Shining God’s light into the world can happen wherever you may be, whatever your skills, and whenever you least expect it. It may take years to see where God is calling you, where God wants you to shine his light. In the case of Sunshine Coast retiree Arthur Hall, it was a 62-year long journey […]
Shining God’s light into the world can happen wherever you may be, whatever your skills, and whenever you least expect it.
It may take years to see where God is calling you, where God wants you to shine his light. In the case of Sunshine Coast retiree Arthur Hall, it was a 62-year long journey that began when he was a nine-year-old boy. It was 1956 when his family moved to the Papua New Guinean paradise of Rabaul, a township on the island of New Britain.
Arthur’s father was posted to Papua New Guinea (PNG) as a magistrate, serving in a country that was a mandated territory of Australia until 1975.
Arthur fell in love with the place, enjoying an idyllic childhood of freedom, canoeing and fishing for tuna and Red Emperor near the wharves in the town’s renowned harbour, and also out from nearby Matupi Island, where his dad had some local friends. ‘It was a wonderful place to grow up’, Arthur reminisces.
He returned to Australia for his secondary schooling, as a boarder at Brisbane’s St Peter’s Lutheran College, Indooroopilly, which set a foundation for his Christian faith journey.
After school, Arthur remained in Australia, developing a career at the now-defunct Ansett Airlines as a customer services officer.
However, who would have imagined that his childhood connection to PNG would lead Arthur, now aged 73, to accept an opportunity to share his God-given talents in the country of his youth.
It was a notice in the LCA International Mission publication Border Crossings in late 2016 and early 2017 that kept niggling at him. The notice called for a volunteer to help train volunteers for the Lutheran Radio station in Lae, PNG.
Fortuitously, Arthur had spent the past 30 years producing and hosting Christian radio programs on Caboolture Community radio station 101.5, in Queensland, as a volunteer!
Despite seeing the PNG volunteer notice repeatedly over several Border Crossings editions, he finally picked up the phone and discussed the opportunity with the LCA International Mission Program Officer Nevin Nitschke.
Arthur had begun volunteering in broadcasting after being interviewed by the Caboolture station about his role in the Fellowship of Christian Airline Personnel, a multi-denominational global group. He had become involved with the fellowship through work years earlier in Brisbane. He helped organise annual South Pacific Conferences in Brisbane and PNG in the 1990s, which had attracted the interest of the Caboolture Christian community radio station.
‘The enthusiastic hostess then suggested I get involved, so over the next 30 years I hosted Christian programs on Caboolture 101.5’, he says.
This experience provided his mission opportunity in November 2017, when Arthur travelled to Lae in PNG for two weeks to lead staff training sessions at the Lutheran radio facility located at the Martin Luther Seminary.
Through Kristen Radio 89.1, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea is ‘the voice of the gospel’ in Lae, shining the Christian message to the people of Morobe Province.
‘What a privilege it has been for me to be able to serve God and the people involved with the radio program at the communications centre at Martin Luther Seminary at Lae’, Arthur says.
‘On taking on the role I had assumed there was a good band of volunteers to join in the workshop. However apart from Joyce a young lady, Pastor Sanang, who does morning devotions, and Dumu the Bishop’s secretary and evening programmes presenter, the station relied on the services of four men, Don, Meil, Benjamin, and Henry – pastors who have now graduated from the seminary and gone into various congregations.
After urgent prayer, two young gentlemen Richard and Nathan, and a young lady Basileia came forward. Joyce interviewed them on air, and they were keen to join in the workshop.
Late Friday afternoon another young lady Filima also joined in.
So Saturday morning saw a group of 16 for the morning service, followed by a brilliant session on voice projection led by Christine Boksch. I presented on preparation and scripting. A brain-storming session then concluded the days sessions prior to a time of prayer.
Sunday we were able to start a little later and Thorsten Kraft (the driving force behind the station at this time) explained some of the technical requirements. Joyce led a session on do’s and don’ts and I followed with some role playing in presenting and interviewing.
We brought the weekend to a close with a celebratory meal at the Lutheran Guest house at Ampo (ELC-PNG headquarters), with participants receiving a certificate and being congratulated by the Church Secretary.
The workshop was a productive, challenging and interesting time.
Although we had not mentioned any ongoing needs, Thorsten and I were delighted when we got to the station Monday morning, to see young people, Richard and Filma already there and doing a great job.
With God’s assistance I believe the station will go from strength to strength.’
Arthur was supported to undertake the mission trip by the prayers and financial support of the Lutheran congregation of St Paul’s at Caboolture, for which he is greatly appreciative.
The grandfather of 11 – who are spread from Mackay, about 1000 kilometres north of Brisbane, to Eildon in north-west Victoria – feels so blessed with the experiences he’s had. ‘How great is our God’, Arthur reminds us. ‘He blesses so much more than we can ever imagine.
‘The Lord has given me an amazing life and I am so blessed.’
If you would like to consider the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to http://www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/volunteer/
Read more stories about volunteering at www.lcamission.org.au/category/join-gods-mission/volunteers/