Mansinam Center of Christianity’s Propagation in Papua
Mansinam Island located in Doreri Bay south of Manokwari Regency in West Papua Province, with an area of about 410.97 Ha, is known as the center of Christianity’s propagation in Papua. On February 5, 1855, the island saw the arrivalof two evangelists from Germany, namely C.W. Ottow and J.G.Geissler, who were escorted by the envoys of the Tidore Sultanate.
Since the arrival of Ottow and Geissler, the island of Mansinam became the center of Christianity in Papua and its population became the first people in Papua to embrace Christianity.
Until now, there are still many historic relics of the entry of Christianity in Papua on the island of Mansinam, one of which is a memorial Cross Inscription that has become a symbol of Christianity on the island of Mansinam.
The inscription reads Soli deo Gloria De eerste Zendelingen van Nederlandsch Nieuw Guinee C.W. Ottow En J.G. Geissler Zyn Hier Geland op 5-2-1855.Therefore, February 5 is celebrated by the Papuan people as the day the Gospel entered Papua.
In the history of evangelism in Papua inthe 20th century and at the beginning of the Christian movement in various places, cultural elements faced severe challenges because they were regarded as pagan elements that deserved to be abolished.
The real opposition is not from the local people who had its culture, but it comes from the missionaries. This happens when the culture of a society is mistakenly viewed, therefore causing a shift in values that lead to a cultural identity crisis.
When local cultural values are eroded by new values from outside, then there is a clash of values between the old and the new. Usually, new values from outside are considered stronger and superior to local values.
As a result of the clash of values, people sometimes lose their hold on life. For instance is the destruction of local cultural elements in connection with the acceptance of the Gospel by asocial group.
Whether or not it is realized, it can shake the whole system of society that was firmly held and deeply rooted. In relation, Ottow and Geissler made observations and recorded everything they found, especially in Mansinam and Papua in general, with the adaptation approach of observation and participation so that Ottowand Geissler were able to understand the culture, custom,and living behavior of the local people.
Their observations then formed the basis on how to approach the locals for evangelismin Papua, especially in Mansinam.
After a year of making observations in Mansinam, Ottowand Geissler started their first Sunday service in Malay and conducted it twice in the morning and afternoon. One year later (1857), Ottow and Geissler managed to compose a book of songs in Numfor.
Subsequently, they translated the Bible successively, beginning with Matthew’s Gospel and then Mark’s Gospel. Next, they compiled a book on Catechism and a Num for dictionary. At the same year, Ottow and Geissler also began organizing educational programs and the first school was in Mansinam (1857).
It was followed by the second evangelical school in Kwawi (1857), a third evangelical school in Meoswar (1867) and a fourth evangelical school in Kamui (1869).
In some areas, they also opened evangelical schools along with the opening of new missionary posts, among other sat Maomi Ransiki in 1874, and on the island of Roon in 1883.Meanwhile, a special school was opened for the children of Hatam and Meyach tribes in Manokwari in 1897.