Alumna/Alumnus of the Week – Nov. 4, 2017

Rev. Peniperite Fakaua

After completing his Masters of Divinity degree at Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary in 1992, Rev. Fakaua ministered in different capacities prior to his current assignment to the people of Papua New Guinea. At PNG he is Mission Advisor to both Melanesian Nazarene Bible College and Melanesian Nazarene Teacher’s College. He also serves as District Superintendent for both the Middle Ramu and Chimbu Eastern Highland districts of the Church of the Nazarene. Rev. Fakaua sees himself as someone in PNG to equip ministers, train pastors and develop church leaders both in the Bible college and in the two districts for which he has responsibility.

As a native Samoan who previously ministered in Fiji, Rev. Fakaua has much experience in cross-cultural ministry. His own family possesses a multi-cultural atmosphere, being married to APNTS alumna, Talisua Fakaua. He acknowledges, however, some difficulties in his current ministries. There are over 800 dialects in PNG, which allows missionaries to experience a rich cultural diversity, particularly among the tribes. “It is often said,” Rev. Fakaua notes, “that [PNG] is the Africa of the South Pacific.” The challenge thus, is for missionaries to understand the people’s perspective or, in his words, “the heart language” of the people. He faces this challenge every day.

Moreover, he deeply feels the need to communicate in people’s own vernacular. He narrates that in a matter of a few months upon arriving in PNG, he was delegated to teach and preach in the national dialect of Papua New Guinea, Tok Pisin, the most dominant of the three national languages which almost all native citizens in Papua New Guinea use in both speaking and writing. Nevertheless, amidst these challenges, Rev. Fakaua feels strong affection for the people of PNG. He embodies his own advice to others: “Be willing to be used by God in any culture and context as every man and woman has the basic need to see Christ being incarnated. God always uses a person with the mind of a scholar, the heart of a leader, and the hands of a servant.”

On top of his busy schedule as school administrator, district superintendent, and pastor, Rev. Fakaua is also a part of the regional Think Tank of the Asia-Pacific Region. The group meets under the guidance of regional missiologist Dr. Lynn Shmidt, and Regional Director Dr. Mark Louw, to discuss the missional and cultural issues that churches in Asia-Pacific nations face. Recently, on October 11, Rev. Fakaua, along with the other members of the Think Tank, shared their papers in a Missions Symposium held at APNTS. His presentation provided helpful insights to the delegates about how we might holistically respond to cultural challenges in the ministry.