In Acts 3:22 For Moses said, the Lord your God will send you a Prophet just as he sent me and he will be one of your own People. You are to obey everything that he will tell you to do.
A native of Papua New Guinea, Pastor GODFREY ONPAYE WIPPON was one of the first batches of young vibrant correspondents working for Radio Australia PNG Service in Melbourne just after independence.
While serving there for three years he fell ill and began suffering from lobar pneumonia (collapsed lung) in 1981. The collapsed lung diagnosed by his doctors in Melbourne was severe with no cure through medication except its removal through an operation which wasn’t what Pastor Godfrey could wish for. His doctor told him he had only two years to live.
“Nothing was helping me. No medicine was doing me good. I went to see the priest of the Catholic Church I attended and he only directed me to the doctor. I thought he would pray for me so that the God he believed in would heal me,” Pastor Godfrey said.
“I was searching for an alternate therapy in both Australia and Papua New Guinea.”
His search for cure and healing brought him to someone who told him to turn to God. Though a devoted Catholic – his eventual turn to search for God landed him an invitation to attend a Revival Centre Fellowship in Melbourne on the 31st of May, 1981. This first meeting convinced Pastor Godfrey that there was more to believing the Word of God and actually being filled with the Holy Spirit speaking in other tongues and receiving healing as promised in God’s Word.
Being a sick man the last thing Pastor Godfrey wanted to do was to be obedient to the Word of God but he took that step by being baptised and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Little did he knew that the decision he made would change every aspect of the life he knew and everything he grew up with; his family, his entire village, its customs and traditions and most importantly his faith.
The good news of being born of the water and the Holy Spirit brought about a huge change in his life – a change that gave him a standing ovation of something he never dreamt of. It was a divine call to preach the Gospel to the lost and to the people who never heard the true Gospel salvation message of being born of the water and the Spirit.
Pastor Godfrey was healed by God and subsequently left Australia with his then wife (Helen) who was also baptised and received the Holy Spirit and together with his two children returned home to PNG.
He worked as a press publicity officer with the OK Tedi gold and copper mine (office) at Six mile in Port Moresby for a while and then he heard of his mother’s illness.
He traveled to his village of Karaite in Lumi, Sandaun Province at the end of August 1982 after thirteen (13) years away to see his mother and eventually to bring back with him that ray of light and hope that also changed the lives of his people.
Pastor Godfrey prayed over his mother who had been in a comma for a few days after suffering from cerebral malaria. The next morning she was completely healed. She woke up and went downhill to a water hole to collect water to do her washing – it was obvious God had healed her and she lived for another ten (10) years.
After witnessing and hearing of the miracle and following the Good News of being baptised by full immersion and receiving the Holy Spirit, many came to hear the Word of God. On September 1, 1982 the first nine people, eight male and one female, courageously stepped out of a stronghold Catholic territory and declared their new found faith by being baptised and received the Holy Spirit.
Their lives were changed and they began a new walk as the Word of God had promised. The nine (9), one female and eight males from the village of Karaite, Kumnate, and Eritei No.1 were: Edward Ripos Onpaye, Peter Arman Telpeki, Fabian Ramaka Telpeki, Matthew Meindo Telpeki, Daniel Tainkol Seiwo, Thaddeus Aitu, Alois Yalu, Carl Kaniombo and the only female Angela Weiki Kati (now Angela Waminan).
The first nine people laid the foundation of the now Pentecostal Revival Movement throughout Papua New Guinea and the inception of a powerful ministry with signs, wonders and miracles following.
Within just three months, news of the healing power of God spread like fire. Hundreds flocked in, the sick and the lame seeking answers to their predicament through the power of the good news of God, and 128 others also received the Holy Spirit.
What a Revival! As former parliamentarian, Gabriel Ramoi put it, “There is certainly a revolution in the Revival Centres. It is a spiritual and social revolution. Let’s pray that no human interference will disturb this great move of the Lord.”
The Revival Centres of Papua New Guinea which was known as the Niugini Revival in the early days was established on September 1, 1982 in Karaite. From then on it was no turning back for the now ever populous growing church made famous by its countless healings of diseases and illnesses medicine holds no cure to.
The church began to spread to other provinces. Poro in Aitape was the first village to establish a church in 1984 outside of Lumi and then in 1986 to 1987, it moved to Wewak, Lae, Onamuga in the Eastern Highlands Province, Mount Hagen and Vanimo.
With severe persecutions from the mainline churches after its inception with power in September 1982, nothing could stop the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as it spread throughout the country.
Pastor Godfrey’s stand against persecutions and sheer determination to preach the word of God boldly within the last 32 years certainly paid off.
Revival is now booming in this country as we continue to see an average of 220 people from all the provinces being converted weekly. It is spreading because it offers both physical and spiritual healing and there is now a real commitment to improvement and family life. The Fellowship now is in all the 22 provinces even in the remotest part of the country with 900 assemblies altogether. There are about 900 officers and their assistants administering the churches in each province.
