A story of the Arrival of the Gospel in North Malaita
HISTORY OF THE ARRIVAL OF THE GOSPEL IN MALU'U, NORTH MALAITA
Stated along this edition is the family version of the whole account of the Gospel History by local Island pioneer missionary who had been to Queensland in Australia, serving in the Sugarcane plantation, which after years of serving were ignited with the flame of the Gospel and later determined to return home with the message to their own people. However, with the stream partly flowed to the shores of North Malaita through Peter Ambuofa, I am sure will present some interesting and challenging features of the life and experiences Peter Ambuofa met. As he volunterily dedicated his life to set foot ashore on the brinks of the jeoperidical coasts of North East Malaita to plant the Gospel tree. However, in all his endeavour to fulfil his call, the Lord stood along with him and finally despite all his trials and because of his courage, the Lord conquered the region, one of the most hostilic regions in Malaita and its people. Praise the Lord...
The Origin of the State of era
The was someone by the name of "Ambuofa or Kwanairara" of the Manafiu Tribe who lived with his parents in a local heathen Hamlet called " Gwa'atolo" in the Northern Mountainous tip of Malaita. His fathers name was "FOAKWAILIU or NUKUA" a great warrior and chief of their tribe during those days. Besides, Ambuofa, he had six(6) other brothers and one(1) sister and that brings their team to a total of eight members altogether in their household.
Once upon a time, Ambuofa's Father notices that his house now require urgent repairs. so oneday he announced the need to comply the activity purposed and together his sons along with other kinsmen gathered the day and continued the job.
Despite of the number that had responded, the task was therefore shared among them so that everyone of them atleast must have something to do, thus to avoid idleness at work. As the job was shared the manner exhibited. Anyway, Ambuofa and his elder brother "Go'osila or Orara" were ordered by their father to do the mending of the leaking roof. As both embarked on the job to which they were given, the sunshine seemed to stretch out its brilliant rays and had seemed to affect the two(2) of them.
As the job continued, the uneasiness of the sun seemed to endow on their person some tiring effects and not very long the weight of the task developed on both even to a state of nothing more or less but to only quit the job.
Anyway, though the brothers had seemed to quit in mind, however they could hardly do such a thing in the event, that its there part allocated responsibility. They need to complete the roof whatsoever.
So as the work flows in hurry as in the manner stated, Ambuofa meant serious business with the job, and as he moves from here and there on the top of the house, he then farted unexpectedly. Just at the same moment, Ambuofa's brother Go'osila angrily assumed that the incident somehow was deliberate on the side of Ambuofa, so he cursed the roof of the house in turn of what his brother Ambuofa accidently did.
However, a curse of that nature in the heathen era of the Toambaita tribes is not so much a minor thing. Perhaps if such a curse would have remitted from someone then, as in the case of Ambuofa, must so, merely on conditions only if a man is killed and his blood be poured in order to satisfy the ancestoral gods so that the priesthood once again is purified and its santity normally restored. Indeed, this is really an impossible thing to do, But anyway, the price must be paid by Ambuofa perhaps if he is to restore his status again in the religion of their tribe. The development brings upon him some greater weight as he thought of assasination as not so much a simple thing and also to quit his status in their religion would mean nothing more or less but death, being the end of his lifetime destiny.
In the course of such situation, Ambuofa could think of nothing more but to consider measures if he could rid himself off the curse so that he could retain his status again in his own family and tribe.
Trip to Queensland
By reasons of such a development, poor Ambuofa then resolved to leave at once to Queensland with the intent that he would work in the sugarcane fields in Australia and after some years of serving up. He could purchase a rifle or gun to shoot someone whose blood will remitt the tradegic curse put on him by his elder brother that almost driven him to some distances far away from his society.
Just around the time of black birding days, Australian ships often make journeys to the Islands to catch native people and take them to Queensland to work as slaves in the Sugar plantation at Bundaberg in Australia. And just around the time Ambuofa decided to persue his ideas to get released from the bonds associated. A ship came from Queensland and birthed in the Suava bay. Just a sign to announce to the region their wish to get some native workmen enlisted and transported therefore, two(2) shots were fired. Ambuofa having heared of the shots, he swiftly made his way down to Silolo just adjacent to the spot the shots are fired. He boarded the ship along with other natives companions to Queensland.
