Thursday, 9 October 2008 8:14 AM

Local Spiritual Leader Salutes Australian Missionary

Head of the South Seas Evangelical Church (SSEC), Reverend Eric Takila has praised Australia for one of its fine missionaries who contributed to the spiritual and social development of Solomon Islands.

The female missionary, Florence Young is a teacher who Christianized many Melanesians working in Queensland's sugarcane farms in the 1800's.

Soon after their return to Solomon Islands, the Melanesians taught by Florence Young spread the gospel among their own people and later created what is now the South Seas Evangelical Church.

Reverend Takila said Florence Young sailed rough seas to the Solomons to assist her former students and contributed to the SSEC educational sector. One of her legacies is the Florence Young Christian School operated by the SSEC Education Authority in Honiara.

Speaking during the re-enactment of the arrival of the Gospel here in Bundaberg on Monday, Reverend Takila said his group's return to Australia this week is to share the love of Christ.

"We would like to let Australians know that we the descendants of the Kanaka's have returned with memories of the past with the love of Christ in our hearts." "We are so ever thankful to Florence Young who planted the seed of Christianity in our hearts and the great harvest today," he said.

The re-enactment of the origins of SSEC at the banks of Burnet River in Bundaberg was witnessed by dignitaries including the Solomon Islands Governor General Sir Nathaniel Waena and Federal Member of Parliament Hon Paul Neville.

Around two hundred pilgrims from SSEC communities in Solomon Islands joined other Christians from PNG, Vanuatu, South Sea Islands descendants and Australian indigenous people this week in an International Prayer and Cultural Festival here in Bundaberg.

With the theme "Awakening The Nations", the Festival is aimed at motivating corporate prayer for the revival of nations and to equip the Church to preach the gospel without fear.

The program which concludes on Sunday will also involve display of various Melanesian cultures from Solomon Islands, PNG and Vanuatu.