(June 2020) On the first of January of this year, the island of Nukeria celebrated the launch of the four Gospels. Just recently, Tom Puaria – who is their translation advisor – was able to send a report of this dedication with pictures. Here is his report:
After late changes to the ship’s schedule to take the Christmas charters for Takuu and Nukumanu, I decided to hire a highway dinghy instead to take us to Nukuria before New Year’s eve. We left Buka on Monday, the 30th of December at 6 AM and arrived at Nukuria at 4 PM. Thanks to the expertise of our skipper, Mr Vavaka Hakoru, his timing was spot-on as the day was calm with no swells till we reached safely at Nukuria.
The program was spearheaded by the Buhuria & Hauma youth, as Christianity was introduced by the youth of Nuguria in the early ’80s. The youth camped with the Bibles in tents at one point of the Island (Buhuria), singing and praising God throughout the night till daybreak the 1st of January, 2020.
The village community assembled at the village square as early as 6 AM the next morning with the clan chiefs and Church pastors ready to receive the Bibles from the youth. The youth arrived with the Bibles at 9 am to an emotional reception of singing and praising God in the Nukeria tongue, punctuated with victory cries. An emotional scene with people weeping with joy.
The ceremony was opened with prayer from the SDA pastor, Ps. Freddy Taravaru, followed by speeches from clan chiefs and pastors from both the Uniting Church and the Adventist Church. I was given the opportunity to speak about how it all started, acknowledging the support of the Seed Company through the Isles of the Sea project. People wept as we gave a moment of silence to late Chief David Paukie, who gave his all regardless of his health.
People celebrated into the night with dances, singing, and testimonies until, I don’t know when they stopped.
The next morning the youth convoyed in dinghies to Hauma with the Bibles. We were received by the Hauma Chief, Lauata Tevavea, and pastors of the Uniting Church and the Pentecostal Church. The Hauma youth took the Bibles from there and proceeded to the assembled community outside the UC Church building. Senior Pastor Amuri led the dedication of the Bibles followed by speeches from Church leaders. I made the final speech again at the closing ceremony.
People celebrated with dances and ended with social games. The main one with so much fun was the tug-of-war between the men verses women, symbolising the disagreement between the men and women on the establishment of Christianity on the island, the women embracing Christianity while the men rejected it. Surprisingly the women won that challenge, prompting the women to sing, “Not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Again, celebrations went well into the night. I retired into my home praising and exalting God.