By GIDEON KINDIWA
LIFE may be a smooth ride for some, or a bit bumpy for others.
For this Chimbu man it was a hell of a ride!
Peter Graham Supa, “Daddy Pits”, or “Bubu Pits”, as his friends used to call him, was one of the humblest yet caring and very loving person with a big beautiful heart.
Peter, 28, is from Iriwol village in Chuave, Chimbu. His journey in education was not one of the proudest, as he really struggled to cope and flunked his university studies several times.
Giving up not an option
However, giving up was not an option for him. And he finally proved it on April 26 this year by getting a Bachelor in Science after nine years of a bumpy college ride. The challenge was real, but the rewards he is now starting to receive are even greater because in spite of all the negativity Peter was faithful and committed to someone greater than everyone– God.
I met Peter a few days after his graduation and asked him: “You flunked several times, yet you graduated after almost a decade. What is your perspective of failure?”
And he said: “You only fail when you choose to stop.”
Graduating with a degree is one thing. Getting a job is another. Peter now holds a supervisory role as shift chemist for Intertek Testing Services (PNG) Ltd, a subcontractor company to Harmony Gold at Hidden Valley in Morobe. He was recruited in Oct 2018, straight after finishing his studies, and promoted right after his probation ended.
“Always be faithful in serving God and he’ll be faithful in taking care of you, and always be faithful in everything you do.”
His struggles in school and the number of years he spent to win the race had somehow created a platform for him to become a blessing to so many people as well as building himself to the correct specification that he believed
God wanted him to be.
Peter took part in so many voluntary activities and took up leadership roles that somehow created memories for so many people. One of which was being the president for Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship (TSCF) in 2015. He organised and hosted several ministerial, recreational and social activities and events that sparked up the campus and had students experience a whole new level of participation and exposure of gifts and talents.
The time he spent at university was not in vain because his life and personality had touched so many students who had come to know him, and over the years he was seen by many as a “dad” away from home and a big brother with a shoulder to lean on. His room in the campus was home to the boys, and girls see him as a caring big brother who would always make sure that his friends were happy at all times.
Giving without expecting anything in return
Peter gives without expecting anything in return and spends on people to make sure they are happy, without even thinking about himself.
Joshua Sialis, a graduate economist and project officer for The Voice Inc. said: “Trying to describe Peter in just a few words is a challenge. He has such an outstanding character and personality. Serving under his leadership in UPNG TSCF in 2015 was one of the best experiences of my university days.
“He has the gift of uniting people from different backgrounds together and creating a safe space for everyone to grow both in their spiritual life and in their relationships with one another. Most of us refer to him as “Daddy Peter” because of his caring and nurturing heart that made him a father figure on campus. Even to this day we call him daddy.”
Zorah Rere, a professional female musician and final year student at UPNG said: “Peter is a man with a lot of characters. He is caring, God-fearing, and a very humble person and the list goes on. But there is one thing about him that I really admire as a small sister to him. He is not a quitter. He is a fighter. He went through rough roads in his life but he managed to swallow everything and finally graduated. He taught us that no matter what happens in life, hold your head up and know that one day you will still achieve your goals. His level of humility is what makes him unique from the rest.”
Education is tough but rewarding.
Peter started school in 1997, at American Christian Academy in his hometown Kundiawa. He completed primary school at Prenorkua Primary School and high school at Yawe Moses Secondary in Chimbu and got the dux award for grade 10 in 2007. He then went to complete grades 11 and 12 at Kerowagi Secondary School and was selected for science foundation at UPNG in 2010.
“My first year at UPNG was a bit okay, but it was a new environment and I was trying my best to fit in,” he said.
“I was brought up in the village and the city life had an effect, although I don’t drink or go partying, life itself had an effect on me and this slightly affected my studies. But I managed to complete first year.”
Peter thought he had already adjusted quite well so he started playing rugby league in his second year, 2011. Also, he was committed in so many other extracurricular activities which took up most of his time and he flunked a semester and returned in 2012. In 2013, he flunked again.
“I was ignorant. I didn’t learn from my mistakes and spent time unwisely so I got excluded again,” he said.
“Despite that, I never gave up. I learnt from where I went wrong and went back to give my best.”
He went back in 2014 to complete his third year but flunked for the third time although he gave his best. He knew that he would not give up despite the negative outcome. He returned in 2015, and that was the year Peter achieved a lot as a student leader in the campus, although his studies were again put on the line.
In 2016, Peter left school and did a part time job working as a geochemist with an exploration company Kohn Digan and Associates, a subcontractor to Kumul Consolidates. Whilst working he started a small business in the city.
He returned in 2017 and completed his third year and did his final year in 2018.
Peter said he gave his best but there is a reason it took him that long, which only God knows. He said God has now cleared his path to his blessings awaiting him because during those times where he struggled to keep up in his academic pursuit he had never once given up or questioned God why things have turned out bad for him.
God always has a way
Peter spent his entire life serving God. He was brought up in a Christian home where his parents raised him up with the basics in Christianity. Peter’s parents, Graham and Kennie Supa were church leaders and community elders. His father, a pastor and teacher said Peter was raised with strict rules and guidelines since he was a child.
“We always teach him to be positive at all times. His mother and I have always reminded him that everything was in God and that he must never in his life give up on God.
“We told him: ‘You took quite long in school, but by the time you go out you’ll go straight to where you’re supposed to be and you will get what you deserve because you were still faithful in serving God despite the situations’,” his father said.
“Children are our pride. His achievement was our pride. He was supposed to finish after four years but it took him nine years. However, we do not see him as a failure. He did his best, and we as Christians have also witnessed some hindrance caused by the devil to stop him from fulfilling God’s plan for his life. But God will always win in the end and he has done so as we did not give up praying and believing.”
Serving God in ministry
Peter is a devoted Christian and a very committed leader in campus ministries. He was part of the Simbu Born Again Students Association (SBSA) while he was in high school and during his long college ride he was a very faithful and committed leader in TSCF.
Peter led hundreds of students in ministerial, recreational and social activities and events that saw students getting involved in socialising, as well as learning new environments of exposing their potential in various ways. Students in his time recalled 2015 as one of the best years in their lives.
Some of the main events organized under Peter’s leadership were: the UPNG TSCF Gospel Talent Show; UPNG TSCF Gospel Concert; 2015 end of year uutreach to Milne Bay; and welcoming the 400-year-old King James Bible.
Peter’s drive for serving God made him organise and lead a group of 12 aspiring missionary students to travel by boat from Port Moresby to Milne Bay to preach the Gospel, which was the first UPNG TSCF outreach in nearly 10 years. This created a platform for two other outreaches in 2016 and 2017 which spurred the birth of Young Missionary Alliance (YMA), a Christian non-governmental organisation based and operating in the Trobriand Islands in Milne Bay.
There is still a lot that can be said about this passionate young man. His life, personality and character have been, and still are a blessing to so many people.
Maybe the decade spent at UPNG was for a reason. Maybe, so that God may use him to show his love and blessing to many young people who would have passed through the university, or to play a part in moving the work of God through young people and shaping the next generation.
Peter still serves God in his work place and aims to become an example of God’s enduring love, mercy and grace.