Report from Papua New Guinea

Published May 22, 2019

ISAAC  Asia

                                                                               (International Substance Abuse and Addiction Coalition)

Diary of a Missionary to Asia.

April 2019

Greetings from Malaysia                                                          

 

June & I have just returned from speaking at a conference in Papua New Guinea (PNG). PNG, like many other places around the world, has a growing drug & alcohol problem, particularly among the youth of that country. We had been asked to address the issue of what could be done in the community, particularly through the churches of PNG.

 

The conference was actually a mission’s focussed conference and some thought it a bit strange that there was a stream on addictions. I explained to them that addicts are an unreached people group. They are a sub culture in every culture. We found the people of PNG to be incredibly friendly and wanting to find answers to this problem. At our seminar we had 500 people in attendance including church leaders and people already working in the community as counsellors. I was informed sometime after I finished speaking that there were some women in tears the whole time I was speaking. They told me that they had been waiting for years to hear someone raise this issue and challenge the church to respond.

Some church leaders went so far as to say that they realised that their churches had become little more than a social club. That they had neglected to see their responsibility to reach out into the community. They had failed to see that they could do anything about such a big problem.

A large part of my message was to encourage them that by establishing support groups for addicts and especially support groups for the families living with addiction they will find that they are playing a big part in responding to the problem. After all our churches have families in them living with the trauma of addiction. There are people sitting in churches addicted to not just drugs or alcohol, but pornography as well. To think otherwise is to have our head in the sand.

In response to our message we were approached by numerous people from various parts of the country to return to train others in how to respond. We have asked them to talk together to plan a time that would work for them all. We are excited about this. We believe that God is opening a door for churches to realise they can step into this space and make a difference. At the same time creating a bridge for people to walk through the doors of their church.

 

One extra highlight was that one of the initiators of this conference was a man from the island of Tonga in the Pacific. He related to us that Tonga has a growing problem with methamphetamine, and the violence that goes hand in hand with that drug. He, along with another Tongan man at the conference was very keen that we make plans to visit Tonga to see what can be done there. We will keep talking with them and see where it leads.

We came home to KL excited about what God had done on this trip and with expectations of what will come out of it in the future. We ask you to pray with us about this.

On the 30th April I leave for similar meetings in Nth East India, Imphal, although this time June will not be travelling with me. I have been asked to speak to church and community leaders there about a growing drug problem in their midst. I will be joined there by a representative of CMS Asia (Church Mission Society). It is always good to work alongside other organisations. Often times our paths cross and we can build relationships that will achieve more than trying to do things on our own.

Once again thank you for your interest in our work. We are very appreciative knowing that we are not doing this on our own.

Warwick & June Murphy

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