Jiwaka, Papua New Guinea: Jiwaka North District hosted a four-day laity retreat held in Jiwaka Province, Papua New Guinea on 10-14 August 2023. This is the first retreat organized by the three districts – Jiwaka North, Jiwaka South, and Bromley, focused on inspiring and empowering the laypeople to take ownership in spreading the Gospel in Papua New Guinea.

In spite of the challenges that most participants have like traveling over difficult paths and roads, 120 laymen and women attended and over 200 people were present during the evening worshp services.

At the opening ceremony, the Jiwaka North district welcomed the other two districts in a procession as young people did a special drama to the song “Agnus Dei” (Worthy is the Lamb). The evening was facilitated by David Wan, a nurse anesthetist at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital and chairperson of Kudjip Primary School.

Each of the three district superintendents welcomed the lay delegates and shared powerful thoughts about laypeople being crucial to spreading the Gospel and transforming Papua New Guinea through the Church. Jiwaka North District Superintendant Rev. Philip Nolie extolled how laypeople have spread the Church of the Nazarene to 164 countries worldwide. Senior District Superintendant Rev. Andrew Akus, from Jiwaka South district, explained how the Church is a body held up by two legs: one leg is the clergy, and the other is the laity. If either leg is weak, the body suffers, but if both legs are strong and working together, the church body can advance the Gospel.

Encouragement was also shared by the heads of several Nazarene institutions, including White Kintak – Principal of the Nazarene College of Nursing, Joseph Sika – CEO of Nazarene Health Ministries, and Kafoa Muaror – Melanesia/South Pacific Field Strategy Coordinator.

On the second day, Bromley District Superintendant Rev. Peter Kui shared how Nehemiah was an important example for laypeople in the Church. Rev. Merilyn Wutsik spoke on Saul’s conversion to Paul and how he moved forward with the mission of Christ. Nazarene Compassionate Ministries coordinator John Taima facilitated and reinforced the shared messages.

The Laymen and women who attended were passionate about raising up the Church and taking ownership of the Gospel spread. They desired to be more involved in evangelism, discipleship, and leadership. They also committed to praying for the church and its leaders.

By Joshua Stewardson, Missions Development Coordinator