Challenges facing our rural church project - Solomon Star News

Challenges facing our rural church project

21 January 2014
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Solomon Islands regards itself as a Christian nation.

Therefore every weekend we see churches being packed on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Church also provides an avenue where people can meet and fellowship together while thanking the Lord for His guidance all throughout the week.

Church also played an important part in promoting peace and harmony amongst people.

So everybody do recognise the importance of having a church in many of our communities.

In the Bible God said: “Build me a Sanctuary that I may dwell among you.” It’s a simple but powerful message to all of us as Christains with deeper meaning.

And because of that visit any of our communities around the country and you would see a church building standing in the heart of the village.

It got to show how church is very important to them.

In the urban centres we do also have a good number of church buildings which are big and built with top building materials.

Some of them look very fancy and by the look of it, its very costly to build.

I recently travelled to the Choiseul and Western province as part of my end year vacation.

That trip took me to Kolombangara, Choiseul, Vella La Vella, Ranoggah and Gizo.

And I have seen the challenges and struggles these communities have in trying to complete their church project.

My first stopover was at Iriri village, Kolombangara.

It was a Seventh Day Adventist community and they do have a church.

From the beach I can see a church standing and do realise the huge work and planning that has been done.

It took several years to kick off the construction of the building, I was told.

The church was made of cement.
However, from observation it needs more work to get the church completed before the congregation can use it.
I’m told, most of the roofing irons have been on site for sometimes and it’s a matter of getting people to help out putting up the roofing.

Hopefully, the church should be covered by the end of this year to allow work to continue on the cement flooring and other parts of the building.
Currently the villagers are still using their old church building to worship.

In Koa, South Choiseul, they also have a big church as well.
It was my second visit there and I have noted that there was not much work being done last year.

I first visited the village at the end of 2012 and during that year some of the volunteers from Patu, Ranoggah spent a week to help construct the church.
After that, very little was done.
I’m told the challenge is lack of manpower to support the church work.

In the village, most of the men and youths have left to look for jobs in the nearby logging operations while left for the urban centres to work and gain education.

So it’s a challenge for the very few men in the village to mobilise work.
A villager said, there only few adult men who are looking after the Church work so it’s a challenge for them to get some of the big works to be done.

So last year, there was not much work being done to cut timbers for the expansion of the church building.

While in South Choiseul I also visited another village called Gevala. They have a small church made of timber which was built a long time ago.
The is a need to build a new permanent church but because of less men they cannot do much work.

Travelling past the village of Katurasele, also in South Choiseul I realise they have been trying to build their new church.
Work on the project started few years back which also saw a team of volunteers from Australia traveling down to the village to help construct it.
However, work on the project has been halted due to some unknown reasons.

Lack of finance is said to be factor which slows down the project.

On my way back from South Choiseul with some friends and family members we made a brief stopover at Beiporo, a community situated at the east coast of Vella La Vella.
At Beiporo there was a church owned by United Church. By the look of it, the church was built many years back.
I was told there are plans to build a new church to allow the members to worship every Sunday in a much comfortable building.

However, they also face the challenge of securing funds to allow them to build a new church.
We walked further inlands and came across Beibangara Memorial SDA Church, which was built over ten years and was decided on 31st December 2013.
It was made of timber.

The members of the Beibangara Church said construction of a new church does not come cheap or easy because of the finance involved plus, the resources and labour.
But they are happy that the church has been completed with the help of some kind hearted people.

Following my trip and listening to the stories of the villagers, I came to realise the challenges face by many communities who are struggling to build a new church for themselves.

Two of the challenges they faced are finance and manpower.

This is same for many communities around the country who are trying to raise funds to build their own church.

To build a church you need finance to buy materials like timbers, roofing iron, paints, louvre, window frame, water tanks, solar lighting systems, cement and so forth.
These things does not come cheap.

Today there are communities who are still trying to complete their churches.

Some of them have resort to raising funds through singing, wheelbarrow drive and organising other fundraising activities.
Others have to launch an appeal for freewill offering from their family members, relatives and other churches of the same denomination.

Today the support by community through manpower is also slowing down.
If you announce on Sabbath or Sunday for people to turn up for work and help carry timber for the church, you would be lucky to get enough men.
This is because they have other obligations and work to do which would earn them money.

Sometimes appeal to some of the provincial and national leaders to support them have also turned negative.
So these are some challenges facing our rural communities today.
However, there are some communities which are fortunate to get some timely support which allowed them to complete their church building within three to five years.

Over the festive season we have seen and heard communities around the country who have completed and dedicated their churches.
As we continue to work and make money, lets not forget to support some of our church projects in our communities.
The more we give, the more blessing we will receive.
 
By MOFFAT MAMU

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