Context: While reading this, I twice took this road north from Male to attend cargo cult meetings in Rereu.
Hovey’s task is to help Christians a) understand a Melanesian worldview and b) to communicate Christ into it in such a way as to establish a strong Christian community. I think he succeeds admirably even if his publisher seems to operate on a shoestring and he had to rope in a relative to design the cover.
The book assumes we’re going to make mistakes and then sets out to deal with some of the most common areas of confusion, namely different approaches to historical time, cargoism, mono v pluriculturalism, lack of love and on and on. If you’re a church planter in PNG, this book should be in your possession.
I particularly appreciated his coverage of cargoism. He didn’t just describe it but brought practical Biblical instruction to the page in describing how to deal with it. Within a week, I had recourse to use exactly the passages he recommends for exactly the questions he predicts Papua New Guineans ask. Very timely wisdom for me.
So, while the book suffers from an unprofessional overfamiliar style at times, looks awful and is in an abominable typeface and bound with primary school glue, it contains very pertinent information for the waitskin working in PNG today.