Our aim is to establish our churches all around New Britain Island, which is one of the largest islands in Papua New Guinea.
The 2008 Mini Loud Cry Camp was held in Matong village in East Pomio. This is a new area that we have recently reached. We have only one church member there by the name of Nick. He is from Wide Bay District.
This village is full of cultists who worship in the cemetery every Thursday. What they usually do is cook foods every day and bring these foods to the little house they built near the cemetery and leave the foods there, thinking that those dead people in the grave may come and eat the foods, and help them with money, clothes, rice, etc., but nothing happens.
To bring the everlasting gospel of Christ into such a village is very, very hard but we must fulfill God’s commission in Matthew 24:14. “Arise, shine for thy light has come,” is our theme. Isaiah 60:1. Our goal is to bring the true light into this dark village of Matong.
For us in West New Britain to travel across to East New Britain right to the point of the Island is the hardest way. We must journey across many big rivers, bush track, rough sea and mountains.
But we need this kind of experience before singing the song of experience in Heaven. We have heard how the children of Israel complained and murmured along the way to the Promised Land. Now who wants to be like them? To nearly every camp meeting we take the easiest route: sitting comfortably on a truck. But now we go the hardest way to prove what is in our hearts. (See Deuteronomy 8:2.)
With Moses as our example, I, Pastor Michael, must be the minuteman ever ready to meet any challenge on the way; of course we see the power of God moving with us. That is why no one complained-when the rough sea nearly drowned us, when foods ran out and hunger made us eat the green leaves with dry coconuts on the way, when our feet became swollen from all the walking and our joints and muscles ached. Rather we praised the Lord that we were all safe.
Forty-five of us took this journey (twenty-four women and fourteen men plus seven children). We started our journey on a hired truck that took us to Bagada where the road ends. We slept at Bagada then we hired a boat to transport us to Open Bay. It took three trips for the boat to ferry all forty-five of us. On that rough sea, it took three hours each way for the boat to travel from Open Bay to the other side of East New Britain Province.
For some of our brothers like Robert Mondo and James from Hagen as well as some of our sisters, it was the first time to travel in a banana boat. When the boat started to hit the rough waves it bounced up and down and the sea started to come into the boat. Like the disciples of Jesus our hearts moved with fear and we began to pray as never before. Some of us prayed in Pidgin and some in their own language. It seemed that some would drown in that angry sea, when the boat went right into the big waves and all the sea waves came right over us. We thought we were sinking, but praise God the sea only filled the boat. It was a great miracle to go through the waves and out again.
Praise God, we all arrived safe and sound at Open Bay where the logging company is located. We slept there the second night. Open Bay is isolated from the rest of New Britain with no roads east or west, just a logging track to Wide Bay.
For us to walk from Open Bay to the coast of Wide Bay took us half a week. Then, to reach our destination at Matong village took us another two weeks of walking along the coast. It was hard with little children and women with babies plus our bags.
I prayed all night, asking God to direct the mind of those Japanese loggers, who never worship God, but who worship money, to help us with their dump truck and transport us down to Wide Bay. Thank God, by His grace He answered our prayers and two Land Cruisers and a dump truck were provided and we were transported half way to Wide Bay.
After that ride we had to walk 100 kilometers (62 miles) to reach the Wide Bay coast at Clarai. Then we hoped to get a tractor to help us carry our bags and women to Kilalum where our church is. But it’s hard to reach Clarai. It was too far: we had to walk and walk, our legs became painful and we felt weak and then the sun started to set. We realized that the time was 5 o’clock pm and Clarai was still too far away. Heaven saw this and a Land Cruiser appeared from no where. We thanked God and we slept there the third night.
The next day was Friday. We tried to find a tractor to transport our bags and the women to Kilalum, but the tractor had already been hired by someone else. There were no boats, so we had to walk again, and it took us a day’s journey. We arrived at 7pm in Kilalum and we were happy for the rest. On Sabbath morning a big cyclone hit Kilalum village. Coconut trees were ripped right out of the ground and one fell adjacent to where Raphael, Chilong, Jack and Shaine were staying, but all were safe.It took two more days to walk to Matong village. Some men and women whose feet were swollen went by boat to Matong.
Matong village is composed of a few Catholics, Seventh- day Adventists and many cultists who worship the dead people. Praise God that all the people of that village were very excited to hear what the Adventists would present at the revival camp meeting. We saw how they supported us with foods and invited us into their homes.
A pioneer of the local (conference) Seventh-day Adventist church greatly welcomed us and was open to us. We visited with him about all the apostasy that is creeping into the church and he took his stand with us before the meetings started.
The meetings were held for nine days. Every night all the village people listened to the choir and the messages presented right in the middle of the village. As the truth of the everlasting gospel was presented by Brother Robert Mondo with Pastor Michael, many of the cultists saw the error of their beliefs and made their decision to worship the true and living God with Nick and his wife.
During the daytime we had training sessions on stewardship, righteousness by faith and leadership conducted by Brother Robert, Alen Erick and Pastor Michael. About seventy laymen attended. We were really blessed by the powerful messages presented by Robert. One memorable session was on the issue of the six-thousand-year controversy. We really enjoyed the camp meetings and all praised God on the next Sabbath when three souls were baptized and fourteen took a stand for the next baptism.
Remember the isolated village of Open Bay? Well, a most amazing event happened on our return journey. Our laymen started to distribute literature, Ten Commandments Under Attack, Galaxy in Rebellion and Behold He Cometh. But all the people said “You do not have to give it to us. We’ve already received this literature. A young man came and distributed this literature to us but he left before you came.” We tried to find out who did this but have not been able to. We just wonder if it was an angel. Our next camp meeting will be held in Kove in West New Britian and it will be an interesting one. Our journey will be traveling by canoes or boat across the sea from island to island. We will also experience the good beaches and unspoiled nature.
By Pastor Michael Loko. For more information contact: John A. Wolff, Pacific Laymembers Assn., P. O. Box 103 Glasshouse Mts., Australia, 4518.