Arrival and Work
Arriving in Queensland after some days and weeks journey. Ambuofa worked as a slave in in the FAIRYMEED SUGAR COMPANY plantation in Bunderberg, Queensland. During that time slaves brought to work there were not only from the Solomon Islands but also from other pacific Islands. As a result of the combination of various different cultures of different ethnicity living together, under the company's umbrella, they seemed not to accept each other in terms of the differences. Most often, their arguements resulted in major conflicts among themselves.
Christening of Ambuofa
During such times, Miss Florence Young was also there, she often came to where these men used to live. As she paid regular visits into their place of work and camps, she could witness their hostility and notoriety to each other , and Florence Young was deeply moved with her heart that if only these men would accept Jesus as their personal saviour and their lives would change from such a formless and desperate situation.
With that experience, Miss Florence Young eventually came up with the idea of establishing a programme known as the evening class daily at eves for the slaves with the purpose that better should they be given education opportunities to ensure their competence in terms of communication as they are working in a place and among a people whose Language is English. Secondly, that also it would be a chance to reach men for the Lord as relly the majority of the labour force is but heathen men. So Miss Florence Young started the classes.
To most of the Labourers especially those from Malaita who were there at the time, are reluctant to be enrolled into the programme initiated by Miss Florence Young. On the Basis that it is against their culture and religion beliefs that women should ursurp leadership and authority over them. Hoever for that sole reason, they resolved not to be party to the evening class programme. Among the Labour force, there are some one or two members who dared to ignore their cultures and admitted to the classes. Having proved the best results, they shared to Ambuofa the impacts they had attained as a result. With their good explanatory statement however, Ambuofa was then convinced and became a regular attendent. So Ambuofa continued and become very interested in his new discovery of certain values within the evening class programme.
- He is thrilled that he attains such a confidence by which he can communicate better to people within his calibre in whose land he is but a migrant.
- He is thrilled that he discovered a totally new life in Jesus Christ that changes his personality and the corrupt religion which for years he was a victim and servant.
As a result of his emerging new dicoveries, his purposes had eventually incapacited. The reason for purchasing a rifle to get revenge and so accomplish his purpose for distant migration had badly failed. And instead of purchasing a rifle to shoot a victim of slaughter, however, he was given the Gospel rifle message (John 3: 16) to return back with to the Islands, his people and particularly his own family. A rifle type which he would shoot at a dead man physically and he becomes a living soul.
These all took place in Kalkie, Bunderberg, Queensland in 1892. So by the assistance of devoted missionaries during that time ( Bishop Hopkins, Mr Borough,etc...) Ambuofa was immersed in the Burnett River with the name "Peter"( the rock) to indicate his new seal to follow and serve Jesus as his saviour and Lord.
Hence, after his act of immersion. Peter Ambuofa had experience no peace of heart to delay any longer in Queensland. In a sense that the concern he has for his dying people emerges from strength to strength. Until finally Peter Ambuofa Finds a suitable transport in which to travel back to his homeland, the ship left Australia to Solomon Islands sometimes in April 1894.
Parent's Consulation to spirits on Peter's Condition
More accurate to the time Peter Ambuofa was a Christian convert in Queensland however, wayback at home with his parents, they were really troubled despite the point that no informations as to whether or not their son wouls still survive to the far as that of Queensland or may have already deceased. The reason for his parent anxiety had it that all of Peter Ambuofa's brothers are chief warriors and could hardly be given the authority to rule their household because to do so would be against their tribal religious beliefs. Therefore, to make things achieve to proper places and values however, Peter Ambuofa is proved by his parents as a good quality leader among his brethren. That is why is father is so worried about his condition and status. The problem is the distance, there was no communication links at that time.
With no other Communication links or means besides his wish to hear from his son from such a far. He took a piglet in his arms and walked up to the tribes principal Sacrificial alter at "Gwauru'u" to sought his devils to identify the condition and staus of his son living in Queensland, Australia. As the sacrifice was offered to the point the piglet turns to ashes, his gods spoke to him and revealed that Ambuofa his son is well and beside his condition, he is about to return home with a religion described in Toambaita Language as "OTALOA" which will put an end to the heathenism religion in the Island of Malaita.
