News Release

“...and their names were taken that they might be … nourished…” (Moroni 6:4)

In May, 2011, President Meliula Fata, of the Papua New Guinea Port Moresby Mission, travelled seven hours by dinghy to Sogere, PNG. While there he participated in the teaching and baptizing of 114 investigators. The baptismal service was unique in its setting and in its blessings of safety.

President Fata had created the Sogere District in November, 2010, with 995 members. Within six months membership in the eight new branches had grown to 1600. In May, 2011, President Fata returned to Sogere for a District Conference. Three weeks earlier, he had sent four missionaries there to teach and baptise investigators who were being fellowshipped by the members. By the time President Fata arrived, the missionaries had baptised 72 people.

Some members travelled days to get to the conference, Some brought more investigators, many of whom had been attending Church meetings for several months. After two days of teaching, 114 additional men, women and children were committed to baptism.

However, by that time it was 6:00 PM on President Fata's final day in the Western Province. In the evening river water is too shallow for baptisms, and crocodiles are more likely to attack. Gathering his Elders and priesthood leaders together at 4:30 the next morning, President Fatu began the ordinances.

Villagers with torches, spears, axes, bush knives, and bows and arrows waded into the muddy river to surround the "font" area, keeping watch for the predatory crocks. Others in canoes patrolled the deeper water.

All had to struggle in and out of the water through knee deep mud. Elders, their shoes removed and their trousers rolled up, performed the confirmations on the riverbank.

At 8:00 AM, the work completed, President Fata and his missionaries climbed into the dinghies and waved farewell to the Saints lining the banks. Some of their journey would be on the open seas, and always there would be danger.

Nevertheless, by their faith, a miracle had been wrought in Sogere; and by that same faith, they would reach Daru in safety and catch their flight back to Port Moresby

Note: These members and people in surrounding communities had been severely affected by the cholera epidemic in May, 2010. The Church flew in doctors, supplies and other aid, which resulted in many lives being saved and the abatement of the epidemic.


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