Worldwide Prayer Meeting - November 16, 2023
Prayer Focus: The Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Territory
Photo by Dustin Chen
If you were to trek deep into the jungles of Papua New Guinea you might be rewarded by catching sight of the spectacular Bird of Paradise, judged to be one of the most beautiful birds in the world. Hunted almost to extinction in the past for its feathers for ladies’ hats, it is worth every effort made to see it. What beauty is worth your search today? Will you see it? God has something for you. Pay attention. It will be there!
Dear Lord, Thank You for this day. There are so many things happening today. I’m going to see a lot of people and say, hear and do a lot of things. I would like to think that I would always be focused on You but honestly, I’m paying attention to those things most of the time. I have to keep my eyes on the road, and follow the conversations and see what’s on the computer screen or listen to the customer. But know that in that I want my heart to be in tune with You. I want to be in synch with You. Help me to hear You in something today or see the blessing that is out there around me today. Show me the moment of Your beauty and let that reach my heart so that I can praise You for it. I remember that song that says, “This is my Father’s World.” I humbly ask that You give me a visible reminder of that today so that I have yet another reason to rejoice in You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
The YouTube video is of a Prophet Song called “I Promise to Carry the Light.” Prophet Songs were used by the first generations of missionaries to teach Bible stories to the people of Papua New Guinea, using their form of singing. The tradition is still kept alive to the present day. This one is partially in English.
Background of the Papua New Guinea & Solomon Island Territory
Papua New Guinea (PNG)occupies the western half of the island of New Guinea, the other half being Irian Jaya, a province of Indonesia. Although its population is only slightly more than 8 million people, it has 1000 people groups speaking 800 languages and dialects – 20% of the world’s total languages. The island has dense forests and high mountains which has both isolated peoples from each other and frustrated efforts to unite and develop the country in a cohesive way. No road crosses the island, with some areas only accessible by river or air. Although blessed with huge natural and mineral resources, the lack of infrastructure hamstrings development or worse yet, exploitation by international companies. Most people in PNG live by subsistence farming. Crime remains a massive problem along the highways and in the urban areas.
Tribal and clan loyalties span centuries and run deeper than national identity. These often flare up into violence with deadly results. Christianity is by far the dominant religion but during these conflicts it is too often set aside. At the same time, it is often through Christian appeals that peace comes. One of the challenges to Christian work is the reemergence of witchcraft and sorcery. AIDS continues to be a challenge as well with victims being stigmatized, further their suffering. What is encouraging overall is an effort among the churches to cooperate and work together on a wide range of issues. Periodic movements of the Spirit result in large numbers of people accepting Christ that include dramatic conversions that often transform entire villages.
The Solomon Islands (SI), famous for the first land battles between American and Japanese forces at Guadalcanal, are comprised of seven major volcanic islands and numerous atolls. The population that numbers less than 700,000 people, speak 76 languages. In 1998, the Solomon Islands suffered a destructive civil war that only ended in 2003 when an Australian-led international force intervened. The government has been able to function but the country still struggles. Corruption is a problem that hamstrings further progress. Like PNG, most people live by subsistence farming and, because this is a nation of islands, it is difficult to have a sense of national unity.
Christianity is by far the dominant religion. SI has had a history of revivals that have refreshed the churches with new life and vitality. This has offset the lapses into nominalism that have tended to set in. Mainline church denominations for a time tried to restrict the entry of other denominations but as newer Christian bodies have come in, including The Salvation Army, they have brought renewal into the body of Christ.
The Salvation Army officially opened in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on August 31, 1956 at the Royal Police Constabulary Barracks under the leadership of Senior-Majors Keith and Edna Baker and Lieut. Ian Cutmore as part of the Australia Eastern Territory. Papua New Guinea became a separate command on July 4, 1994, subsequently becoming a territory on December 9, 2000. Work began in the Solomon Islands in 2010 and was officially recognized on February 1, 2010. At that time the territory was renamed the Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Territory.
Facts, Stats and Leadership of the
Papua New Guinea & Solomon Island Territory
- Total population with which to fish and disciple: 11,070,355
- 336 officers, 28 auxiliary captains, 5 envoys, 26 cadets, and 307 employees
- 65 retired officers
- 63 corps; 99 outposts
- 5,216 senior soldiers
- 5,081 adherents
- 1,202 junior soldiers
- Territorial Commander: Colonel Chris Goa
- Chief Secretary: Lt. Colonel Garth Stevenson
- President of Women’s Ministries – Colonel Tilitah Goa
Prayer Requests of the Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands Territory
- Give thanks and praise to God for the men’s weekend and for Territorial Women’s Camp. Through the camp many lives were transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Give thanks to the Lord, that despite many challenges, the PNGSI Territory continues to plant new congregations, enrol new soldiers, and increase the active officer force year on year.
