“Say YES to Jesus and NO to drugs for forever”.
That was the slogan thought up by a group of 52 marijuana users who publicly renounced their drug addiction at an Adventist evangelistic meeting in Papua New Guinea in January.
The program, held at Gumanch in the Dei District of the Western Highlands Province, attracted some of the most infamous drug addicts in the region.
Among them was an elderly man known as “Fatherman”, who served as the group’s team leader. During the weeklong program, “Fatherman” gave up his notorious nickname as a symbol of his newfound faith. He is now known as William.
William commended the local Adventist church and guest speaker Solomon Kewa for recognising the young men as people of value.
Local community councillors and chiefs were on hand to support the recovering drug addicts, encouraging them to “[not] let drugs lower your self-esteem”.
“You are worthy. Your families, church, community, province and country needs you,” they added. “Above all, God loves you.”
All of the 52 former drug addicts are currently attending the local Adventist church.
The success of the program has captured the attention of Papua New Guineans across the country, with a story on the evangelistic series featured in the January 23 issue of the Post Courier.