More interstingly and amazingly, this message was communicated by the ancestoral gods of the tribe of Ambuofa to his father "Foakwailiu" at the similar time Peter Ambuofa accepts Jesus in Kalkie, Bunderberg in Australia, in 1894.
From that time, Peter Ambuofa's father notices that something more different to what they observe would eventuate soon which will change the course of history in that era. Peter Ambufa's father waited with expectancy then on to the arrival of his son.
The Homeward Bound
Peter Ambuofa actually travelled back two times.
The First return
Peter Ambuofa made his first trip to Malaita in April 1894. This ship landed at "Urasi" Lau, North East Malaita, but Peter Ambuofa was unable to set foot ashore, because "Chief Kwaisulia" had forbidden his passage. Yet Peter insisted to go ashore, but the Captain of the Ship refused to let him, so they returned back to Queensland that time.
The Second return
However, Peter Ambuofa could hardly remain in Queensland as his heartfelt concern for his people would never allow him to stay for atleast some more time. So therefore Peter Ambuofa finds another ship destined for Malaita. So they left Australia sometimes in late April and safely arrived in the same Urasi passage on the 6th of june 1894. That trip however, Peter was accompanied by two men of that region who also are converts returning as well from Queensland. One of them is Billy Tara'ae. That day the chief let them ashore for the sake of his two men. This took place at Funafou. But that eve, the two were received under shelter. Peter Ambuofa was not welcomed. In reality Peter Ambuofa was sent to find shelter with pigs. For the night he swept pigs droppings and there he lay asleep.
Due to transport difficulty at that time, Peter Ambuofa was unable to make his way to his passage though it is only some kilometre west of "Urasi". So he had to wait at Funafou for sometimes until a canoe carries him back home. So Peter Ambuofa resided at Funafou for a couple of days. It was not until the day prior to his departure to Malu'u early in the dawn that someone by the name "Kamoda" came to him in the eve and told him that chief Kwaisulia had proposed to assasinate him on conditions that Peter's God by prove had forfeited his ancestoral gods and for that reson he must kill Peter Ambuofa in order to restore sanctity and confidence in his religion once more.
With that plot, Peter Ambuofa was told and Fula'au with the company of his brother Kamuda arranged to pick Peter in time before any attack is launched on him by chief "Kwaisulia". So the night just before dawn, the two men came and took Peter Ambuofa and safely escorted him to his passage at Malu'u.
Just before they left "Urasi" harbour, Peter Ambuofa pronounced a curse prayer to ignite the passion of hatred and killing henceforth in Kwaisulia's region and from hence, killing and bloodshed is just as common to these days.
Arrival at Malu'u
Fula'au and Kamuda escorted Peter Ambuofa to Malu'u and eventually treads Malu'u shore on the Sport known as "Aethawanekao" on the i4thof July 1894. At arrival he kindly thank his friends for the escort given to him by them and he blessed them and they returned to "Urasi" that day.
Just at the scene, of his arrival he saw no one except two young lads who came down from inland villages to collect salt water for salting foods. As he saw the lads, he questioned them of who their father is, their tribe and location, from the lads response, Peter Ambuofa could learn that the lads were his close relations and their names were Susui and Kori'i.
So Peter Ambuofa sent word to the boys father through Susui and Kori'i so that word is conveyed to his father "Foakwailiu" at "Manafiu" to inform him of his sons arrival and relocation at Malu'u area. Having informed of the situation. Peter's parents recalled the revelation given to just one or two years earlier concerning Peter Ambuofa and the religion identity he is to bring to the Islands. For cosolidation, he (Foakwailiu) sent his wife, (Peter Mother) to confer with his son if she can convince him (Peter) to return back to the heathens. So one Market day, Maelilia, Peter's Mother went to Malu'u Market. After some hours of walk downhill, Peter's mother arrived at Malu'u Market. As she approached the view of Malu'u market, she could see from distance someone dressed quite different from the normal traditional tremds Islanders use to wear their costume. He was more likely to be as a white manbut the problem was that he speak Toabaita Language.
