Iveme Yanderave knows God provides for all her needs.
I was born 25 October 1966 in Papua New Guinea, where most of the population live in traditional societies and practise subsistence-based agriculture. Growing up in a Christian home, I knew Jesus at a very young age.
I am the eldest of five. My father was an evangelical Lutheran pastor who served his entire life, to the age of 75, working with Crusaders for Christ. He was not well-paid, only being sent $6 each quarter along with some clothes from the Lutheran Church in Germany.
I loved God and was an obedient child in my family. My favourite verses were Psalm 85, verse 13 and Proverbs chapter 16, verse 7, which both talk of how God’s blessings flow after those who follow him and do what he asks.
We did not have enough for survival, so my mother and us kids would grow food at home while my father continued in the ministry. I completed my primary schooling, but it was difficult to attend secondary school as my father could not save up for my school fees. God blessed me through my uncle who paid my fees for four years.
After completing high school, I was selected to attend a government-run nursing college. During this nursing training, I was sent to a Salvation Army health centre for eight weeks in the Goroka area for practical training.
One Saturday morning, I was on duty when a young man came in with a fresh cut on his foot. The nurse-in-charge asked me to do the dressing for him. A year later, this same young man asked me to marry him, but I declined as I felt I was too young to get married—I was only 16—and I wanted to fulfil my dreams of being a nurse before getting married.
But this young man really did everything possible to make me his wife, including lying to my parents that I was pregnant by him. This would bring them shame and this young man told them to accept the bride-price, which they did, and then sent a message for me to come home.
I went home and my parents found out that I wasn’t pregnant and didn’t even really know this man. But it was too late, as my parents had accepted the bride-price and the marriage ceremony was arranged for as soon as I came home, so I had no choice but to marry him.
On 7 July 1984 I married this man I didn’t know. He was a drunkard and had lots of girlfriends. I realised he wasn’t the husband I was looking for, but somehow had no ill-feelings towards him—I was at peace through it all.
After my second daughter was born, my husband asked if we could go to church—this was the first time we had ever gone to church since we’d been married. During the testimony time he gave his life totally to God.
God had heard my cry and did something that people cannot do—I praise God for the change he brought to my husband. After this, we were happily together for 28 years and God blessed us with seven lovely children.
My husband and I became Salvation Army soldiers (members) in 1987. We were very active in our local church in Lembina when God called us to be full-time ministers. We went to the Salvation Army training college in 1991–1992; I was 27 and my husband was 32.
Our first appointment was in Kokopi, which is three hour’s drive from the divisional office—it took us more than eight hours to walk there. We had a number of different appointments, mostly in divisional roles and in 2010 we came to the territorial headquarters.
While we were in this role, my husband passed away on 15 February 2013, leaving me with seven children.
In this chapter of my life, I am blessed by God because I know Jesus and live as he wants me to. Four of my children have completed university and the other three are still in school. I do not know how they have done this as I only get a very small allowance, but I have a simple faith in Jesus for all I need.
I serve a living God. I obey him and trust in him for all that I need (Philippians chapter 4, verse 19).