By MARJORIE FINKEO
GRANDFATHER Robert Sarea became so concerned about the almost empty church in the village each Sunday that he decided to study to become a pastor.
He believes that the spiritual lives of people is dying with many inclined towards material things.
“ It is never a too late to become a minister of God by carrying out his work.”
Robert and wife Imisi Vaigi graduated from the Metago Theological College in Central on Sunday, Nov 10.
He born on April 23, 1964 at Kukipi village in Gulf. Imisi was born in 1965 at Anahadabu village, Koiari, Central. Her parents have served as deacons at the Anahadabu United Church for more than 45 years.
Robert and Imisi received their Certificates in Theological Studies to become pastors.
“It is never a too late to become a minister of God by carrying out his work.”
They have three sons, one daughter and five grandchildren. They stay at his wife’s village.
“I realised at my wife’s village in Anahadabu that there is a huge gap – the spiritual lives of people are dying.”
He sees villagers prioritising traditional ceremonies such as paying bride price and haus krai instead of going to lotu.
On Sunday, less than 15 people attend the church service. The rest of the villagers are busy in other activities or just sitting around the village telling stories, or sleeping.
Young people carry their boom box speakers around, drinking and engaging in non-church activities. The couple and five others received their certificates and will be posted to United Church circuits in Central.
They are from the Koiari circuit and have been posted to the Kadeboro circuit.
They will spend 10 months practical in 10 villages in the circuit, starting in January. Some of the villages are Manumanu, Seme, Dagoda, Gaire, Barakau, Vaivai, Orikoro and Gwarume Mase.
They will return to the college in November next year to complete other units such as Funeral Services, Holy Communion and Baptism Service as part of the diploma programme.
Last year, eight students were selected to attend the college but could not finish. One was injured when a piece of timber fell on him, two were sent home for beating their wives, and the remaining five left.
Robert and Imisi are with five other students in their batch. They are from Karati, Gulf and Western, Western Central Papuan Region, Pounamona in Kairuku, Delena in Hisiu and Koiari.
He told about the many challengers they faced during their studies “but our faith and prayers saw us through”.
“God is real. I felt him through blessings that we get when we were in school. Our relatives hardly visit us but it was not a problem because God was with us throughout.”
He hopes to change the thinking and attitude of people so they can turn back to worshipping God.
“We are created by God. He gave us that wisdom and purpose to know him and understand his creation.”