Drawing more closer to the fiqure, she notice that the figure was speaking to the market audience was her own son. So she quickly walked past the crowd towards the spot her son was standing and exclaimed. "Was that you my son". Peter Ambuofa answered, "Yes Mum, It is me". So his mother hugged him and utter words as such. It is enough son that I am able to see you again. So Peter Ambuofa greeted her mother.
As the market dismisses, Peter Ambuofa came home to the place he was residing and further explain to his mother the reson for remaining at Malu'u, which according to our tribe and family legacy is but a foreign element. But seeing that it is God who determined such a move and though it had been contrariwise to our cultural morals and values as a people, what the Lord purposes stood unaltered. With such encouragement, he comforted his mothe not to accuse him as being a disobedient son.
Father Learns of Son
The day Peter Ambuofa return to Manafiu with all the information with all the information she got from her son of his condition and the new religion status he brought. At he arrival of Peter's mother at "Gwa'atolo", she told her husband of every single information concerning their son and the new religion, he brought. At the point of pondering through the situation, "Foakwailiu" has got offended on two basic reasons.
- That his son has brought a foreign religion unconditional to areas of restriction when compared to the heathen religion.
- Example. It's priest can have free access for communication to group of people under the heathen religion who are defined as termed.
- That his son Peter Ambuofa had ignored his paternal status of existence as a result he ignored his order to return back to the heathen.
However, on the basis of the above two reasons, "Foakwailiu" was greatly upset and furthermore, he thought of some ways to intimidate his son so that he would soon quit his religion and return to "Manafiu".
So his first endeavour was for him to sware by his sacred worship, status of existence, and the tribal identity should anyone desecrated the above elementary morals, he(Foakwailiu) sworn would surely die perhaps if caught supplying victuals to sustain Peter Ambuofa.
This oath was one of the frightenning cases which pacified even the entire communities around Malu'u and the Northern region as a whole to restrain food supplies to Peter Ambuofa during that time.
Despite the situation, the Lord continued to feed Peter Ambuofa by means of two unbeleivable and unexpected sources
- That a woman from the tribe of "Te'ekwali" by the name of "Biraningu" took no notice of the ban declared by Peter Ambuofa's father that no one should feed him, and arranged a spot in the sand adjacent to "Kwene" where she used to bring cooked and uncooked foods and hide it there,and Peter would have come and collect the foods at another time he sees appropriate for him.
- That he was given provision for food of a tree traditionally known as "Wawao" that stood at the back of his hut at "Kakale". This tree and its fruit was not edible. Inorder to get the gospel survive, Peter had to live on the fruits of the Wawao tree for almost six months.
Peter Ambuofa was left alone by his parents to starve, the starvage continues for a period of six month, As he sat in his hut at "Kakale", and observe the view of Malu'u market, he saw too heathen women comming to his hut. As they were closeby to his hut, he could realise that the other of the twain was his own mother(Maelilia). As she closely approached her son, she gave her greetings of respect to her son by saying "Good day Son".
However, under his mother's arm was a traditional weaved basket which contained atlest twenty already roasted taro. His mother lowered the basket on the ground and unfolded it, as Peter Ambuofa looks on expectantly, his mother picked just about a handful of clean roasted taro and showed it to him saying, " this should have been yours, but you will never have them now because you are not obedient to your fathers wish, therefore be starved and die like an orphan". With cordial response, Peter told his mother, he is content watsoever or not he would die of starvation but as long as he pleases God. His mother then folded her basket of food and returned back to the heathen.
There are many forms of attempts that Satan through Peter Ambuofa's own people had done to discourage his annointed servant but in all of these many trials the Lord penetrates. These are some of the many examples;
- An ambush was undertaken by a certain band of warriors in North Malaita with the intent to launch an attack on Peter Ambuofa during the night but the Lord from his heavenly view sees the wicked devices sent forth light in great measure that drives the warriors from their ambush position and with great fear scattered and fled for their lives in the bushes.
- A band of warriors was led by his own brother had an ambush around his hut awaiting darkness to gain foothold around the location. As the waiting process continued to the time proposed, the lord open the heavens, and the warriors were frightened over the sound of weponaries rattling. This made them escape in to the bush. And for fear of Peter Ambuofa's God they declared in awe, that they don't tend to be part of an ambush anymore.
