Ashes & Hope – the rise & fall of a Highlands church

WRITTEN BY MIN TOBITT, INC SOUTH PACIFIC

In December 2001, an old rundown sawmill workshop situated an hour south of Mount Hagen in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea began its transformation. It became the home of the Kaupena COC/INC congregation under Pastor Alex and Jerrie Koyaiye.

During the next 8 years it was transformed from an old kunai grass building strewn with old engine parts, oil and grease into a colourful house of God where the local Christians worshipped, prayed and celebrated.

Souls were saved, people healed and delivered and the church hosted many camps, crusades, conferences, training sessions and meetings of pastors. The church operating as a base for the Southern Highlands churches also housed musical and office equipment.

On March 21st 2017, disaster struck. Motivated by jealousy, human hands set fire to the buildings which also included the pastor’s residence and vehicle. The local people stared in disbelief as an estimated five million kina worth of buildings and equipment went up in smoke.

2017 March 21 Kaupena church2017 March 21 Kaupena church (3)

Payback was the cry and intent of the locals and some from further afield, when they saw what happened. However, the amazing thing is that Pastor Alex by the grace of God, stepped in to prevent such action and declared his forgiveness of the perpetrators (who he knew well), and belief that God would provide even better in the future.

So at the moment the church people are having their church services under a blue tarpaulin, learning what God is teaching them through this experience and believing in the goodness of God. Pastors at the National Conference in September ministered their love and encouragement.

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Ps Alex & Jerrie Koyaiye

 

Highlands gathering: Papua New Guinea

WRITTEN BY MIN TOBITT, INC SOUTH PACIFIC

During the last week of September 2017 several hundred Pastors and Leaders from the far flung islands, the coasts and the highlands of Papua New Guinea gathered together at a Catholic high school property 30 minutes out of Mt Hagen for the annual COC/INC National Conference and AGM.

 

Hosted by the churches in the Highlands, the Conference delegates settled into the accommodation for the week. The generosity of the Highlanders was evident wherever you looked. Bags of freshly harvested vegetables were piled around the buildings. Groups of white chickens were huddled here and there ready for the cookpot and the local church women gathered in the kitchen ready to feed all the delegates. For the final meal on the final day, three pigs were also cooked in a mumu and added to the menu. Each morning, a generous couple Sam and Samantha provided and prepared a breakfast of hot coffee, bread and eggs.

As is the custom in PNG, the colourful stage was loaded with beautiful flowers and bright balloons and drapes. There was an expectancy at each of the Conference meetings and in the evenings the large auditorium filled up with members of the local churches joining in as well. Praise was energetic and loud and worship times were stirring and meaningful. Times of ministry were approached with respect and hunger.

For some of the meetings, the preaching platform was shared with some of the visitors from Australia which included the Oceania INC Chairman Ross Abraham and pastoral team from the Elevation INC Church in Sydney. Director of Global Care Peter Pilt also accompanied them for their short visit. Murray Townsend and Min Tobitt representing INC South Pacific were there for the five days which included meeting with leadership as well.

 

One significant decision at the AGM was the decision to pursue the establishment of the Human Development Foundation which places the movement in a position to obtain government assistance in providing services for the welfare of the local church communities.

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The National Oversight endorsing the HDF documents.