• Joining heads and hands

    Posted by Tabitha

    16 August, 2011

    Earlier this year, some inspiring young leaders from Papua New Guinea who were in Australia as part of the Archer Leadership program paid a visit to the Micah Challenge office. The Archer Leaders spent time with several different Aussie campaigns to learn about social change that's happening here in Australia, and to get them thinking and dreaming about what could happen in PNG.
    The visit to Micah Challenge office stood out for one PNG leader, Nellie. Nellie (pictured centre) was encouraged by the Christian connection she shared with us, and she wrote me an email thanking us for meeting with them:

    "I bring to you greetings from Papua New Guinea. I am Nellie Hamura-Oa, one of the Archer Leadership Scholars that paid visit to Micah Challenge during our exchange program in Sydney. The visit to Micah Challenge was significant as I am a church minister myself. After graduating with a BA in Theology in 2004 from Pacific Adventist University, I spent a few years in pastoral work. Later this year I will graduate with a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, majoring in PNG Social Issues; specifically HIV/AIDS, Christianity and Culture.

    I wanted to write to you and share with you an experience of God's goodness and His faithfulness:

    We came back safely from our trip and are now back to our routines. I was very happy to see my children, Faith and Hope, who are 4 and 3 years old. It was a joy especially to see them in good health and I should say the Lord has been good to my household. Before church the following Saturday, we were planning to give a K30 offering to the Lord. However, I decided to give an extra K20 to thank the Lord for leading me and my family while I was away from them in Australia. So we brought to church altogether K50.

    Later that same week while I was walking home, an old family friend of my parents came up to me and gave me a K20. I immediately recalled the offering that we gave -the extra K20. I marveled at God's response and His approval of my offering to him. I thought to myself, "I will never think have a second thought in my giving to the Lord. Not only has He responded, but also He blesses. He is the God of Silver and Gold."

    I (Tabitha) visited PNG in 2007 and was struck by the influence of the Church on political and social structures in the nation, and by the potential for the Christians in PNG to be at the forefront of achieving change. As PNG is Australia's closest neighbour and our biggest aid recipient, I believe we have a responsibility to support Christians in PNG to call for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Micah Challenge International has been exploring some opportunities to support advocates in PNG, and the team here at Micah Challenge Australia would hope to be part of that. We want to be true to our mission to act as "agents of hope for AND WITH the global poor".

    In her email, Nellie spoke of her desire to start joining with other Christians in PNG to advocate for the MDGs:

    "The work Micah Challenge is of great interest to me personally - especially in PNG, where religion, and specifically Christianity, has a firm standing even in rural areas. I am inspired to do something similar for our people in PNG. I have been praying for the 'right people' to join heads and hands to do this together ever since.

    Thanks for making time for us and sharing what you do. It was a wonderful experience and an inspirational moment to listen to how Micah Challenge managed to bring together churches and address these issues back with the Government. God Bless Micah Challenge."

    During their visit to our office, the Archer leaders told us about some of their frustrations and concerns when it comes to moving the church to action around poverty - especially around the age-old question of 'evangelism verses social justice'.

    I could really empathise with this struggle - looking back at the early days of Micah Challenge in Australia we came up against this too. Now, when I think about how much has changed in the culture of the Church in Australia, I feel enormously encouraged - we now see every major denomination coming together in agreement that social justice is an important part of God's heart! This unity in the Church is one of my favourite things about being involved with Micah Challenge.

    Please join me in praying to our God of justice, who is at work in PNG and Australia and all around the world. Pray for Nellie and the Archer leaders and all the advocates that seek to respond the call of Micah, that we would be part of seeing that justice come to our earth.

    Tabitha is the Communications Coordinator for Micah Challenge Australia.