In Tahiti, Wilson Urges Spiritual Leadership
uthentic spirituality is at the core of the Seventh-day Adventist message, Ted N. C. Wilson, General Conferencepresident, said during an official visit with the leader of French Polynesia on February 8, 2013.
Wilson met with President Oscar Temaru and other French Polynesian government officials at the president’s office in Papeete, Tahiti, while on a tour of the South Pacific island groups.
President Temaru said he was grateful for the positive impact the Adventist Church has on French Polynesia, adding that Adventists are “good citizens.” Wilson, speaking in French, expressed appreciation for the religious liberty granted by the government of French Polynesia. As an overseas country of France, the island groups are given considerable autonomy, allowing for greater religious freedom than granted by laws in France.
Later in their conversation, Wilson illustrated the Adventist Church’s belief in wholistic living. Gesturing toward a table in the president’s office, he said, “When one leg is missing, the table can’t stand. Similarly, people need their spiritual, physical, mental and social needs met. We believe God wants us to develop all of these attributes in harmony.”
PRESIDENTS TOGETHER:Adventist world church president Ted Wilson (right) with the president of French Polynesia, Oscar Temaru, in Papeete, Tahiti. Wilson offered spiritual counsel and prayed with the national leader during the February 8, 2013, meeting.Earlier Wilson had met with Gaston Tong Sang, the mayor of Bora Bora and former president of French Polynesia. Sang later made the 45-minute flight to Tahiti to attend an Adventist worship and evangelism rally that ran February 7 to 9.
During his Sabbath sermon, Wilson urged an audience of close to 4,000 to prioritize spiritual development, citing the Old Testament story of Elijah, who advocated a return to godliness. “God is calling us to be Elijahs in our modern world,” Wilson said.
Local Adventist Church leaders credited the strong turnout to members who brought their friends and neighbors to the rally. There are about 4,600 Adventists in French Polynesia, spread over some 130 islands. The Seventh-day Adventist Church operates 37 churches in French Polynesia, as well as a college and a media center.
“This rally has been a profound blessing for us,” said Roger Tetuanui, president of the French Polynesia Mission. “It has brought our church family together. . . . But most important has been the spiritual impact of the messages. We feel unified and spiritually energized.”
—reported by James Standish, South Pacific Division, with Adventist News Network