Reconciliation and Forgiveness in the Solomon Islands
Recently a missions team has returned from a trip to the Solomon Islands. The team is based at Edge City Church, Auckland and was led by Dave and Joy Allen who were involved in work in the Islands nearly 30 years ago. Earlier this year God spoke clearly to them to take a team back on their return. For their daughter Michaela it was her first time to the Islands, along with other team members Sandi Clewitt and Tracy Kirkley.
The team attended the 10th South Pacific Prayer Assembly, which began in the capital of Honiara September 20th and concluded on the Island of Malaita on September 28th. There was a strong message of reconciliation and Forgiveness for the people of the Solomon Islands. Much of the recent ethnic tension has left terrible wounds in the lives of many from Guadalcanal and Malaita, but the team witnessed some powerful moments of reconciliation between the two groups. Other overseas guests, including a youth team from Australia and leadership from Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Fiji also attended the prayer assembly. Over 1500 delegates from local and overseas churches attended.
Joy Allen felt the team was taking a gift of Peace to the people of the Solomon’s. “Peace is not a concept- it is a person, Jesus Christ” she shared in an opening speech at the Prayer Assembly.
The team then stayed on and experienced local village life for another week. They shared their lives and faith with the local people, and adapted to the basic conditions of village life, infrequent electricity supply, no running water and the heat. They had also taken up medical and school supplies, which were given to the local school and Medical Centre. Video footage and photographs of the local medical centre and school show the lack of basic educational and medical resources. Yet despite their lack of resources that we take for granted, the people are committed to improvement and doing the best they can with the limited supplies they get.
“The nation is wounded and recovering from terrible conflict caused by the fighting, yet the people we stayed with were so generous and gracious to us.” Tracy Kirkley comments ” They gave out of their lack, and their sacrificial giving of the best that they had humbled and honored us. We have all learnt so much from our time spent with these warm wonderful people”
Some of the team’s most powerful moments occurred outside the Assembly Meetings. God granted incredible favor to the team and opened doors and moments of discussion and prayer with a variety of people including High Level officials. The team attended a Peace Talks luncheon function; they were invited to a dinner at the Governor-Generals, and ended one day having afternoon tea with the commander of the Malaita Eagle Force. They spoke corporately and individually with various church and village leaders and others involved in the process of bringing peace back to this war torn land. Many moments were spent with the villagers in friendship building and ministry.
“The community opened their hearts to us, and ministered to us in unexpected ways. So much about this trip was unplanned, yet all through we felt a tremendous sense of Gods peace and protection on us, in situations that often took us way outside our comfort zones” Tracy said. ” Its often the very best way for God to use you and teach you lessons about His character as you depend on him completely in unfamiliar places”
The team also ministered in the local church in the village of Manakwai and was given opportunity to share a message of the Fathers Love for individuals and the nation. God also spoke prophetically through the team to individuals in the congregation as an encouragement to all.
” We feel there is unfinished business over there for us” Joy says ” God opened up many doors and although we experienced some powerful times of personal and corporate reconciliation, Dave and I believe we will be back there, and soon – to complete the mission God put before us. Old friendships have been renewed and new contacts have been established.
There is much we can do at practical, relational and spiritual levels to help the people restore their land,” she concludes.
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