The success of the Revival Centres of Papua New Guinea would be attributed largely to the signs, wonders and miracles among the people, and changes in the life of the people. A lot of people have been healed of various illnesses since the beginning including ulcers, cancers, HIV/AIDS, and leprosy. The lame walk, the blind see, and the dear hear and many others. The people testify of themselves.
Since the church’s inception in 1982 Pastor Godfrey has since been a real workaholic. He has worked tirelessly for the church to be where it is today. His vision for Papua New Guineans to be filled with the Holy Spirit was the fruits of his dedication and commitment for the last 32 years.
Pastor Godfrey recalls other church groups ordering him to stop preaching in their territories. And he usually replies, “If what I am preaching comes from man then it will fade and die away but if it comes from God – no man will ever stop it and it will continue to grow like wild fire.” (Acts 5:38-39).
True to his words – the church continues to grow in great numbers with Port Moresby as the largest assembly in Papua New Guinea and in the Revival Fellowship worldwide with over 4,000 people every Sunday meeting.
Despite the many occasions – when he was threatened, laughed and mocked at, called a conman, a false prophet and all sorts of names – he never gave up hope in the true God he believes. He always puts on a brave face coupled with his trademark smile.
Pastor Godfrey vividly recalls two of the most memorable events that he will never forget and that he saw the Lord really took charge of the situation.
The first one – in 1983, during their normal visits to help Pastor Godfrey with the growing church in the early days – three Australian pastors were ordered to leave and never to return to Papua New Guinea by government immigration officers and police in Vanimo and Lumi.
They claimed the Revival Fellowship was causing divisions among families in the Lumi and Aitape villages. Actually their aim was to stop the church from growing completely. Government officials acted upon complaints from already existing churches with the areas.
It was a heart-breaking moment for Pastor Godfrey and the newly established church when he said goodbye to the pastors at the Jacksons airport. That was to be the last and the PNG fellowship was never to see and hear from Australia again.
Pastor Godfrey went back to his people very sad but deep inside he knew that what he started was never his – it was God’s and that he will never let his people down. God was going to make things right.
But after only three years Australians were given the green light to continue their work with the church in PNG. And since then Australians have been attending PNG rallies, crusades, and camps every year in great numbers continuously granting their support.
Revival Centres of Papua New Guinea affiliates with the Australian Revival Fellowship. The Revival Fellowship has immensely supported Revival Centres of Papua New Guinea through its 32 years of existence in both cash and kind and it is through the extension of its faith as well that the Papua New Guinea fellowship continues to soar.
According to the Chairman of the Revival Fellowship worldwide and Senior Pastor of the Adelaide Revival Fellowship, Pastor John Kuhlman, the revival that followed Pastor Godfrey’s conversion in Melbourne in 1981 paved the way for the spiritual transformation of many individuals.
Pastor John said the positive impact on the local communities was very impressive. Men and women worked together to improve living conditions, hygiene and health in the villages. Pastor John had the privilege of making 12 trips to Papua New Guinea as guest of the Revival Centres of PNG. His first visit was to Lumi in 1987 where a strong revival church was already flourishing.
“I met many wonderful people whose lives had been transformed by the power of God. Many testified of miraculous healings and lives being changed after being baptised by full immersion and receiving the Holy Spirit with the Bible evidence of speaking in other tongues – Acts 2:4, 38″, he said.
Pastor John added that Australia and other parts of the world are inspired by the testimonies and faithfulness of our brethrens in Papua New Guinea.
Another incident – in 1986, Pastor Godfrey and some of his leaders and brethren walked two nights to the Sepik River to baptise a group of people at Makleri village but were threatened and turned away by Yakeltem villagers who belonged to the CBC church. The group had to retreat back to Karaite.
This did not stop the power of God from moving. Some months later the people themselves came out to Wewak and got baptised and received the Holy Spirit and went back to their village and established the church. Now its all revival.
Pastor Godfrey himself since the beginning has been conducting training in various provinces for young men, leaders, and pastors to keep up with the rapid growth of the church. The task was tough for one man to oversee a church that grew so rapidly in the last 32 years. But for Pastor Godfrey it has been the love, wisdom and humbleness of the Lord that gave him strength and courage to fulfill the great work that the Lord bestowed upon him.
God has continued to pour out His Holy Spirit until the return of the Lord Jesus as he promised and His Church will continue to grown no matter what.
Pastor Godfrey said he only preached the Word of God and it was up to the people to choose where they want to be. One of his famous saying is: Heaven or Hell; to live forever or to die forever; the choice is yours, no pressure.
From the beginning, he had only one vision and that was for Papua New Guinea to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That is one precious thing he holds at heart.
Today more than 100,000 people throughout Papua New Guinea are enjoying the benefits of paying attention to the salvation message of God and taking the step to repent, be baptised and be filled with the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:38.
What started in a small village high up on the mountains and among a people who know little about civilisation has definately been a powerful ministry with signs, wonders and miracles following confirmation.