South Pacific Division

Church Members Keep Their Faith Strong Despite Challenges in New Caledonia

Civil unrest has moved church services online as leaders call for Adventists to pray.

New Caledonia
Tracey Bridcutt, Adventist Record, and ANN Staff
New Caledonia in the South Pacific continues to face political unrest.

New Caledonia in the South Pacific continues to face political unrest.

(Photo: Adventist Record)

New Caledonia, an archipelago in the South Pacific, is experiencing the most difficult time in its history, according to Felix Wadrobert, president of the New Caledonia Mission of Seventh-day Adventists. His comments follow recent political unrest in the country that has resulted in loss of life, serious injuries, looting, and vandalism.

In a report to the New Zealand Pacific Union Conference administration, which oversees the church in New Caledonia, Wadrobert explained that around 200 houses and 600 vehicles have been burned, 600 businesses destroyed, and 7,000 jobs lost. “I don’t know yet how many church members have been hit by these terrible events,” Wadrobert said. “Wages for the first three months are guaranteed, but I can’t be certain about the rest of the year. The future looks bleak for most people.”

Church members have continued meeting online through the Zoom video conference platform, with their spirituality remaining unshaken, according to Wadrobert. He said while things are improving, distrust and fear are still apparent within the community. 

“Things are getting in place slowly. The main road from Nouméa to Tontouta Airport has been completely cleared,” Wadrobert reported. “However, the curfew is still in force and has been extended to 8:00 p.m. instead of 6:00 p.m. In some areas, we still have some difficulties to move about and around. When security and defense personnel come to clean the place, about half an hour later, [illegal] roadblocks are quickly set up again.”

The conflict has affected 500 students. Despite the current situation, schools are set to reopen once the premises have been cleaned up and cleared.

Obstacles on the road have prevented patients and health staff from getting to the hospital. Some health employees have been forced to sleep at the hospital, unsure whether their colleagues would relieve them after their shift.

Supermarkets are reportedly struggling to replenish their supplies as employers fear that their deliveries will be attacked.

Wadrobert said the New Caledonia Mission will organize a special offering next month to help families who are having a tough time. “That will be a small drop of water in the ocean, but it’s better to do something instead of doing nothing. The French Polynesia Mission is ready to help, according to their financial means, in the humanitarian project,” he said.

Adventist leaders and church members are encouraged to continue praying for the situation. “Please keep praying for this uncertain situation,” New Zealand Pacific Union Conference president Eddie Tupa’i said.

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.

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