Besides all these marvellous experiences, the lord in many ways has done amazing things to preserve both his servant Peter Ambuofa and his Gospel.
Prior to his settlement at Kakale after his meeting with the lads. There are some very important areas we need to comprehend, the significant steps that Peter Ambuofa trode to gain the victory over the island of Malaita.
- That it took Peter Ambuofa to pray and fast for a time of not less than two weeks. This is the foundational aspect of compiled that results with the greatest victory the Lord could ever had to conquer satan's mighty strong hold known as the "UTTERMOST"
- That it cost Peter Ambuofa to deny his rights and strength as the son of the most notorious expert warrior of the Manafiu tribe to accept humiliation from all spheres of human life.
- That it takes the Lord's servant to love his God more than anything else. As a result of that love, he is willing to continually identify with him despite whatsoever the situation tends to be.
With all the trials, temptation and spiritual conflicts within that space of four years, Peter Ambuofa remains patience to see a confirmation as to whether or not the gospel seed will germinate progressfully.
The First Miracle
Near to the end of the forth year of toil, Peter Ambuofa sought the Lord by prayer for a miracle, this is to consolidate the quarantee of future events to mobilize as a result of the Gospel power at work. he prayed over a rooster(Male Chicken). As a result of his prayer, the young rooster layed eggs, and after a some weeks, the rooster hatches them and lead its chicken, the manner a hen does when carig for its chicks. This is quite an unusual experience. The experience however was not worth surprising for Peter Ambuofa as it was only a devine confirmation to him as what he is to do and will do as a result of his devoted toils and endeavours to bring the Gospel to such far. In this regard, Peter Ambuofa gives God the glory.
Outcome of the First Miracle
In this way the number of Church adherence developed until the church of God at Malu'u those days becomes a mighty growing church. As a living organism it begans to extend its borders to places like "Gwaiau 1900 and Fo'ondo in 1902 and in other places. During the course of those times mentioned, Peter Ambuofa often paid walks to "Thathangi". One day, he learnt of a custom festival arranged to honour the ancestoral spirits of the tribe in the area and paint a visit to preach to them during that time. As the festival proceeds according to the stages of rituals to its climax. Peter Ambuofa forges his way into the crowd and sung a ong entitled.
Jesus Loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong. Chorus, Yes, Jesus Loves me, the Bible tells me so (3X)
The message of God's love seemed to plung into the heart of one of the warriors of the tribe of "Fauna'afa" by the name of Saukuru, eventhough he could hardly managed to comprehend the contents of the message of song. All he claimed as he burst into tears was the melodious part tone of the song Peter Ambuofa sung.
As the festival was over, the great warrior resolved not to return to his people again, His desire was to follow Peter Ambuofa and learn the song until he knows how to sing it. However, that was not an accident somehow but really Saukuru's response to God's call to be one of the great men among the founding pillars of the Fo'ondo Church.
This is the end of the first part of history of the Gospel to the North Malaitan Shores.
HISTORY OF THE GOSPEL TO NORTH MALAITAN SHORES(Part 2) As the Lord had confirmed to Peter Ambuofa by the miracle of the Rooster towards the conclusion of the first part of our history that the message of the gospel would germinate and grow as from stage to stage in terms of its spiritual dimensions.
Presented below is the detailed account of what the Church has been doing throughout the history. This is actually the movement of missionaries from Malu'u, Fo'ondo and Gwaiau to the Islands and places that need missionary work.
