FAITH & WORSHIP pic Missionary.jpg

Missionary Jemima Babangu, a native of the Solomon Islands, is helping to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ across the United States along with a group of about 60 missionaries traveling across the country.

Robert Long|DTT

She wants to save the world, one soul at a time.

Jemima Babangu is a native of the Solomon Islands, an island chain in the South Pacific.

As a missionary and a member of the International Leadership Ministry team in the United States, Memphis, the Mid-South and Mississippi has been her home away from home since October of 2017.

I have been traveling all over America," Babangu said.

Babangu is one of 60 students from all over the world who are part of the ministry team.

"We are different religious students who all come together," Babangu said. "I am Roman Catholic but some are Baptists, Methodists and Anglican."

The different mix of denominations and beliefs is similar to the religious makeup of her own country.

The Solomon Islands are made up of slightly more than a half million people.

Residents of the Solomon Islands are largely an ethnic group consisting of Melanesians, Polynesians, Micronesian, Chinese and Europeans. More than 90 percent of people in the Solomon Islands identify as Christians.

"My parents were Roman Catholic and my aunt wanted me to study in Rome," added Babangu. "My country has a lot of churches, Catholic is one of the main denominations. There are also Seventh-Day Adventists."

Other churches include the Church of Melanesia, South Seas Evangelical, United Church and Christian Fellowship Church, among other denominations.

As one of seven children, Banangu grew up learning how to "get along" with others. "I have three older brothers and three older sisters," said Babangu. "I was the baby of the family."

Yet, Babangu said of her siblings, she was perhaps one of the more spiritually ascendant.

"For me, Jesus Christ means that we should all follow his mission," Babangu said. "I had a vision about Jesus. Jesus spoke to me. Jesus appeared to me and said to me, 'Preach my Gospel so that people can change their lives.' Jesus told me to pray every day about His mission for me."

Babangu said following in the footsteps of Christ has brought her thousands of miles from home.

But as a missionary, Babangu said her task is made easier by the warmth and hospitality of the American people. Learning the geography of such a vast country is another matter.

"America is a huge country," Babangu said. "There are a lot of different beliefs in America. For me, it's interesting talking with the American people."

Babangu said her religious training in her native country gave her a firm foundation and understanding of the Gospels.

"I was educated in Catholic school," Babangu said. "At the International Leadership Ministry, we have workshops to help young people know about Jesus Christ."

That's important to Babangu, who grew up in a country in which young people don't have much of a future.

"In my country, young people abuse their lives," Babangu said. "In my town, there is a lot of crime. A lot of young people don't have much of a future."

Babangu said as a missionary she hopes to spread hope to millions.

"I want to follow Him."

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