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Jugha and Vela (left) on their wedding day with two other wedding couples.

Photo courtesy of Milton Hook. From the collection of Harold B. P. Wicks held by Jennifer (Wicks) Steley, Sydney, NSW.

Jugha (c. 1897–1976)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

First Published: January 29, 2020

Some reports depict Jugha as a slave boy, even a candidate for human sacrifice in the pre-Christian society of the Solomon Islands. His peers deny this melodramatic portrayal, claiming he was simply adopted into the family of Chief Tatagu.1 His mother was identified as living at Vuvuruana on the eastern edge of Vagunu Island, within the precincts of Marovo Lagoon.2 He was a stocky lad with an infectious smile, born about 1897.3

When Griffiths Jones first sailed the Advent Herald into the Marovo Lagoon in 1914, Pana and his adopted brother, Jugha, were the first to speak to Jones and direct him to their chief.4 When Jones established a little school at Sasaghana the first class included Jugha. He was also among the first group to be baptised, January 1, 1918.5

Mission service

Jones acquired a new vessel christened Melanesia, and Jugha was recruited as one of the four crewmembers.6 In the meantime, Pana was making remarkable progress establishing a mission station at Mondo on Ranonnga Island in the New Georgia Group. In 1921 Jugha was appointed to assist him.7 It proved to be a relatively brief assignment of approximately eight months but Pana instructed Jugha in the conventions of a model mission station. Later, he employed the Mondo model wherever he pioneered throughout the Solomons.

Some villagers on Choiseul made repeated requests for a Seventh-day Adventist missionary to be sent to their island. Late in 1921, Jugha was chosen to pioneer the area. The Choiseul people were traditional enemies of the Marovo tribes in the head hunting days, but they promised they would care for Jugha.8 Jugha won their hearts, learned their language, and soon established a thriving station at Ghoghombe. In a short time other tribespeople further along the coast asked for missionaries and Nangaha and Kioto were engaged to work under Jugha’s guidance.9 Later, Gorupava and Manovaki joined his team, opening the east coast of Choiseul Island.10

For five years Jugha served on Choiseul without a break and was then granted a furlough back at Marovo Lagoon. One report says this was the time he was ordained at Batuna,11 but it was not acknowledged in denominational magazines until 193912 and in the SDA Year Books in 1941.13 During this four months furlough at home in 1926 he married Vela Vido. Together they transferred to pioneer the island of Guadalcanal, first at Kopiu and later at Bokokimbo.14 Once again his efforts met with outstanding success. Some of his Choiseul converts went to assist him and train as missionaries themselves. It was during this term, in 1929, when Jugha was delighted to have a visit from his spiritual father, Griffiths Jones.15 In 1939 he completed his term of service on Guadalcanal.

The Second World War was underway when Jugha was appointed to open the first Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) mission station on the island of Santa Isabel.16 He established a base at Bugotu and remained there throughout the difficult years of military occupation until about 1950.17 After the War he pioneered yet another island, San Christobal at Maru Bay.18 About 1953 he returned home to minister at Buini church in the Marovo Lagoon19 and in 1954 retired to Sasaghana where his Christian journey had begun. Occasionally he would lead the worship services but in the last decade of his life he increasingly suffered with heart disease. He died at Manabusu village on December 30, 1976. Vela's passing is variously reported as October 1987, January 20, 1988, and November 20, 1988.20

Retrospect

Jugha’s forte was evangelising new regions in the Solomon Islands. He pioneered Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Santa Isabel and San Christobel. Small in stature, he stood tall in the eyes of his own people and the expatriate missionaries.

Sources

Anderson, Guinevere. "Organization of a Church in the Solomon Islands," Australasian Record, November 14, 1921.

[Anderson, John D. and Guinevere M.]. “To Melanesia With Love.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, August 18, 1980.

Hay, D[avid] E. “Pastor Jugha – Pioneer Missionary.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, February 27, 1978.

Jugha Work Service Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, Wahroonga, NSW. Work Service Records, Folder: Jugha. Document: "Jugha Work Service Records."

Lee, C[harles] M. “Four Young Men from Choiseul.” Australasian Record, August 13, 1928.

Moulds, H.G. “Onward in the Solomon Islands.” Australasian Record, January 16, 1950.

Pana, Barnabas. “The Passing of a Warrior for God.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, November 7, 1977.

Pana, Barnabas. “Appreciation.” Australasian Record, March 6, 1939.

