(Tom Puaria, April 2016) On the second week after my arrival at my home island Mortlock, I called a meeting with the church pastors of the three churches on the island, after seeing the almost empty church buildings every Sabbath and Sunday.
We discussed a number of issues:
- Spiritual development within the Church and how deep the Word has reached the Community.
- Identify constructive church programs to restore the Christian faith.
- Translation report and funding support
- Formation of a prayer group, including all Church elders and interested bodies.
- Quarterly church leaders’ meeting.
I pointed out in the meeting that the drop in church attendance in all three churches was the result of lack of understanding Scripture, quoting the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts, “…how can I understand unless someone explains it to me?”
The leaders asked me to come up with a Bible study and reading program on the Takuu Scriptures. I conducted two Bible study & reading programs in the local vernacular:
- Reading & understanding Scriptures (2 weeks)
- Bible Use Manual (3 weeks)
These study notes were sent in by Pam Daams for me to try out, and sure enough, this was most exciting as it got the participants heavily involved in the discussions. “Reading a Narrative” in Lesson 2 was the most interesting one.
Straight after the study programs, the church Leadership organized a combined retreat on one of the small islands with the theme “Taku Atua”, which means “My God”. After the retreat, a combined two-night crusade was held in the centre of the village, and I was invited as guest speaker along with pastor Terry (SDA) and pastor Sidni (UC). Many renewed their commitment with God that night and touching testimonies were shared on the power and effectiveness of worshipping, praising, and praying in the Takuu language.
After the crusade, the pastors told me that attendance doubled and people are reading more from the Takuu NT.