Church volunteers from Australia fly to build, teach, and preach at Adventist facility.
Published on: 01-29-2020
Park Ridge Seventh-day Adventist Church, a congregation in Greenbank, Queensland, Australia, recently celebrated the completion of a successful “fly ’n’ build” mission trip to Mt. Diamond Secondary School in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The church’s efforts resulted in 42 baptisms and decisions for Christ and 1,500 Bibles distributed to the school’s young people and staff.
A team of 15 volunteers took the 14-day service trip, making them the sixth fly ’n’ build group from Park Ridge church to contribute to the Mt. Diamond “Adopt a Clinic” program in the past 10 years.
Park Ridge Adopt a Clinic co-ordinator Alan Aldridge said they are blessed each year through their relationship with the Mt. Diamond school and Adopt a Clinic program. “Mt. Diamond Adventist School has become part of our wider church family, and it’s a privilege to be invited to return every two years to work with the school’s leaders and support the initiative,” he said.
The Adopt a Clinic concept was developed by the Adventist health ministries department as a way to assist the 56 rural health facilities operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church across the South Pacific Division (SPD) church region.
Park Ridge Church first partnered with SPD under the Adopt a Clinic program in 2007, and two years later sent their inaugural fly ’n’ build team to Mt. Diamond to construct the first dedicated health clinic on the grounds of the Adventist school. Since then, a team from Park Ridge church has returned every two years to support the clinic and conduct maintenance and extensions.
Throughout 2019, Park Ridge raised more than AU$20,000 (about US$13,500) to construct accommodation for nursing staff onsite.
“Supporting the clinic has been a whole church focus,” Aldridge said. “Plus, our members from the wider community were also involved and built the interior fit-out of the Nurse’s Inn.” Providing this housing means nursing staff can live onsite and meet the needs of the local community, who often present for treatment after hours.
The opening and dedication of the Nurse’s Inn was officiated by Rex Koi, general secretary of the Central Papua Conference; Sai Suwary, principal of Mt. Diamond Secondary School; and Gary Kent, director and presenter of the Incredible Journey program. Apologies from PNG Prime Minister James Marape were received, with his office contacting the team directly after their return to Australia to acknowledge their efforts.
Park Ridge head elder Luke Robinson spoke about the blessings that the church receives from helping others.
“Working for the good of others brings a stronger sense of purpose to our local church. Our young people and our seniors work together to achieve a common goal,” Robinson said, adding, “When we talk with our community neighbors, they see that we are not insular but are eager to help, and they join with us in reaching out to those less fortunate. The gospel is proven to be alive through the value we place on others, just like the love and care Jesus provides for us.”
The Park Ridge youth team lead a Week of Prayer program for the Mt. Diamond Adventist Secondary School at the same time as the fly ’n’ build. Each night and day, Park Ridge’s ministerial intern, David Penate, preached to the more than 800 students and staff at the school, which culminated in the 42 baptisms. The baptisms were officiated by Gideon Aguzi, Kiroko Aruna, and Gary Kent.
Aguzi had the opportunity to baptize his son, Junior Aguzi, a Year 10 student at Mt. Diamond. Aruna had the honor of baptizing his granddaughter, Gina Kitoko, also a Year 10 student.