Piper, A[lbert] H. “Itinerating in the Solomons – Part 1.” Australasian Record, July 15, 1935.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association. Years 1923-1970.

Stewart, A[ndrew] G. “A Visit to the Solomon Islands.” Australasian Record, June 20, 1927.

Stewart, A[ndrew] G. “Our Visit to the Solomon Islands.” Australasian Record, June 3, 1929.

Stewart, A[ndrew] G. “From Langalanga Lagoon, Malaita, Solomon Islands.” Australasian Record, August 14, 1939.

Turner, W[illiam] G. "What Hath God Wrought?” Australasian Record, August 27, 1923.

Tutty, R[obert] H. “Snapshots of Native Ministry in Solomons and New Guinea.” Australasian Record, June 14, 1943.

Wicks, H[arold] B. P. “Our First Visit to the Ranonga Mission, Solomon Islands.” Australasian Record, April 4, 1921.

Wicks, H[arold] B. P. “Choiseul, Solomon Islands.” Australasian Record, January 9, 1922.

Wicks, H[arold] B. P. “Ranonga, Solomon Islands.” Australasian Record, February 20, 1922.

Wicks, H[arold] B. P. “Solomon Islands Mission.” Australasian Record, September 29, 1924.

Wicks, H[arold] B. P. and M[adeline] Wicks. "A Trip on the 'Melanesia,'" Australasian Record, October 8, 1923.

Wicks, Madeline. “Finished Following the Ways of Darkness.” Australasian Record, August 8, 1921.

Wicks, M[adeline]. “Are Missions Worth What They Cost?” Australasian Record, May 21, 1923.

White, H[erbert]. “First-fruits on St. (sic) Isabel.” Australasian Record, October 13, 1947.

White, H[erbert]. "Joyous Jubilee." Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, January 4, 1965.

Notes

  1. Barnabas Pana, "The Passing of a Warrior for God," Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, November 7, 1977, 12.

  2. Madeline Wicks, "Finished Following the Ways of Darkness," Australasian Record, August 8, 1921, 3.

  3. Jugha Work Service Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, Wahroonga, NSW. Work Service Records. Folder: Jugha. Document: "Jugha Work Service Records."

  4. Barnabas Pana, "Appreciation," Australasian Record, March 6, 1939, 8.

  5. Barnabas Pana, "Passing of a Warrior for God," Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, November 7, 1977, 12.

  6. Ibid.

  7. H[arold] B.P. Wicks, "Our First Visit to the Ranonga Mission, Solomon Islands," Australasian Record, April 4, 1921, 3; Guinevere Anderson, "Organization of a Church in the Solomon Islands, Australasian Record, November 14, 1921, 4.

  8. H[arold] B.P. Wicks, "Choiseul, Solomon Islands, "Australasian Record, January 9, 1922, 3-4.

  9. M[adeline] Wicks, "Are Missions Worth What They Cost?" Australasian Record, May 21, 1923, 5.

  10. H[arold] B.P. Wicks and M[adeline] Wicks, "A Trip on the 'Melanesia,'" Australasian Record, October 8, 1923, 2-3.

  11. D[avid] E. Hay, "Pastor Jugha – Pioneer Missionary," Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, February 27, 1978, 13.

  12. A[ndrew] G Stewart, "From Langalanga Lagoon, Malaita, Solomon Islands," Australasian Record, August 14, 1939, 3-4.

  13. "Solomon Islands Mission," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1941), 82

  14. Barnabas Pana, "The Passing of a Warrior for God," Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, November 7, 1977, 12.

  15. A[ndrew] G Stewart, "Our Visit to the Solomon Islands," Australasian Record, June 3, 1929, 2-3.

  16. H[erbert] White, "Joyous Jubilee," Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, January 4, 1965, 8-9.

  17. Barnabas Pana, "The Passing of a Warrior for God," Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, November 7, 1977, 12.

  18. H.G. Moulds, "Onward in the Solomon Islands," Australasian Record, January 16, 1950, 4-5

  19. Barnabas Pana, "The Passing of a Warrior for God," Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, November 7, 1977, 12.

  20. Ibid.; Jugha Work Service Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, Wahroonga, NSW,Work Service Records, folder: Jugha, document: "Jugha Work Service Records."

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Hook, Milton. "Jugha (c. 1897–1976)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed June 18, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=87YB.

Hook, Milton. "Jugha (c. 1897–1976)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access June 18, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=87YB.

Hook, Milton (2020, January 29). Jugha (c. 1897–1976). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 18, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=87YB.