Association of Baptists for World Evangelism launches $6M campaign to 'transform' Papua New Guinea

A sign welcomes visitors to the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism's clinic in Papua New Guinea.
A sign welcomes visitors to the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism's clinic in Papua New Guinea. | Screenshot: YouTube/ABWE

The Association of Baptists for World Evangelism intends to raise more than $6 million to "transform" Papua New Guinea by renovating a Baptist college and clinic to enhance theological education and evangelism in the Pacific country with over 600 islands and 800 languages. 

The ABWE, an independent global missions agency that works with churches to send missionaries worldwide and operates in 84 countries to multiply churches and missions movements, unveiled the plans in a statement last week.

The organization hopes to raise $6.7 million to renovate and expand Papua New Guinea's Goroka Baptist Bible College and the attached Seigu Baptist Clinic. The organization has already secured $1.2 million in funding.

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"The Goroka Project is set to transform lives — and a nation — through enhanced capacity for theological education and a sustainable platform for medically based evangelistic ministry," the statement noted.

Bill Smith, a longtime missionary to Papua New Guinea, described the spiritual climate of the country as having "a form of Christianity" while lacking "the power of it."

"They have some knowledge of Christ, yet there's works; there's [sic.] all kinds of things added to it. Their Christianity is not genuine, and that is the hardest thing. Sometimes you have to get them lost in order to get them saved."

Association of Baptists for World Evangelism President Paul Davis said that while the Gospel message has spread throughout Papua New Guinea and many of its 600 islands, "the work of making disciples is far from over."

"That task will be finished not mainly through Western missionaries but by trained, equipped, and qualified Papua New Guineans ablaze with zeal for the Lord," he said. 

Davis said that expanding Goroka Baptist Bible College is "the most strategic way" to achieve that objective.

"The main purpose of the Goroka Baptist Bible College is training tomorrow's Christian leaders today," said Smith. 

"We are developing the next generation of leaders. And it's not just training pastors; it's training teachers, it's training medical workers, and whatever else God allows us to train them in — making a difference in their lives with the people that God gives them with their gifts and talents."

In a country where corruption is "rife," GBBC Vice President of Student Affairs Solomon Kinamat said the organization's goal is for Christians to become "honest leaders."

Lori Smith, a missionary at the Seigu Clinic, discussed the impact of the healthcare services provided there and its Christian hospitality.

"Here in Papua New Guinea, people don't have a Band-Aid; they don't have an aspirin. They have nothing, and when they have physical needs and they come into the area of our clinic, they immediately feel a difference because the love of Jesus Christ is just permeated through everything that we do," Lori Smith said. 

"The Gospel message is at the beginning of every clinic, and then throughout the day in smaller groups, each person has at least two opportunities to understand the Gospel message and to make a decision, if they need to, to receive Jesus Christ," she explained. 

The Bible college's presence in Papua New Guinea dates back at least 50 years, graduating nearly 500 locals to be leaders in local churches across 16 provinces. Meanwhile, the Seigu Clinic has offered healthcare services to Papua New Guinea residents since 1991, providing medical care to more than 20,000 people over three decades. 

After years of use, the facilities for Goroka Baptist Bible College and the Seigu Clinic need repair. The Goroka Project will renovate and expand the educational institution to accommodate 200 students, while the Saigu Clinic will be "replaced and expanded."

funding-raising page characterizes Papua New Guinea as a "land of great spiritual need" consisting of a "remote, rugged landscape isolating over 800 language groups traditionally steeped in spiritism."

"When Christ sent his disciples to 'the ends of the earth,' there is no doubt he had places like Papua New Guinea in mind," the ABWE asserted. "Tucked far away in the southwestern Pacific, Papua New Guinea and its 600 islands are often marked by a challenging mixture of tribal conflict, superficial forms of Christianity, and spirit worship — resulting in spiritual warfare and a weakened church."

Ethnic strife and violence have created a culture that "devalues life."

"[R]ape is prevalent, and false teaching about the nature of human life results in widespread abortion, abandoning infants, and shaming women," The ABWE website reads.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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