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By Tim Meyer The Solomon Islands are rich in Christian history. This archipelago of islands lies off the northeastern coast of Australia. The people are Melanesian, black islanders. In the late 1800s island- ers were blackbirded (coercively recruit- ed through trickery and kidnapping) by ship captains who had contracts with Australian sugar cane growers to recruit workers for the fields. These workers were called “kanakas.” Some of these islanders were legally hired, but many were gang-pressed (sold into slavery by their village chiefs). Florence Young was born in New Zealand in 1856. Her family migrated to Australia when she was young, and in 1878 her brothers bought a sugar cane plantation in the Bundaberg region of Queensland. Burdened to win these islanders to Christ, Florence started the Queensland Kanaka Mission in 1886. She taught the blackbirded islanders to read and instructed them in salvation and Bible teaching. When Australia federated in 1901 and introduced the “white Australia policy,” the kanakas 24 BIMI WORLD – Number 3, 2010 were sent back to the islands. Because of the witness of Florence Young, many went back born again. Florence spent six years of the period between 1891 and 1900 working as a missionary with the China Inland Mission, founded by Hudson Taylor. When the Boxer Rebellion broke out, it was unsafe for white missionaries to be in China. Some were martyred. The CIM instructed Florence to go back to Australia. When Florence returned, she continued the work with the Queensland Kanaka Mission. Eventually, she received a letter from a kanaka who had become a Christian in Australia but had returned to his home island of Malaita. He asked for missionaries to come and help reach his people with the Gospel. The message was from Peter Ambuofa. Peter had returned to Malaita in 1894. Having accepted Christ as his Saviour while in Australia, he returned as the first born again believer to the Malaitan village of Malu'u. He did not receive a friendly welcome. His family was expecting him to return with at least some sort of worldly wealth. Instead, he came only with the Gospel. His family was from the inland regions of Malaita. They had walked down to Malu'u to meet Peter. His mother approached him with roasted taro. “Son,” she said, “you come back with us, up to your home in the hills. You see this taro? It's your food, but if you don't come with us, you will die of hunger.” She put the taro back in her basket and walked away. This was a great insult.