Although Saia Vea would not see himself as a ‘pioneering church planter’, Adventist leader in Western Australia, Glenn Townend, has recently spent a weekend with him in remote Newman – and witnessed some dynamic things happening. There are now three Adventist church groups meeting each weekend.
On Friday night, a group of Tongans meet for worship, Bible study, songs and prayer – all in the Tongan language. Saia is a Tongan and all of the 21 Tongans in Newman asked him to lead in a culturally sensitive worship for them. An average of ten meet in his house each week – and, they always share a meals together as well.
On Saturday mornings Saia opens up a local child care neighborhood centre very close to the shopping centre in Newman. This is a place where the members feel comfortable in inviting their friends to. Worship is informal but includes, songs, giving, Bible message and discussion for all ages.
On Saturday afternoon the local Mardu people worship. They used to meet in the indigenous meeting hall just out of town at Parnpujina, however buildings and chairs are not the preferred worship style of these desert aboriginal people. Saia discovered that they love the bush and so they meet in dry river beds, at water holes and in the bush on the edges of town. Their people can have a fire, sing and hear a Bible message. Participation has increased as the people meet in the bush.
Six years ago there were no Adventist groups in Newman. Now there are 3 and all of them are meeting a need and growing. Glenn says, ‘Saia’s has listened to the needs of the various people groups in the area and has opened up God’s kingdom to people.’