OP ED: “Do not forget Papua New Guinea”
Are we ignoring the cries for justice, mercy and alofa, for the people of Papua New Guinea?
Can we divorce ourselves from the same people we were committed to saving their souls, in the 1800's? Can we claim one side of an island and ignore the other?
Indonesia is the stronghold in West PNG that claims its powerful eminence through its major contributions to the Pacific region; and so much political effort, time and resources are spent by powerful nations to either strangle through oppression, destroy and annihilate the people of Papua New Guinea.
As one of the many 'Fanau a le Tala Lelei’ (Children of the Good News/Gospel), I can no longer turn a deaf ear, avert my eyes or mute my conscience to the plight of the people in PNG. No matter how it is divided by man made boundaries, religion or politics, they are still the people of PNG.
In the 1800's the European Christian movement focused on the Pacific. Many of our Samoan ancestors were recruited as missionaries, to take the Gospel throughout the uncivilized Pacific and into PNG.
It is well known and documented how many of our Samoan ancestors were the first missionaries that lifted the uncharted wild, untamed, jungles in PNG.
Our Samoan missionaries were called 'Lupe fa'alele a le Tala Lelei' (Doves that flew to carry the Good News). They arrived in PNG with the knowledge of no return and certain death at the hands of the savage indigenous people.
Taking only what they could carry on their backs, some were led deep in the most dark and remotest regions; while others were led up the sides of unmerciful barren cliffs and mountain ranges, and left to fend for themselves and eat off the land.
They survived by their faith in God and unquenchable desire to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ with the natives.
The missionaries were fully exposed to dealing with known uncivilized cannibals. They had to create their own form of communication or sign language to shine the Gospel into the darkness. For the Samoans, it was their culture and skills that played a major role in settling the natives and surviving.
At some sites, after building houses and secure fences around the compound for the white missionaries, it was recorded, the Samoans were left to find shelter among the natives. Living amongst them, eating, sleeping, sharing and learning.
Women of valor (faletua) with their children, followed their husbands into the wilds, some met their fate either murdered by the natives or succumbing to the many illnesses, diseases or during child birth. Many faletuas after burying their spouses either on land or at sea, remained in PNG or returned to continue on with their mission of love, faith and mercy.
There is no courage, commitment or deeper faith in God, than what these men and women displayed and endured in the untamed Pacific for the sake of taking in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Samoa we have no weapons of mass destruction or ambassadors of peace, politics or power to nudge our way into the fray of bloodshed and political upheaval in PNG.
We have only our memories, and PNG names that were given to our children to carry the missionary legacy, down through out the generations to keep their work alive. To remember those who never returned and occupy many unmarked graves in PNG
Our missionary great grandfather Filemoni brought back a young native son of PNG in the late 1880’s. He was brought to the village of Leone and raised on the island of Ofu, Manu’a. His legacy and name Matatia/ Matila, remains as a cornerstone or proof of the torch of the Good News, that was taken to PNG and to return alive to tell the story. Filemoni left Matila in Ofu and returned to PNG to carry on his mission. He is one of the Doves/ Lupe that never returned.
It was no accident the European missionaries came to take our Samoans to PNG in the 1800's as ambassadors of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who knows, with our Lord's infinite wisdom...
IN 2017: Perhaps this is the reason, we should come together as a nation, to lift up the people of PNG, their Indonesian oppressors and their multinational slavers for their natural resources, in prayer.
Would it not be appropriate for the believers of our Lord Jesus Christ to consider a national CALL TO PRAYERS for the people of Papua New Guinea?
A call to collapse and cease the regime that is committing reported acts of genocide.
Prayers to break the chains of human bondage, butchery, etc. Prayers to bring peace, justice, healing and restoration.
It may sound impossible but we believers serve a mighty God that does the impossible.
Whether we like it or not. I believe we should not abandon the people we went to seek; over came the wilds for, nurtured and fed them on the Word of salvation and died for the Mission.
Let us announce within our places of worship, secular, private and political communities to remember the people of PNG and to pray for their freedom from; lawlessness, genocide, oppression, human trafficking, bondage and enslavement.
The cries from the people of PNG to send for more Samoan faifeau, by the late 1900s, may have faded or shifted throughout time under the influence of local politics, but we have strong memories of the people of PNG and need to awaken the sleeping power of prayers, a call to our first LOVE, for the nation of Papua New Guinea.
Living water is still flowing concealed under the foliage. It is caught in a cistern of taro leaves.
“May the people of PNG find the grace of God in their lives.”