News Release

“Blessed, honoured Pioneer!”- Papua New Guinea Saint’s Story

In 1980, Vaiba Rome was living with his wife, Mauveri, and three children at 2 Mile settlement in Port Moresby. That year Elder and Sister Campbell, a missionary couple from the USA, visited the settlement. The Campbells became acquainted with the children of the village, who liked to hold hands with them as they walked through the settlement. Naturally Mauveri wanted to know about these people who had befriended her children. She started talking to the Campbells; the Campbells started teaching the gospel; and soon Rome and Mauveri were baptised members of the Church.

Rome wanted to share his testimony with his parents, so he went to their village to tell them about the Church. They were active London Mission Society members, but they listened and were touched by the Spirit. Soon Rome's parents, uncles, auntie, three brothers and sister were baptized.

Then, however, life for the family became difficult.

Angry villagers shouted and threw stones at Rome's parent's home during sacrament meetings. Eventually persecutors broke into the home and smashed cupboards and possessions. They placed logs across the road to keep members from attending meetings, and they threatened to shoot Rome and his parents. Some of the early converts succumbed to persecution and left the Church out of fear, but Rome and his immediate and extended family bonded together and remained faithful. They knew the restored Gospel was more precious than life itself.

When Rome and Mauveri joined the Church, about twenty members were actively attending meetings at the Red Cross building in 3 Mile, a suburb of Port Moresby. In 1985, while serving as a Primary teacher, Rome was called to serve as the President of the Port Moresby Branch. In 1990 he was called as the District President, and in 1999 he became the first Papua New Guinean Stake President.

Today he serves as a counsellor to the Mission President and provides security for the Church. As the Port Moresby version of Ammon or Moroni, Rome protects the members, Church facilities, and visiting Church leaders, many of whom must travel to remote places in the country.

From those twenty members in 1980, the Church has grown to two stakes, twelve districts and one mission. About 2500 people join the Church each year in Papua New Guinea. Such growth would not be possible without the strength and courage of pioneers who laid a firm foundation of faith.

The saints of Papua New Guinea are thriving on the teachings of the Saviour. Most are a light to their communities and villages. Most got their light from pioneers like Vaiba Rome and his family.

(Rome and Mauveri are the parents of seven daughters and one son. Three daughters have served missions in Australia and New Zealand, and Elder Rome Jr. is currently serving a mission in Fiji.)


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