- Give thanks to God for the many young people in The Salvation Army and pray for their protection and that they will reach their full potential in the church, and in the nations of PNG and the Solomon Islands.
- Prayer for the smooth transition of the leadership team as they move into their roles, TC & TPWM Colonels Chris & Tilitah Goa, Chief Secretary & TPWM Lt. Colonels Garth & Suzanne Stevenson
- Pray for the physical health of our officers around the territory, as they minister in remote appointments while having to contend with an inadequate national health system.
- Pray for the children of our officers who are separated from their parents due to the lack of sufficient schooling in many parts of PNG. We thank God for the international support that allows the territory to cover school fees for officers’ children.
- Pray for the leadership in the Solomon Islands (Majors Robert & Vanessa Evans) as they diligently implement their district development strategy to develop local leaders, enhance financial sustainability, and to grow their missional footprint.
- Pray for the continued implementation of the Territorial Strategic Plan: “Rebuild-Restore-Renew-2025”, as we address the priorities of the territory under the pillars of sanctification, service, sustainability and strategy.
- Pray for 2024: Rebuild Restore Renew – a Year of Reclamation
Verse: 1 Timothy 1:15 (International Standard Version):
“This is a trustworthy saying that deserves complete acceptance: To this world Messiah came, sinful people to reclaim. I am the worst of them”.
Focus: Evangelism; Discipleship: Focus on soul-saving, reaching out in our communities and to people already linked to The Salvation Army.
- Pray for the preparations for the commissioning events at Port Moresby in December.
- Prayer for Salvationists to grow mature in their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and they will effectively reach out to those who are not saved.
- Pray for Salvationists to come out from fear of sorcery practices and beliefs.
USA Southern Territory Prayer Requests
- Lt. Colonel Karol Seiler, Director of International Personnel Services/Personnel Special Projects
- Lt. Colonel Carolee Israel, Officer Development Secretary/Secretary for Spiritual Life Development
- Soundcast Ministry
- Joi Harris, Store supervisor & Lead customer service representative, Trade
- Rhonda Coley, Territorial auditor, Finance
- Willene Searcy, Administrative assistant, Property
- Captain Laurie Farraez, Director of Family Life Center, EBC
- Cadet Chelsea Carter
- Captain Dominique Darby, Candidates’ Secretary, Georgia Division
- Major Alma Cain, Associate Director of Moulton Memorial Student Center – Asbury University, NHQ
- Majors Mark & Jan Harwell, officers, soldiers, employees and volunteers of the Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi Division
- KROC Corps Community Centers
- Anonymous prayer request for the state that our world is in and that our leaders will have wisdom; for a family that lost a father last December and still experiencing the impact of that loss; prayer for God to open up His windows of blessing upon us all and each person on our building.
Something to Consider
During the Second World War, The Salvation Army was allowed to have chaplains travel with Australian frontline troops. Getting as close to the fighting as they could, the padres set up refreshment centers where they served tea and other refreshments as well as providing a place for the men to relax and unwind.
On one particular occasion in Papua New Guinea, the padre was told the forces were moving into a certain location. Unfortunately, no one told him the orders had changed. Keeping to the original plan, the Salvation Army padre took his pots, pans, supplies and other gear and noisily advanced to the position he had agreed to occupy. He thought it strange that when he arrived at the village he saw none of the Aussie troops there but he had work to do and set up shop. He figured the boys were chasing the enemy down the trail and they would circle back soon enough.
It was a few hours later that the startled Aussies arrived to find the Salvation Army padre fully setup, hot tea and biscuits at the ready. The Japanese had apparently abandoned the village and the padre was behind enemy lines.
The official report that day reported that the village had been secured, not by the Australian army, but by The Salvation Army.
Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” May you find this day, that God has gone before you and that you already are a conqueror before you even know it.
Go forth this day, knowing that the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and knows the stars by their names, also knows the way that you take. Amen.
We referred to this song earlier and know that not everyone may be familiar with it. This is a beautiful rendering of it by Fernando Oretega.