Minister remembered for gospel impact in Papua New Guinea
Peter Knopper heard God’s voice call him to ministry and wanted to be a Seventh-day Adventist missionary like his father, Jan. So, he came to Avondale as a mature age student from Newbold College in England. He had completed his O Levels at Stanborough School after attending primary, home and boarding schools in the Congo, Tanzania and Kenya. Hobbies included auto mechanics and horology. But Peter’s passion: flying. He would graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (Theology) and earn his private pilot licence.
A move to Western Australia followed graduation before the call came: Homu in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, where Peter directed the training school, managed the mission station and become an ordained minister. He learned pidgin English well enough to preach in the language and began to learn the local dialect, too. With wife Sherry and three children, Peter would serve three years.
Then, at about 9 pm on March 16, 1988, it all came to a brutal and abrupt end. Peter went outside his home to turn off the school’s power generator and was shot in the head. He died in the back of his four-wheel drive as Sherry drove to the hospital. “Many people gave their hearts to Christ after Peter’s death,” says Sherry. “He will say the price was worth the reward. But it was hard for me to understand why a man who had such passion for the mission field and the people he worked with and for should die. My brother wrote me a song and it says, ‘When we see Jesus face to face, then I’ll understand.’”
The class of 1979 honours and remembers Peter Knopper for his selfless missionary spirit.
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