SOVEREIGN GRACE BAPTIST
MISSION OF MALAWI
PO BOX 60150 BT. 6 BLANTYRE MALAWI AFRICA
TEL. 265-9-741-007/ or 265-8-751140 (mobile)
Missionary / Evangelist: Peter A. Halliman
Date: 13/ 02/ 2010
S.G.B.M. Report Continued…
Bro. Bob Cowan and Alex were on their way to Port Moresby and I needed to get things in order to return back to my work. I met Bro. John Kekano who I spoke about in the last report, holding a seat in the National government. I met up with him again, and he escorted me back to the lodge, we had a discussion over lunch, which was directed towards him wanting to try and reunite the brethren who had broken off from us. Himself being a Duna man and a member of one of our churches was concerned for the unity of the work and rightly so.
He asked me if he could have a chance to come personally to Tanggi Mission Station and call a meeting with the pastors and try to resolve the differences between the brethren, I replied, you are welcome to do so however you must base your arguments, suggestions, advice and or counsel on Biblical mandate. Where wrong is wrong you must mark it so, where a rumor has been told without “Biblical witnesses” or support then it must be treated so, he agreed and so we set the date for the Bible Conference and would meet then.
The next day I tried to conduct some business in Mt. Hagen before starting our journey back to the Mission Station. I needed to organize for some food
As I had been eating sweet potatoes for some time now and they were starting to get a bit old. Bro. Ekere and I needed to try and organize some kind of transport back as well. By the end of the week we had things in order and we were able to depart Mt. Hagen by Saturday for the Mission Station. Once again, we were able to secure a Toyota Land Cruiser for one day, that morning we loaded up and started the long journey back to Tangy Mission Station. Ten hours later we arrived, unpacked, the vehicle was taken back by a driver and we settled in for the evening.
Tomorrow morning being Sunday, I was scheduled to preach at Tangy Baptist Church. Monday was a gathering day for folks to come in for the Conference, which was being held at the Hialupena Baptist Church, located half an hour’s hike from the Station. Bro. Ekere was pastor there for many years before resigning and going to Mt. Hagen. I was busy studying on Monday, as they wanted me to preach / teach that week. Tuesday morning I arrived early at Hialupena Baptist Church in order to meet folks and speak with the men regarding the order of the services and the programs ahead of us.
It was time to start and as we assembled inside the building which was designed to hold about two hundred people (the way NG natives sit), there was that and plus; every inch was taken up including the pulpit area, where we had children seated. I counted as many as two hundred and fifty people in the building and there were still folks coming and many seated outside already. Before the first message there were close to seven hundred people. If you can imagine yourself squeezed shoulder to shoulder, cross-legged and touching the one in front of you and the one behind you is so close that you can feel their breath on your ears, then with the voices of near seven hundred people singing as though they want their voices to reach heaven, then you can begin to realize what it must have been like in that building, with so many voices and so little space between each person.
The LORD gave me great liberty, and after I had preached for one and a half hours, the people seemed disappointed that I had cut them short. The fellowship afterwards was sweet and the afternoon I was engaged in business talks with the men regarding the mission work and different problems they were facing as well as the needs they felt.
Wednesday, the program was repeated again and continued until Friday, I preached three times during each day and by the end of the week after I preached the last message, the singing went on for over thirty minutes, then Bro. Ekere took the floor to speak and one could hear a pin drop. I have seen few men in my lifetime that have the ability to command the attention and respect of thousands of people without even as much as shouting. His father was a Tribal chief, and it was passed on to him. For as long as I have known Bro. Ekere I have seen a man full of compassion and slow to anger. The people love him because of his strength in love. He asked if there was any word or comment before he would close in prayer, a stillness swept over the crowd, when an aged man from the Duna Tribe stood slowly to his feet, somewhere in his eighties, having been saved from the ministry of Elder Fred T. Halliman and for many years had remained a faithful warrior for the LORD and for the Baptist people of PNG. He said that he had not come for a short discourse but for a Bible Conference. With proper respect we acknowledged his statement and closed the conference that day. I will never forget the words of that aged Duna man who had walked for three days to come hear God’s Word proclaimed, I will remember the admonishing he gave me to never cut a message from the LORD short just because people want to rush out. I thought to myself, where be these men today that are not afraid to stand up and “feed the sheep”. I don’t recall the LORD telling Peter to ask the sheep what they wanted to eat!
