the generosity of the Sutherlin church members, the inhabitants of the second largest Island in the world will very soon have in their hands the most priceless treasure human beings can possess: the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, the knowledge of God’s love for all human beings, and numerous biblical truths that expound upon that love.
$65,000 will allow us to print and ship 2,136,025 pieces of literature to the precious people of Papua New Guinea. This breaks down to less than five pennies per publication, and is arguably the most cost-effective means of placing the gospel within the reach of our world’s vast population centers.
Papua New Guinea is just one of many countries in the world desperately crying out for the precious cargo of gospel truth to be sent their way. If your church would like to consider sponsoring a Light Bearers literature project, contact us for details and a list of countries your church might adopt.
Ty is a speaker/director for Light Bearers and pastor of Storyline Adventist Church. A passionate communicator with a message that opens minds and moves hearts, Ty teaches on a variety of topics, emphasizing God’s unfailing love as the central theme of the Bible. Ty and his wife Sue have three adult children and two grandsons.