Papua New Guinea

Bouncing from wave top to wave top in a dinghy with salt spray stinging the eyes may not be the most comfortable way to travel but in Papua New Guinea comfort is easily outshone by unforgettable experiences. The journey from Port Moresby to Fisherman’s Island was far more heart stopping than any theme park log flume. The island is low lying and vulnerable to the effects of global warming. As an elder of the United Church explained when threatened by a tsunami there is nowhere to run to so they go fishing. As elsewhere on the visit to this partner church in the South Pacific we were overwhelmed by the hospitality of people who made up in generosity what they lacked in material wealth.

Fisherman's Island

Fisherman’s Island

There are more than 800 languages spoken by the people of PNG and the challenge to build a cohesive national identity is real. The exploitation of natural resources by multinational companies is both threat and promise. The inflow of wealth could be a lifeline to the poorest but will threaten the strong village communities where people care for one another. There is an irony in a land threatened by climate change needing to export fossil burning fuel in order to lift her people from poverty. Accusations of corruption do not build confidence.
Rarongo Chapel

Rarongo Chapel

By contrast the students of the Rarongo School of Theology and Mission are an impressive and committed group. Those training to be ministers of the United Church must find their own fees and rely upon family members and home communities to supplement the food they grow for themselves. A five month drought has students and families often going hungry. Despite the challenges the standard of MA thesis supervised by URC minister Gwen Collins is high. Carla and I were privileged to spend a week with Gwen and Bernie Collins, sharing with students and participating in classes.
Parliament Building, Port Moresby

Parliament Building, Port Moresby

The lasting memory will be of laughter and joy as communities of faithful people gave thanks for the privilege of serving a generous God.

David Grosch-Miller

1 thought on “Papua New Guinea

  1. sheila rudofsky

    Wow, no gurias!
    Glad to see such lovely pics. My glass slides are really faded!
    Hospitality great – no change there!
    Bernie and Gwen did a semester with the students on climate change.
    The relatively unsophisticated life style is a real joy. Port Moresby and some of the little towns tell a different story.
    ps guria =earthquake

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