That afternoon, after the service closed, the preachers and elder men met with me in the Bible School building for discussion on how we would handle the meeting with these other preachers who wanted to break away and what we would answer to their questions. After some time of talking I advised them that we needed to stay with the Truth no matter what and exhibit the fruits of the Spirit. As we started the procession down towards the mission station there were no less then five hundred people who had stayed in order to attend this meeting.
As the meeting got under way, it was clear from the start that the three ring leaders (the same three that I have spoken about from the beginning of this report) they had gathered momentum in as much that they had succeeded in pulling other young preachers who had been attracted by their empty promises, of money, position, vehicles, free tickets to the capitol city etc…
There were accusations made against Bro. Ekere, and trumpeted up charges with “hired” witnesses” the problem with most folks is they don’t realize that Paul speaks about “receive not an accusation against an elder, except in the mouth of two or three witnesses” (that word for witness in the Greek) –Martur – meaning (martyr) which means, one must be very sure of what they want to testify against an elder, to the point they are willing to give their life or become a martyr for what they have said. This would cut out a lot of rumors spread around by those who don’t have a clue as to the truth of the matter. There is a school of thought that if there are “witnesses” then it must be true…I want the reader to stop and reflect how the “mob” brought forth accusations against Christ, and then had their “false witnesses” to bear it so. (This makes great messages to preach, but few actually believe this happens in our lifetime.) (Mt.26: 60) – a bearer of untrue testimony) - These witnesses would never become a (martyr) for their lies. However, a true “witness for the Truth” will be willing to surrender their life if it comes to that. The blood of our Baptist forefathers cries out from the soil where they were martyred for the (TRUTH). The Apostles, and early Christians surrendered their lives, they were beaten, imprisoned, stoned, sawn asunder, burned for their (Witness to and for the Truth).
It is only because of common law and governments, where God’s people, Christians, Baptist are not faced with this issue in current times.
A (note) on these [false witnesses]: They will take some truth, and mix it with untruth (lies) so that the common person could not differentiate, therefore, by the deception of such, the one alleged to theses charges, seems to be guilty before even the (Truth) is explored. Both the tellers of these (untruths-lies) and the hearer’s of such, are not concerned about the (Truth) but seek to fill their own bellies. (Pr.18:13) “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”
The meeting didn’t go well at all in fact it became quite heated and it was clear that these men had made up their mind to break away from our fellowship after nearly fifty years of sweat, blood, and tears poured into this work, here is the ending of a sad tale. Men who once stood head to toe, back to back preaching, and defending each other against the real enemy (Satan, and untruth) men who had laboured hard in the work, walking thousands of miles over the years, men who at one time were ready to surrender all for the cause of Christ. Now before us all the evidence of Jealously had, become all too real, these men were ready to sell out as quickly as Judas had, they were ready to trade their birthright for a bowl of porridge. Before the afternoon was over the meeting ended in public statements that they would no longer associate with us, nor worship together. I was accused of siding with Bro. Ekere Ibago, therefore they would have nothing to do with me either. At the end of the day I knew the damage had been done and it was a matter of picking up where we were and moving on in life. At the end of the day we all will give an account to God, no one person can claim faithfulness to the Truth because of another person. I felt sorrow Bro. John Kegano, as he too had tried to unite his people, him being a Duna man himself, having been saved and grown up in one of our churches; He holding the position of “Senator” in the National government spent over four thousand in (the mumu –pig feast) to try and resolve this issue between the brethren, yet they scoffed at his attempt and snuffed at his offering.
After most had dispersed, I invited John up to the house and tried to encourage him. I also told him that he had a great responsibility that God had put upon his shoulders with his position, that he need not let three men destroy his vision among his people.
To be continued…
A fellow servant saved by His Grace,
Peter A. Halliman