By MALUM NALU
St Andrew’s Lutheran Church at Ampo, the oldest surviving building in Lae which just last month celebrated its 80th anniversary, had a momentous occasion on Sunday, Nov 17 when 81 young people were confirmed.
The young men and women – mainly from the Ahi villages of Butibam, Hengali and Wagang – were confirmed in front of a full house crowd of relatives and friends, who later exchanged customary gifts of food.
|The young people line up to be congratulated outside the church on Sunday, Nov 17.-Pictures by MALUM NALU|
A number of female boarding students from nearby Busu High School also attended.
Congregation pastor, Sakaria Malalek, said the occasion was like a light as the Word of God shone on the darkness of ongoing social problems in the Ahi community and Lae as a whole.
|Customary gifts of food baskets being exchanged outside the church.|
“It shows that Christianity is alive and well, even though there are so many problems in the community,” he said,
“It is indeed a great day.
“It makes my job easier as I am like a shepherd with good sheep within the St Andrew’s congregation and in the villages.”
|Pastor Sakaria Malalek with Lepung Nawatz, Jimmy Nalu and Juanita Gamoga.|
|Lepung Nawatz with proud parents Goromp and Alison.|
|Lepung Nawatz, Juanita Gamoga and Jimmy Nalu with proud parents Goromp and Alison.|
|Yours truly with nieces Lepung Nawatz and Juanita Gamoga.|
Malalek, from Buang in Bulolo and a fresh graduate of Martin Luther Seminary, started his confirmation classes every Tuesday and Thursday since February this year.
The church, built in its present form in 1933, it is the only pre – war building in Lae and the timberwork still bears many bullet scars.
During the war, it served as a Japanese hospital when its custodians from Butibam village fled into the foothills on the far side of the Busu River.
A bush material chapel was built at Ampo in 1912 by pioneer German missionary, Gottfried Schmutterer, and the first baptism took place on October 20, 1912.
Timber from Bukawa was put on the ship Bavaria and brought to Lae on Feb 11, 1933.
They started building the church on March 4, 1933, with dedication being on Oct 8, 1933.