By George Miller on Sep 19, 2011
On Sunday, August 28, 2011, I was sitting in the Honiara Zion Church as the worship team was singing and getting prepared for the worship service to begin. I felt a prompting from the Lord that I should go to the new-start church at White River.
The White River church is a daughter church of the Zion church. Pastor Osborn, the district Nazarene Missions International president and family, and a high school teacher at Zion named Salome, and her family, were the ones who had the vision for this church.
This church was started among the children and with a special focus on prayer. The children’s ministry at the White River church is called the “Heavenly Kids” ministry. They began meeting under a makeshift tabernacle beside Pastor Osborn’s house, until one day a strong wind tore the plastic tarp that they used for the roof. After that incident, they moved the church to an incomplete building nearby that has a cement floor and roof, but no walls. They have been renting that for a modest amount of money for a few months now. The attendance has really grown -- they are now running 70 or more children plus a few adults.
These kids are really on fire for the Lord. Every Saturday evening the pastor and a large group of his “Heavenly Kids” prayer warriors walk up the nearby “prayer” mountain for a time of prayer in preparation for the Sunday service. The children are ministering to their parents, praying for them, witnessing to them, and encouraging them to attend the service. The church without walls is perfect for this, as the parents who are beginning to attend feel unworthy to come into the church building, so they attend by sitting in another open outbuilding nearby to listen to the service.
One of these parents is Elizabeth, who started attending a few weeks ago. Her daughter Margaret, who is 8, became involved in the Heavenly Kids ministry and began to talk to her mother. So Elizabeth joined her daughter and came to church for the first time in 42 years.
Elizabeth has never been to church since she was a small child. While she was there, she heard the message preached by Dickson Manongi, a layman from the Zion church. She responded to the altar call and began her spiritual journey.
The Sunday that Nancy and I attended was about two weeks after Elizabeth's salvation, so the mother was just two weeks young in her walk with the Lord. The Saturday night before we attended, Elizabeth wanted to go with the children to the prayer mountain. But she still had some spiritual bondage from her past life.
As they went up the mountain, the demon inside of her revealed itself. She lashed out at Pastor Osborn and he had a swollen lip to show for it. Osborn said he believed the demon tried to kill him. The children were afraid and ran away.
Osborn, calling upon the name of Jesus, cast out the demon. The children then witnessed the transforming power of God. So the morning of our visit, Elizabeth shared this story and her testimony that she is now free. Pray for these children and their unsaved parents, as there are many like Elizabeth who are under spiritual bondage and need deliverance.
Pastor Osborn told me that his house is like a clinic where people come requesting his prayer. The congregation are witnessing many miracles, as people are being saved, healed and delivered. The Lord is at work in the White River community. Pray for this church. They have two from the community volunteering at our Zion school, as they have a plan to start an early childhood school in White River to teach the children how to read.
Recently the church gave their Alabaster Offering and Osborn brought me the offering of nearly $350 (US $70). One boy, Tautau, brought a heavy box of coins to put in the offering. When counted, the coins totaled $107 (SBD). Tautau had been saving the coins for a long time, but heard the pastor give the Alabaster appeal and wanted to give this collection to Jesus.
Tautau (pictured left) is a natural leader and so enthusiastic about the things of God. Before the Zion church started the White River church, these children were all unreached. Tautau was gloriously saved at a combined children’s camp [Zion and White River].
Recently they held a fundraising night with light refreshments, coffee and entertainment to try to raise some funds to help their outreach as well as to minister to and reach the un-churched. For the entertainment, the Heavenly Kids sang and some of the children gave their testimonies.
It is one thing to give your testimony in the church to your Christian family, but quite different to share your testimony when your unsaved family are present. I was sitting toward the front and so did not notice Tautau's family’s reaction, but as he shared about his life before his salvation, he paused and said to his family, “You can laugh, but this is the truth.” He shared a powerful testimony of how Christ changed his life.
Pray for Tautau, the “Heavenly Kids” and the White River Community.
-- George and Nancy Miller are global missionaries for the Church of the Nazarene in the Solomon Islands.
Talk about it
- Missionary George Miller says that he felt God prompting him to visit the White River church. What practices can a believer engage in to prepare one's heart to sense when God whispers a direction like this?
- How many people were involved in planting the White River church, and who are they?
- The church plant is primarily made up of and led by children. What does this tell you about children, and the roles they are capable of having in a congregation?
- The White River church members spend time in focused prayer every Saturday night. Why do you think they do this, and what are some of the benefits of this discipline?
- Why do you think these children have such a spiritual influence on their parents and families? What does this tell you about the potential of the children in your church to be involved in missions and evangelism?
- Miller says the church is experiencing many miracles, healing and deliverance. What role does prayer have in this moving of the Holy Spirit?
- How could your congregation similarly establish the regular discipline of corporate prayer?
- Pray for God to work powerfully in your congregation and community, and that he will particularly empower the children in your church for participating in His mission to the world.