On the 26th of this month November, will mark 150 years since the Missionaries of the London Missionary Society arrived in Poreporena village with the Gospel.
The day will be significantly remembered for the remarkable transformation of the village from hostility to peacefulness as the villagers accepted the arrival of the missionaries with the gospel and the ensuing settling of Christianity.
A week-long program of celebration has been organized in Poreporena involving the United Church congregations in Hanuabada, Elevala, and Gabi.
The villagers through the celebration will remember and honor the heroic efforts of the missionaries from Rarotonga to bring the gospel to the village and the compassion of the local villagers.
This will see, Lakani Toi of Hanuabada who will accept and defend the missionaries into the village, Raga Tola of Elevala, in providing land to settle the missionaries in the village and Arua Daera of Hanuabada, who was converted as the first deacon and evangelist to help with the spread of the Good News.
The Missionaries from the Cook Islands led by Ruatoka Koro and wife plus others, were assigned on a mission by the London Missionary Society to sail to Papua to spread the word of God and to establish their mission.
150 years later since that memorable day, Poreporena village has become a significant part of the early beginnings of London Missionary Society in Papua and the establishment of government and later in the transition to the United Church era of which it remains a stronghold to this day.
The weeklong celebration of this significant occasion is led by the London Missionary Society 150th Anniversary Committee headed by the Poreporena Circuit.
Committee Chairman, Dk Frank Guba, said the occasion is important to the three villages of Hanuabada, Elevala and Gabi comprising Poreporena to reflect on the events that unfolded 150 years ago, the benefits that have transpired over time for the people and the lessons learned going forward.
“We are fortunate to have reached this milestone and we want to reflect on the last 150 years.”
“This occasion is very significant to all of us to remember the great deeds of these noble men and women of God and their selfless sacrifices to bring the Good News to our part of the world and the ensuing benefits to our society that unfolded.”
The celebrations will include an official opening and closing ceremonies at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium with water activities including fishing, peroveta signing, traditional dances, Island Nights, Choir, Gospel, String Band, and Bible Dramas to take place during the week.
In addition, Guba said that the spectacle of the opening ceremony will be the re-enactment of the arrival of the missionaries and the reception by the villagers.
A special Cook Island night dedicated to Cook Island songs and dances is organized in honor of the Rarotonga missionaries.
He further added that unlike past London Missionary Society celebrations in the village, this anniversary program will be more special to arouse interest in the younger generation of the history involved to determine the future.
Meanwhile, guests from the government and church circles are invited to participate in the celebrations including guests from Rarotonga to signify the major role their ancestors played in bringing the gospel to Poreporena.