I want to let you know about the next adventure in my life and to invite you to partner with me in it. From January 25 to February 8, 2009 I and my friend, Jeff Fussner, will be in Bougainville to teach a two week course at the Bible College there. I will be teaching practical message preparation (aka: homiletics). It’s a great opportunity for me to share my 30+ years of experience with developing pastors and to learn from them as well.
So....where is Bougainville? It is a remote island in the Solomon Island chain near Papua New Guinea (PNG). I’ve been telling people that we fly into PNG and then go somewhere more remote. The people of Bougainville have been the subject of oppression for sometime and in the last decade have won a measure of autonomy and relief.
I will be posting updates here as the time draws nearer and a detailed report once I return.
Funds needed: $1,800.00
Raised to date: $1,840.00 We've exceeded the goal by $40.00! - thanks for your support! WOW! Extra funds will be put to use to help students at the Bible School.
Area: 3,590 sq mi (slightly smaller than Jamaica) The most northerly of the Solomon Islands but arbitrarily linked in colonial times to PNG.
Population: 160,000 about 20,000 lost their lives in the fighting during the 1990’s. An additional 40,000 became refugees.
Economy: A large copper mine opened in 1972 provided 35% of the national income to the PNG central government but severely damaged the ecology of the island. The mine was closed in 1989.
Politics: Local opposition to incorporation in PNG at independence in 1975 led to a war for Bougainville’s independence in 1988. After intense fighting, a cease fire was finalized in 1998. In 2000 negotiations about the future status of Bougainville commenced.
Religion: Almost entirely Christian. Roman Catholics 80%, United Church 10%, also Seventh Day Adventist. Many are nominal with much syncretism.
(Data taken from Operation World 21st Century Edition)
FOR MORE ON BOUGAINVILLE AND THE HISTORY OF THE CONFLICT THERE: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jfadt/bougainville/bv_chap2.htm