A lively celebration greeted the arrival of a MAF flight which brought new pastors to a growing church
On 4 November 2022, MAF PNG flew a delegation from the Church of the Nazarene from Mt Hagen to Dusin to celebrate with the community and have a church service to ordain six new pastors (and their wives) into the Church of the Nazarene.
Many villagers greeted the aircraft and its passengers with joyful singing. Representatives from the local church, Bible school, and community lined up under the wing of the aircraft to greet their visitors leading them to the small gap in the airport fence to the alley of women waving palm leaves, tambourines or just their arms as they were dancing and singing. Soon, everyone was on their way down and around the bottom end of the airstrip.
There, another group welcomed the people with songs and handshakes, guiding them into the small church building, nicely decorated with flowers for the occasion and full of people sitting on the benches, keen to witness the ordination service. Many others had to find space on the floor or were just watching through the windows and listening from the outside.
The celebrations had to be squeezed into 2.5 hours as the plane and pilot just returned that morning from the annual MAF pilots’ meeting and could only take off with the delegation at about 10.45am. The potential of the weather closing in over the airstrip and mountains was a concern for the return trip. So, it was agreed to have 2-3 hours on the ground only to play safe for the return flight that Friday afternoon.
90 new pastor ordinations in PNG
Only six people in the Church of the Nazarene have the church’s authority and privilege to ordain pastors into their ministry. One of them is Dr David Graves, General Superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene, governing the Asia-Pacific Region of the church.
“I had the privilege of being here in Papua New Guinea, coming to a very remote mountain assembly that would not have been possible to get here without Mission Aviation Fellowship,” said Dr Graves after the celebrations at Dusin.
“We are so thankful for all that they are doing to help us to reach these wonderful people for Jesus Christ and [I had] the privilege today of preaching to the 43rd District Assembly, and also to ordain six new elders in the Church of the Nazarene. The church was absolutely packed with every window full of people looking in and with a large number of people outside listening. God's Holy Spirit was here."
Including the six pastors at Dusin, Dr Graves ordained a total of 90 pastors into the Church of the Nazarene here in Papua New Guinea. In total, Dr Graves ordained 1800 pastors in 2022 into their ministry in various countries in the Asia Pacific Region. This leaves him on a tight schedule to visit churches between various countries, but also while in PNG in order to catch up with the local leaders and churches, hearing about their ministries, challenges and successes.
Dr Graves and his wife Sharon, as well as Dr Mark Louw, Regional Director for the Asia Pacific Region for the Church of the Nazarene, Rev Kafoa Muaror, Field Strategy Coordinator for Melanesia and Asia-Pacific for the Church of the Nazarene along with more PNG based representatives also used MAF’s air service to comfortably travel to Kiunga, Madang and Wewak for more ordination services there.
There’s no road connecting the headquarters of the Church of the Nazarene at Kudjip with Kiunga nor Wewak, and overland travel to Madang would take two days. Flying with MAF only took roughly an hour, sometimes more, sometimes less to get to the ordination services in time and back the same or the next day.
Projects for Dusin only possible with MAF
Dusin is a place MAF flies quite regularly to, assisting the Church of the Nazarene with its projects. The Bible school at Dusin is only one of them. It’s a so-called village Bible school where the teachers go – or fly – to for delivering their lectures on specific topics in Tok Pisin, the primary PNG trade language.
One of them is Ps Isaac Wai, the Children’s Ministry Coordinator for the Church of the Nazarene in PNG. He shares that he has been working in that area for 23 years and that “MAF has been providing a vital service to the remote villages for many years.” Since 1997 he has flown with MAF, first in the Sepik, between Aitape, Vanimo and Wewak.
“I’m getting 80% subsidy as I fly to Sengapi, Dusin, Kompiam, Koinambe, Lapalama or Imane to train the Sunday school teachers there,” he said, acknowledging MAF’s support for his ministry.
Kafoa Muaror, Field Director for the Church of the Nazarene for Papua New Guinea and six other countries, oversees the work at Dusin, where the churches are scattered all over these mountains.
“It's for us a great joy to partner with the people over here. We are humbled by the fact that they have the time in the mountains to go from one place to another. It's our commitment and we want to serve Christ and use the people here to be the hands and feet for Christ," Kafoa said.
"Our role is to empower them, and we are so grateful to be able to partner with the MAF in the different places in Papua New Guinea. This is one such place that we are partner in different ways but helping make this vision (and) purpose a reality. So, thank you so much, MAF, we appreciate you.”
Besides the plans to build and establish an extension of the Bible school, as well as a small retreat centre, the Church of the Nazarene supports the church and community with the local health post. For this, they too rely on MAF flying essential building supplies for the Nazarene Health Services.