Pam, Betty (Ishmael’s wife) and me

There’s many, many stories of supernatural protection and provision during the difficult war years in Bougainville. Royree has heard so many more than I have because she has been involved with the people of Bougainville for 16 years. In 2000, she heard about the glory of God that was present on the island and went looking for it. Since that time she and Dave have become great friends with so many Bougainvilleans.

Royree has contributed to a book titled “South Pacific Revivals.” Here’s an excerpt.

A boy’s story: “During the crisis, Papua New Guinea Defense Force men entered the little house I lived in with my mother. They demanded kerosene and food at gunpoint. My mother was a Christian and so she began to pray. They held a gun to her head but she said, ‘No.’ Kerosene was more valuable than gold for us. Without it, we couldn’t run our home. The soldier pulled the trigger. The gun didn’t go off. All this time, I watched my mother. They pulled the trigger a second time. The gun didn’t go off. The soldier went outside our hut, pulled the trigger and it went off. The gun was loaded and it exploded. These soldiers realized that God was with my mother. They quickly ran away. We kept out kerosene.”

By the time that 12-year-old boy told me this story, he was a young man, yet the awe of God was till on him. He had witnessed his mother’s faith in God and he is still walking in the fear of God.   

Taxi service in Bougainville. This is the most common form of transportation.

Ruth, a vivacious school teacher recalls her experiences of being a woman during the crisis and the revival: “In the time of the crisis, God helped my family in a big way. We had no money to buy clothes, food and soap. God showed us how to use coconut and lemon to wash our clothes to make them white as snow. He showed us how to use coconut oil from our own coconut trees for lamps. Before the crisis, we used to buy kerosene for our lamps. Now there was no money and no kerosene. Salt was also not available so He showed us how to cook our food in salt water from the ocean, adding grated coconut for our flavors. Sometimes we would boil the ocean water until all we had left was the powdery salt. In these ways, God showed me that He loved women in their domestic situation; that even in a crisis He could provide all we needed by looking after our clothes and our bodies.

“When it was time for us to have babies, He made sure there was someone around to act as a midwife. As soon as we knew we were carrying a baby, we would pray that God would be with us at the time for the birth and that our babies would come out easily. We want to give God glory and thanks. Women who didn’t have Him with them often died along with their babies at their time of birthing.

“God also blessed the ground during the crisis. Food that we hadn’t planted appeared – sweet potato, yam, taro, cassava, Chinese taro, banana and other fruit. This didn’t just happen in one place. It happened all over the island. In fact, there is now a category of sweet potato called crisis kaukau!”

Jane: “When the crisis came, people ran away to the mountains leaving their chickens behind. It seemed that those chickens found their way to our village so we had plenty of meat for a long time during the crisis.”

With no help from the neighboring giant, Australia, and with the confusion and betrayal of brother fighting brother, they turned to God, sometimes praying from 6 in the morning to 11 at night. As the saying goes, “When God is all you have you find that He is enough.”

Another young man shared this story with Royree:

“There was one instance in 1993 when I was leading a group of chiefs from up in the mountains to sign a peace agreement. I prayed to my God, ‘The fighting is all around us and I am a Christian. If You are going to go with me, talk with me tonight, Papa God. I don’t want to lead them through the bullets.’

“At 2 a.m., my elder son who was three spoke in English. He did not know English. He said, ‘Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, you can go.’ He was fast asleep. Fifteen years later, the memory still brings tears to my eyes and a reverent awe of God. This was not the time of meetings, conferences, mobile phone or encouragement. This was a hard time and we only had God.

“I woke up in the morning with peace. That day, 15 of the chiefs started to run back to the moutains. I told them that God was with us and that not one single man must run away even if there is gunfire. I told them that, if one runs, then the guns will get us but that if no one runs, we will all be safe.

“There was a place called Ambush Corner always maintained by BRA. They knew where I was taking these chiefs and why. They didn’t want anyone to sign peace papers. I was in the front of the line. They Holy Spirit stopped me and I heard a voice tell me to take the chiefs to one side. I stopped them and said, ‘We are about to enter Ambush Corner and I am afraid that there are people ready to kill us. However, last night, I felt the peace of God. Don’t run but stand strong beside me.’ We walked ahead and the BRA descended upon us. I said to them, ‘In Jesus name, I am a servent of God.’

“They pointed their weapons to the sky and fired them off, then they pointed their guns at us but the guns wouldn’t fire. The chiefs kept following me saying that the peace must come from God. The peace we enjoy today in Bougainville is because of that document.”

If you are interested in reading more about God’s revivals in the South Pacific the book is available as an e-book on Amazon for $5. The title is South Pacific Revivals by Geoff Waugh with Robert Evans, Royree Jensen, Walo Ani and Vuniani Nakauyaka.

Have I mentioned that I’m ready to go back to the island! I miss the people and I want to hear more stories. I think we should make a movie of this, what do you think?

A view of Bougainville from a nearby private island we visited.
A fun day seeing Bougainville from the water.

Till next time,

Sondra

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