From Kalonikali newspaper, May 19th 2005
(note: the original newspaper article appeared without photos–we’ve added them here to spice things up a little!)
Peter & Susan Kingston are two Christians with a difference. They’re travelling evangelists, but you won’t find them preaching in churches. Equipped with DVDs, videos & loads of humour, they are taking the message of God with the aid of visuals to schools, prisons—anywhere ‘outside the church where we can reach anyone, any nationality, any religion—the public’, says Susan.
For four years, the couple toured 41 islands in the Pacific nations with their programs. ‘We found over the course of the years that evangelists go from church to church, so they’re reaching the people that are already in the church. We feel we’re doing something a bit more new in that we’re reaching people outside the church’, said Peter.
Their program, often a 1-hour film session, addresses such issues as evolution versus creation, & prophecies from the Bible. It’s a very fresh approach that students like’, said Peter.
Now in Tonga for the first time, the couple are hoping to visit the outer islands as well. At the moment they’re showcasing their program in Nuku’alofa high schools. The couple rely solely on people’s generosity for shelter & food. In Tonga, the International Dateline Hotel gave them a room free of charge for 1 month.‘There’s a huge amount of variety in our accommodation, we’re not always in a nice hotel like this; sometimes we’re on a mattress on the floor, it could be anything– sometimes in churches, sometimes in people’s houses’, said Peter. To eat, the couple approach restaurants for free meals. Already one restaurant has offered them daily meals for a week. ‘It’s a sacrificial life, but Jesus sacrificed His life for us, & we’re missionaries in order to spread that message’, said Susan.
In islands like Fiji, the couple have also been involved in humanitarian projects, distributing books among the poor for the Rotary Club. But there are other challenges as well. Among them, not knowing anyone on the islands they visit for the first time, & convincing institutions that they aren’t leading students in the wrong direction. We’re independent, we’re not trying to start another church or religion, & we’re not in competition with any existing churches’, Peter explained.
The couple also live without their 2 children, who returned to France for further studies after being home-schooled during the family’s travels. ‘Yes, it’s rewarding’, said Peter. ‘We feel we’re reaching people with an important message, we see the positive reactions, we sometimes see, like in prison, people’s lives completely changed; that’s what keeps us going’.
Before embarking on decades of missionary work, life was very different for the Kingstons themselves. At 18, Peter said, ‘I was a hippy with long hair, taking drugs & looking for answers in life’. A group of young Christians changed that when they challenged him to turn to God. It was also the last time he held a real job, & when he met his wife, then a university student studying nursing. For the next 26 years they travelled, reaching places like Africa & Nepal. It was in Nepal that Peter wanted to reach Indian communities in other countries & the decision led them to Mauritius & Fiji. From there they saw the opportunity to reach other Pacific nations as well. Peter is originally from England & Susan from France. They plan to stay in Tonga for 2 months.