By Alfredo P. Hernandez

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 2) - The traditionally skeptical villagers in Kananam on the outskirts of Madang are gradually turning their ears to the Words of God in an outreach ministry being carried out by a local canning company.

Pastor Romeo B. Degolacion said the number of youths and adults who join the weekly outreach ministry is increasing, as they wanted to know more about the story of the Holy Bible and learn new Gospel songs and prayers. 

RD Tuna Canners launched the ministry just recently alongside a sports development program for the village youths. 

Likewise, the ministry is also witnessing an increasing number of children who have enjoyed learning new games, songs and listening to the Bible story, said Pastor Degolacion.

Kananam is a community comprising the villages of Savolon, Tavei, Molo, Kaguz, Dumusek, Ulimal, Migaspanai, Iduan Island and Kananam Bigples with over 3,000 people, 60 per cent of which are youths. 

It is here where RD Tuna's new huge tuna canning factory will soon rise just next to the existing company wharf and cannery cold storage facilities.

Pastor Degolacion said the ministry is also an opportunity for company staff to carry out regular medical mission in the village to see what could be done to various health problems afflicting the people.

The pastor said he has learned a lot about the customs and traditions of various Kananam clans, adding that they were "highly anticipating" the coming of a new cannery in Kananam because of the jobs it would provide to many of the villagers.

Despite certain opposition from some villagers, the youths themselves are fighting for the ministry to go on, Pastor Degolacion said, adding, "they would removed roadblocks along the way to allow us to reach the target villages".

He said they are winning the support mostly from village elders who want the company to continue its sports program for the youths, the most popular of which is soccer. 

Recently, the company sponsored an Independence sports tournament for the Kananam youths.

Pastor Degolacion said they have lined up several money-earning jobs for them such as grass cutting around the company property to help raise funds for their sports activities.

October 3, 2003

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/


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