GC President Visits South Pacific Island Nations, Marks 100 Years of Missions There
by Monte Sahlin
By AT News Team, February 17, 2014
Pastor Ted Wilson, president of the General Conference (GC) of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, visited government leaders and Adventist institutions in the Solomon Islands and Fiji last week. The visit marks a centennial for the Adventist faith in the Solomon Islands, 100 years after the first missionaries arrived.
Wilson met with Gordon Darcy Lilo, prime minister of the Solomon Islands in the nation’s capital, Honiara last Monday. He also met with Governor-General, Sir Frank Kabui.
“We are honored to have you here,” the Prime Minister said, as he welcomed Wilson in a public event, according to official sources. Lilo stated that Christian churches play a very important role in that nation, shaping and developing Solomon Islands policy and culture, and in providing education and health care.
The Prime Minister said that the Solomon Islands government recognizes the important connection of the people with the Church. During the meeting, Lilo briefed Wilson on the history of the Adventist Church in the Solomon Islands.
In his remarks, Wilson thanked the government and the people of the Solomon Islands for the warm reception and hospitality shown to him. “It is the first time for me to be in this part of the world and this is a historic visit for me. I will make sure I inform church members worldwide of your wonderful country and people,” Wilson said. “I pray for the blessing of God to be upon this beautiful country.”
The Solomon Star newspaper announced the opening of a campus of Pacific Adventist University (PAU) in the Solomon Islands. The main campus of PAU is located near Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. A ground-breaking ceremony for construction of the new campus was held while Wilson was in the country. The nation’s minister of health, Charles Sigoto, and Pastor George Fafale, president of the denomination’s Solomon Islands Mission, as well as Pastor Barry Oliver, president of the denomination’s South Pacific Division, participated in the event.
The denomination has operates two senior secondary schools and a number of junior high schools throughout the country. It also operates Atoifi Adventist Hospital on Malaita Province and a number of clinics throughout the Solomon Islands. The hospital also has a nursing school.
This year the denomination is working to establish nine FM radio stations throughout the country. The Hope Network radio service is already broadcting in Honiara and Lata. By the end of the year stations will be on the air in Auki, Gizo, Noro, Choiseul, Kia and Kira Kira.
Wilson spoke last week to a crowd of 5,000 in Maranatha Hall in Honiara with the prime minister present. He also paid tribute to pioneer church leaders of the denomination during a visit to Betikama cemetery.
In Fiji, Wilson inaugurated the new campus of Fulton College which has been relocated from Tailevu to Nadi. He repeatedly expressed his amazement at the warm reception he received from people during his visits and the large crowds that came out.