A group of five young men from the Olgai Walile tribe in Imbonggu District, Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea, publicly gave up their addiction to marijuana and were baptized on August 26, 2023.
According to Ismheal Kera, team leader and community advocate, the young men were heavily addicted to smoking marijuana and used to cultivate the plant alongside other crops in their backyards and gardens.
After making the decision for baptism, the group decided to burn their marijuana crops. The burning was a public event, witnessed by their community, including church members, the local police force, and friends, some of whom also used marijuana.
Impacted by the group’s initiative, some of their friends who witnessed the burning event have also chosen to leave their addiction and be baptized, with a ceremony planned for September 16—World Pathfinder Day.
The baptism on August 26 was a direct result of a year-long program run by the Kerenda Seventh-day Adventist Church. The initiative, part of the World Church’s Total Member Involvement (TMI) program, focused on small group evangelism.
Now, as official members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the group is “focused on receiving theopneustos [i.e., God’s inspired word]” and is “committed to make faith a constant part” of their lives.