Recently John O’Malley returned from a visit to the Solomon Islands. He was accompanied by a young man named Michael Deatrick. Michael Deatrick is a rising senior at Ambassador Baptist College.
Early on in Brother Deatrick’s academic experience, he sought out Brother O’Malley to share his calling to the Solomon Islands. God called Brother Deatrick to the Solomon Islands while he was a counsellor at a summer camp. A missionary shared a presentation to the junior age campers about places in the world that needed a missionary. On the last day of camp, the missionary spoke of the Solomon Islands. It was then God called Michael to go to the Solomon Islands.
Last year, Brother Deatrick spoke to Brother O’Malley about taking a survey trip to the Solomons. Plans were made that Brother Deatrick, his Pastor, and Brother O’Malley would go and see the field of Brother Deatrick’s calling.
The Solomon Islands are found 7,700 miles from the USA. Nine hundred and ninety-two islands make up this archipelago, spreading across 11,000 square miles of the ocean. The population of these islands is over 500,000 people. Throughout the Solomons, you will hear 70 languages spoken by 11 different people groups. Over half the nation’s population is under 24 years of age.
Those who study history will remember the strategic battles and tragic loss of life on the Solomon Islands during World War II.
The spiritual history of the Islands is a story woven with threads of Divine Providence. Each weave of God’s hand demonstrates how God mobilized people at the right moment to be in the right place to reach Solomon Islanders with the Gospel.
The first spiritual marker in the history of the Solomon Islands begins with a lady named Florence Young. In the late 1870’s, Florence became burdened for the lost Melanesian men on her brother’s plantation in Australia. She led many Islanders to Christ. It was the desire of Florence to see these men return to the Solomon Islands and evangelize their own people.
God opened a door for Florence Young to serve in China along with Hudson Taylor. She served there for six years, until the onset of the Boxer Rebellion. Florence returned to her first work in Australia on her brother’s plantation. While back in Australia, she received a letter from one of the Solomon Islanders she had won to Christ. His name was Peter Ambuofa.
When Peter left Australia, he had returned to Malaita, his home island in the Solomon Islands. He soon began evangelizing those who thirsted for Living Water. Peter Ambuofa’s evangelistic work needed help, so he wrote Florence Young to request assistance. Peter wrote on a piece of burlap sack this message: “Come, help me. Peter Ambuofa.” He handed the note to a worker headed to Australia that Peter knew would meet Florence Young.
God used Peter’s letter to encourage Florence to go to Malaita. God also used George Muller, who was visiting Australia at this same time, to encourage Florence Young to go to help the Malaitans. Muller told Florence Young he would help her.
Although it has been more than a hundred years since God sent the first wave of missionaries to the Solomon Islands, God is preparing His next worker to go to the Solomon Islands.
Dr. Tim Meyer, an American missionary to Australia, has made 18 trips to the Solomons from his church planting ministry in Queensland. His church has started a work on Guadalcanal in Honiara. Brother Meyer will assist Brother Deatrick in Malaita with contacts and advice. Brother Meyer also came to help Brother Deatrick on his survey trip.
There is a work that must be done on Malaita. The churches originally begun as a result of Florence Young’s effort still exist today. Sadly, the influences of modernism, untrained leaders, charismatic theology, and other cultural influences have marred the integrity of their doctrine and practice.
Just two days before Brother Deatrick left Malaita, something took place that captured the very essence of the need for Brother Deatrick to return to the Solomon Islands. In a village outside of Auki, a Muslim group endeared themselves to the Christians. They began to preach a message that Christianity was false. They preached that Christianity was filled with liars and hypocrites. The villagers then burned down their own village church in support of Islam.
The lack of Bible preaching and teaching in the villages, and the lack of trained men who know the Word of God, make vulnerable the Solomon Islanders to Islam, Charismatics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and any others who seek to lead people astray.
Please pray for Brother Deatrick as he graduates from Ambassador Baptist College, completes the application process with WWNTBM, begins deputation, and gets married. Should you wish to encourage Brother Deatrick, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.