Gapi Ravu

Photo courtesy of Thomas B. Davai.

Ravu, Gapi (d. 2007)

By Thomas B. Davai

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Thomas B. Davai, M.A. in leadership/administration (Avondale College, Corongbong, New South Wales, Australia) and B.A. in theology (Pacific Adventist University, Papua New Guinea). He is a Papua New Guinean by birth. He is also the former president of the Papua New Guinea Union Mission (2003-2010) and served as local church pastor, Mission and Union Mission departmental director, and local Mission administrator. Currently he is the director of Student Services, at Pacific Adventist University, Papua New Guinea. He was also awarded, by the Queen, a CMG (Order of Saint Michaels and St. George) presented by the Governor General in 2008 for outstanding service to the seventh day Adventist church and the community.

First Published: January 29, 2020

Gapi Ravu was the first Seventh-day Adventist minister from among the Aroma people of Papua.

Early Life and Family

Gapi Ravu’s father was very impressed by the children of missionary Meanou Peruka, who arrived at Pelegai village, Papua, in 1931. Gapi Ravu’s father, from Gaivakala village, approached Meanou and asked him to take his son back to Bisiatabu where Meanou previously had been stationed, to train him to read the Bible.1 When, in 1932, Meanou’s friend Galama Pau went to Bisiatabu, Gapi Ravu went with him. He was twelve years of age at the time.2

Ravu was married to Veru Gairo on March 30, 1942.3 They eventually adopted three children: Max, who was born on September 10, 1947; Marphy, who was born on June 6, 1950; and Ian, who was born on June 12, 1950.4

Career

Gapi Ravu was ordained at the Belepa-Vailala District meeting which commenced on Christmas day in 1950.5 He had been working in the northeast New Guinea Mission.6 For three years following his ordination, he worked in the Papuan Mission with headquarters in Port Moresby.7 Then, in 1954, with the organization of the Western Papuan Mission with headquarters at Daru, Papua, he and his good friend, Kila Galama, became mission administrators.8 Kila’s father Galama had died of a tooth infection at Tuberserai village in 1934. It was the village where Meanou Adventist message to the people of Aroma. Between 1954 and 1957, Kila Galama was the president of the West Papua Mission and Gapi Ravu was the secretary.9 Unfortunately, Kila Galama left church employment, but Gapi Ravu continued on until his retirement.10

In 1958, Gapi Ravu became a teacher at the Coral Sea Union Missionary College near Goroka.11 He taught Bible at Kabiufa College. His method of teaching was practical and he often accompanied his students on village visitations and preaching tours.12 He attended the Australasian Division session towards the end of 1958, staying in the home of John and Melva Lee in Queensland for a short time afterwards.13

In 1961, Gapi Ravu was back in Port Moresby as the assistant president of the Central Papuan Mission.14 During that year, he was one of a delegation of three who presented a petition to the administrator of the Papuan Territory requesting that no laws allowing the free use of alcohol be passed. The petition, with 3200 signatures, stated:

We, being native men and women of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, desire to let the Administrator know that we do not wish to drink any alcoholic liquor. . . We therefore appeal to the Administration not to make any laws that will bring about the free use of liquor.15

At the end of 1965, Gapi Ravu was appointed president of the East New Britain Mission in the Bismarck Solomons Union Mission with headquarters in Rabaul.16 He remained the president of that mission until 197117 when he returned to the Central Papuan Mission.18

Later Life and Legacy

Gapi Ravu served the church and the Lord with dignity, faithfulness, and a loyal heart. He was the first Papuan to be president of a local mission in the Bismarck Solomons Union Mission. He officially retired on December 31, 1978, after 43 years of service to the Church.19 After retirement, Gapi Ravu lived in Kupiano, Marshall Lagoon, Papua, until his death in the Port Moresby General Hospital on November 19, 2007.20 Veru Gapi died on November 1, 2016.21

Sources

Behrens, F. S. “Kokoda and Efogi Camp-Meetings.” Australasian Record, October 14, 1963.

“Brevities.” Australasian Record, December 1, 1958.

Brown, Rhyll. “Fifty-Two Languages: Two Churches.” Australasian Record, September 27, 1971.

Gapi Ravu Service Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives.

Gapi Ravu Sustentation Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives.

James, J. Ross. “Evolution of a Papuan President.” Australasian Record, November 8, 1954.

“People and Events.” Australasian Record, November 29, 1965.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1954-1979.

“Three Thousand Say ‘No’ to Drink.” Australasian Record, July 17, 1961.

Tinworth, C. W. “Balepa-Vailala District, Papua.” Australasian Record, February 12, 1951.

“We Are Proud of Our Island Apostles.” Australasian Record, December 15, 1958.

White, H. “Inaugural Executive Meeting, Coral Sea Union Mission.” Australasian Record, March 28, 1949.

Notes

  1. Personal knowledge of the author. Much of the information in this biography is written from the personal knowledge of the author as the former president of the Papua New Guinea Union Mission and colleague of Gapi Ravu.

  2. Gapi Ravu Sustentation Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Ravu, Gapi,” document: “Island Sustentation Beneficiaries.”

  3. Gapi Ravu Sustentation Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Ravu, Gapi,” document: “Island Sustentation Beneficiaries,” Gapi Ravu Service Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Ravu, Gapi,” document: “Personal Service Record.”

  4. Gapi Ravu Sustentation Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Ravu, Gapi;” document: “Sustentation Child Allowance Questionnaire, 2001.”

  5. C. W. Tinworth, “Balepa-Vailala District, Papua,” Australasian Record, February 12, 1951, 6.

  6. H. White, “Inaugural Executive Meeting, Coral Sea Union Mission,” Australasian Record, March 28, 1949, 4.

  7. “Papuan Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1954), 90.

  8. “Western Papuan Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1955), 73.

  9. J. Ross James, “Evolution of a Papuan President,” Australasian Record, November 8, 1954, 3-4.

  10. Personal knowledge of the author as the former president of the Papua New Guinea Union Mission and colleague of Gapi Ravu.

  11. “Coral Sea Union Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1958), 75.

  12. “We Are Proud of Our Island Apostles,” Australasian Record, December 15, 1958, 6-7.

  13. “Brevities,” Australasian Record, December 1, 1958, 8.

  14. “Central Papuan Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1962), 81; F. S. Behrens, “Kokoda and Efogi Camp-Meetings,” Australasian Record, October 14, 1963, 10.

  15. “Three Thousand Say ‘No’ to Drink,” Australasian Record, July 17, 1961, 16.

  16. “People and Events,” Australasian Record, November 29, 1965, 8.

  17. Rhyll Brown, “Fifty-Two Languages: Two Churches,” Australasian Record, September 27, 1971, 9; “East New Britain Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Association, 1972), 108.

  18. “Directory of Workers,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Association, 1973), 548.

  19. “Central Papuan Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Association, 1979), 108; Gapi Ravu Sustentation Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Ravu, Gapi,” document: “Island Sustentation Beneficiaries.”

  20. Gapi Ravu Sustentation Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Ravu, Gapi;” document: “Fax Message.”

  21. Personal knowledge of the author as the former president of the Papua New Guinea Union Mission and colleague of Pastor Gapi.

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Davai, Thomas B. "Ravu, Gapi (d. 2007)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed March 01, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7AZQ.

Davai, Thomas B. "Ravu, Gapi (d. 2007)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access March 01, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7AZQ.

Davai, Thomas B. (2020, January 29). Ravu, Gapi (d. 2007). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved March 01, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7AZQ.