No Names Mission Field From 1 Edwin Foarara Takataka Malu'u 2 David Susui Wairokai Malu'u 3 Shemuel Maeato Are'are Malu'u 4 Artimus Funui Marau Malu'u 5 Jabez Oiri'i Inakona Malu'u 6 Abel Karioa Aola Malu'u 7 Herman Ioi Makira Malu'u 8 Nehemiah Oiomea Arosi Malu'u 9 Nicholas Sale Rennel Malu'u 10 Herman Abel Roroni Malu'u 11 John Kanairara Rennel Fo'ondo 12 Marcus Otalia Kwaio Fo'ondo 13 Gideon Fangalea Malango Malu'u 14 Meshach Suluorea Baegu Malu'u 15 Gilead Oloburi Malu'u 16 Festus Lokei Makira Malu'u 17 Jotham Ausuta Makira Malu'u 18 John Sioni Guale Malu'u 19 Abel Finiagalo Wairokai Malu'u 20 John Maedola Onepusu Malu'u 21 Rev. Silas Erekali SSEC Malu'u 22 Rev. Festus Suruma SSEC Malu'u 23 Rev. M. Maeliau SSEC Malu'u 24 Rev. Japhlet Wawane SSEC Malu'u 25 Rev. Japhlet Radoe SSEC Malu'u 26 Meshach Adomea SSEC Malu'u
Regret most that I am unable to call all the missionaries from the Northern Church who have dedicated their lifes for the service of the Kingdom, since the early days. The Table above gives us some evidence of the zeal we acquire at once upon a time to mobilize into new fields in respective of the situation at all costs. Praise the Lord!!!
Many of our missionaries sent to places had never returned on the basis that they were matyred and some received devine commission and were given a one way ticket. Therefore, in this manner our people displayed greater zeal for missionary work as they were empowered by the power of the Gospel.
The Second Miracle Just towards the closing age of the servant of the Lord, Peter Ambuofa. He displayed God's power in certain ways to prove to the world that his God "YAHWEH" is all powerful. So in his old ages, he is destitute for someone to collect water for his daily cooking purposes and drinking because all his children were aged men and have left to places of their commitment.
Acknowledging the fact that he cannot help himself in such a situation, he identified two men by the name of "Raunia and Geuala" to dig a deep pit on a hill called "Gwaunatolo". The reason of his choice for Gwaunatolo as the most ideal place for a well is such that, at one night as Peter Ambuofa slept, he dreamt that a source of water bursts out exactly on the spot he intends to dig the pit.
To a human point of view, the place intended for the well is totally unbeleivable for such thing as water to develop therein as the area is totally dried up. But all along, the two men just continue their task of digging until they reach the depth needed by Peter Ambuofa. Peter Ambuofa rewarded the men with each a Tafuliae and they left for their homes.
When the pit is completely digged, there was no possible sign of water seen at the bottom of the pit. The following night, Peter Ambuofa prayed and petition his God to bring about the source he dreamt of. Just after he offered the prayer and then went to have his rest, a great earth quake shook the land and stopped again in five minutes.
Early in the morning, Peter Ambuofa senT his daughter to check up the pit to see if there is any sign of water. As she ran to Gwaunatolo, where the well is dugged, to her amazement, she saw the water freely burstS and filled up the pit even to overflowing. For God had sent an earthquake that night and shook the hill and water freely flows. WHAT A MIGHTY GOD.
Few minutes after Peter Ambuofa had learnt that his God had given him the water, he then came to witness the sight. As he came up the hill, he could see the water overflowing and was about to wash the houses standing on the hillsides. Peter Ambuofa ordered the water to stop flowing but just remain to the top of the well. And thus, water reaches the brink of the well to this day.
 HIS LAST DAYS Just prior to the death of the Lords servant Peter Ambuofa on the 27th of March 1937, he sent words to his missionaries comrades serving in fields around Malaita.
With these he told them that his death and burial will be marked by an earth quake thus to again prove that the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob is an almighty God, and that he had set foot on the Island of Malaita and so he had prevailed over the forces of the wickedness and with the company of his servant Peter Ambuofa that God has won the battle over the "UTTERMOST". The sign of this earthquake was a token of devine pleasure and glorification of his servant. and secondly, that all his comrades would know that already he had departed to glory and be assured that the Almighty God who was with Peter Ambuofa will also continue to remain with them as he was with his servant Peter Ambuofa.
So Peter Ambuofa was departed to Glory on the 27th day of March 1937. As his coffin was lowered to the bottom of the pit, as it landed. The great promised earthquake shooked and that no one was able to stand. (The Earth quake shook for half an hour) The Earth Quake even dugged the earth covering the side of the pit to fall into the pit and then fill it right up.
This however, is a prove to the Church of God that his servant Peter Ambuofa has run the race set for him and that he has kept his faith he was entrusted. He has completed all he can to win the crown of Glory. For this he was glorified before many witnesses at his death.
GLORY, HALLELUJAH TO THE KING!!