The Black Pearl Network (BPN) is a partnership between the Uniting Church in Western Australia and the GKI church in Papua (Gereja Kristen Indonesia di Tanah Papua).
The partnership was formed over 10 years ago after a small group from All Saints Floreat Uniting Church ventured to Papua on a cultural exposure trip. They were overwhelmed by the need that they saw and decided to do something about it. The group saw it as a natural response to the call that Jesus made for us to love our neighbour. The formation of the BPN was a practical way to love one of our nearest neighbours and help them to flourish in their own land.
Trinity North Uniting Church (TNUCA) became involved in the BPN in 2015 when it hosted students taking part in the Australian Papuan Cultural Exchange Program (APCEP). Every second year the APCEP brings a group of young Papuan students to Perth to spend 3 months living here and attending Intensive English classes. This is a life changing experience for the young Papuans and also those who care for them during their stay in Perth.
“We have hosted three APCEP students since TNUCA became involved in 2015 and now have three Papuan daughters. The girls call me Mum, we keep in touch by Facebook and the internet and I have been lucky enough to meet up with them over in Papua,” said Kerry. “They are remarkable young people with gentle, but courageous hearts. Being in their company is an amazingly uplifting experience.”
Many others in the TNUCA community have opened their homes to these wonderful young people and have had the opportunity to share in the richness of their culture and the warmth of their hearts. It really is an opportunity not to be missed!
Over the years TNUCA has expanded its involvement with the BPN and now supports the Black Pearl English Course (BPEC) which brings quality English education to the people of Papua and West Papua. The BPEC employs 15 indigenous Papuan teachers over 13 remote locations in Papua and West Papua. It is hoped that the people of Papua and West Papua may be able to overcome inequalities they face through the gift of education.
The programs run by the BPN are not only beneficial to Papuan people. Our church communities are also deeply enriched.
“for me it’s been one of the richest, interesting, challenging journeys imaginable & it has taken us to places you could only dream about, given us experiences you can’t buy & brought me (us) into relationships with the most fascinating, interesting, colourful, admirable people you could ever hope to encounter in life” (Ross Gobby founding member BPN)
The BPN welcomes volunteers from all walks of life. Teachers are needed to help with the biennial APCEP course, and people are always needed to help with fundraising. Opportunities to travel to Papua with the team are available to experience the culture first-hand.