Sonship’s story began in 1989 when Pr Nathan Rore, then President of the Western Solomon Islands Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, invited Trevor and Helen Oliver to establish a shipping business in the Western Solomon Islands.This was to help the local people transport their goods from their villages to a point of sale.
In 1995 “Ferguson Shipping” (named in honour of the late Pr and Mrs Wallace Ferguson, who served as missionaries in the Pacific for 25 years and in particular the Western Solomon Islands Mission), was established, and its first boat “Ferguson Express” arrived at Kukundu in late December of that year.
A second boat “Maram Ferguson” arrived on Christmas eve 1998 ready to transport goods and especially copra around the Western Islands. The Western Solomon Islands Mission leased a corner of its land on beautiful Meresu Cove to Ferguson Shipping to establish its Headquarters.
A house was then built for the Manager and in 2004 a second house was constructed especially to accommodate all Sonship teams that wanted to visit the Solomon Islands. The establishment of Ferguson Shipping has not only helped the local people by providing much needed transport for people and produce but also provided the infrastructure to support the Sonship groups. It provided accommodation, transport and food for the people participating in Sonship.
For many years, Ferguson Shipping was extremely pleased to be the major sponsor, and supporter of the Sonship program. As the Sonship program grew, however, and Trevor and Helen saw the need to give more time to the program, they sold Ferguson Shipping to concentrate on Sonship.
Sonship, which means Serving Overseas Nations by Ship has as its basic philosophy the service of our fellow human beings, particularly in the Solomon Islands, where shipping and boats are the only means of transport. The concept evolved late 2003 and grew into fruition April 2004 when the first group of 23 volunteers left Australia and flew to Kukundu in the western province of the Solomon Islands.
In April 2007 a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the Western Province of the Solomon Islands, including Kukundu where Sonship house is located. This natural disaster caused extensive damage and a loss of life and demonstrated just how vulnerable the isolated villages are. Many of these remote villages received no aid for many weeks and medical attention was non existent.
Through supporting the relief efforts after the tsunami, in July, 2007 the “Sonship Action Team” observed a great need for on-going medical facilities in the remote areas and returned to Australia with a determination to do something to help the situation.
In August, 2007 a 50 foot power catamaran (Medisonship 1) was purchased with the aim of making this boat a permanent floating medical clinic. This clinic will travel to the remote villages that presently have no medical assistance.
The Medisonship travels to remote areas providing much-needed medical help and sharing the Word of God with the people.