Sunday, November 27, 2011

My First PNG Friend

In 1974, I participated in Student Mission Corps, a Summer ministry program for college students in the Church of the Nazarene.  I was assigned to the Philippines, where I was involved in music for evangelistic services.  While I was there, 2 teen age young men from PNG had a layover in Manila while traveling to Switzerland for NYC (Nazarene Youth Congress).  They stayed the night in the home of the missionary I was staying with.  One of those teenagers was a Missionary Kid, one of the Blowers boys, possibly Larry.  The other was a national named Tarp Goma.

When I came to PNG, I was anxious to meet Tarp again.  When I asked around, I learned that he had been a pastor and an educator.  I even learned that our neighbor Tundai Goma was his little sister.  Our paths didn't cross for some time, but eventually I had a chance to visit with him briefly.

This morning, I attended the graduation of Melanesia Nazarene Bible College.  Among the graduates were members of the first class of a new Master in Ministry program.  This is an extension program from Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary in Manila, Philippines.  I knew that some of my friends would receive their Master's degrees (that was a big part of why I was there).  Tarp was one of the Masters graduates.  I visited with him briefly, and had someone take a quick photo.

The kina shell hanging from his neck is not part of the MNBC graduation regalia: it's a traditional PNG symbol of honor and prosperity, and was given to him by his daughter Grace, as he stepped off the platform after receiving his diploma.  Grace serves as secretary to the national board of the Church of the Nazarene in PNG, and works here at Kudjip.

In a few days, I'll tell you more about the graduation.

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