Make A Path And Open The Door!

Many of you may not know that Lori has served on the AG Vanuatu National Disaster Committee since its founding in 2015 after Cyclone Pam. She is the committee treasurer and has spearheaded much of the fundraising to help each of the 60 Assemblies of God churches affected by that natural disaster. Here is the story of her recent trip to the island of Paama for a church dedication.

Lulep village, Lopevi volcano

MAKE A PATH AND OPEN THE DOOR!

A week ago Sunday, we were at the Port Vila airport waiting to board a small charter plane to Paama Island. A dozen of us were going there to celebrate the opening of two newly rebuilt churches destroyed by Cyclone Pam in 2015. The weather conditions were not good with strong gusty winds and rain. The grass airstrip on Paama has a short one way landing and take-off over an ocean cliff. Crosswinds are often challenging on small islands but the current conditions were especially unsafe and our flight was cancelled. We went to the airport the next three mornings in a row but the national airline was not intending to fly to Paama anytime soon.

On Monday, the Tavie village church had their dedication service without us. We were very disappointed not to have been there. Gary was to be the guest speaker and Lori had been asked to unveil the new church sign. We heard that a small plane from a charter company had landed at Tavie on Monday without mishap so why could we not go too?

The second church at Lulep village was to be dedicated on Tuesday but they had postponed the service in hopes that the group could get there. Lori had promised the people at Lulep two years ago, that when they rebuilt their church she would be there. So even though no one else could go with her, she booked a seat with a one-plane charter company.

Tavie airport, Paama

Finally, on Wednesday morning, bright and early, Lori flew out on an 8 passenger plane to Paama. An excited welcoming party was waiting for her at the Tavie airport. The only vehicle on the island, a four wheel drive truck, was coming to take her up over the mountain to Lulep on the east side of the island. The Lulep church had already butchered a cow and were cooking a feast. The church dedication would start as soon as she got there.

Before the truck arrived, a text message came stating that Pastor Jimmy Obas was in the air and on his way to Paama. Miraculously, he had convinced the pilot of an even smaller plane flying north to drop him off on Paama Island. Rev. Jimmy Obas and Lori, are colleagues on the AG Vanuatu Disaster Committee which spearheaded the fundraising and assistance to the 60 AG churches affected by Cyclone Pam.

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Within the hour, the truck was loaded with supplies, a keyboard, pastors, and Christian friends ready to accompany us to Lulep. With only one truck driving along the bush track, you can imagine that there really wasn’t much of a visible road in many places. We twisted and turned through gullies, drove straight up the sides of hills and slowly climbed to a mountain top before glimpsing a large volcano and then nosediving back down through the rainforest. Before noon, we were safely in Lulep, shaking hands and meeting Pastor Avock and the congregation. That is when Lori found out she would be cutting the ribbon and preaching the dedication message.

 

School children, church members and villagers gathered on the village green and marched to the new church building singing “We’re Marching to Zion.” The church sign and gate were obstructed by all kinds of branches and foliage. Brother Aison came forward with a machete and began to cut at the foliage and make a path for us all to enter the property. This was a symbolic gesture of making a path to God’s house.

AG Church, Lulep, Paama

 Moulien Tahos AG Church, Lulep. Paama Ribbon cutting, AG Church. Lulep, Paama

The church sign was unveiled by the grandmother who had donated the land and we all marched to the church entrance. Again the church door was completely obstructed by banana trees and branches and again Aison came and cut a path. Lori was then able to approach the church door and cut away the ribbon and fabric. A quartet of ladies sang “Open the Door” and Lori handed the keys to Pastor Avock and he stepped inside first and everyone followed. The church interior was completely finished, the cement walls nicely plastered and painted. Pastor Jimmy Obas led the congregation in singing and then Lori preached from Colossians 2:2-7, on The Marks of a Faithful Church.

Lori at Lulep, PaamaFollowing the service, we went to an open area and sat on the grass and enjoyed a wonderful lunch. Lori spent the night in the home of one of the church ladies before crossing back over the mountain and staying two more days in Tavie village.

 

Thank you for your support which allows us to be in Vanuatu training young men and women for ministry at Joy Bible Institute. Pray that we will continue to be instrumental in making a path and stepping through open doors for the sharing of the Gospel on small islands and remote villages all across Vanuatu.

· Two other AG churches on Paama, in the villages of Tahi and Luli, need help to rebuild their churches. $5000 would greatly help their rebuilding.

· Our own monthly support also needs strengthening. Would you consider partnering with us?

Baptism, Blast from the Past

At the Thanksgiving table, a cousin asked me about baptizing new converts in our ministry. As missionaries, we follow the example of the Apostle Paul who rarely baptized converts himself (see 1 Corinthians 1:14-16). We want local pastors to baptize new converts so that these new disciples will be grafted into the local body of believers.

My cousin’s question reminded me about the largest baptism that we ever participated in, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (West Africa) in 1986. The churches of the greater Abidjan area gathered together at the river with eight pastors to baptize 477 new disciples!

A lot of local people were in the river that day washing their clothes:1986-07 (July)2 a.jpg

Hundreds of others were joyfully celebrating that their sins had been washed away!

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I had the privilege of preaching to that great crowd of Christian brothers and sisters along with one of our dynamic local evangelists, Pastor Apollinaire.

Water baptism is a first step in following Jesus Christ and a commitment to a lifetime of continual obedience to Him as Lord, as He commanded us: “teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” And as we make disciples of all peoples everywhere, we have His promise, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

Let’s do it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING

 

“…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

Dear Friends,

The Spirit-filled life is one of continual thanksgiving to our heavenly Father for everything through Jesus Christ our Lord. We have much to give thanks for at this season of our lives.

  • Gary was unexpectedly diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer after a routine medical checkup in June. After many tests, he underwent surgery on September 13th. He is doing very well and his doctor has given him clearance to return to Vanuatu. We give thanks!
  • We have been able to visit so many friends and speak in many churches this past year of itineration. We are so thankful for the continued support of long-term partners and the new partners who have joined us. We have raised our budget and have been granted clearance by AG World Mission to return to Vanuatu. We give thanks!
  • Logistically it has been difficult to be away from Joy Bible Institute (JBI) for 4 school terms. We left without a replacement couple to teach in our place. It was most often at the last minute but we give thanks to Jack Kay and Rudd, Ray and Becki Sparre, Maurice Nicholson and most recently Sam and Lisa Paris, who dropped everything and went to JBI to teach our wonderful students for us. We are so thankful for each one of them!
  • We are thankful for pastors Kiel Maimai and Philip Naias, our permanent JBI teaching staff who have faithfully continued to train and mentor young men and women at JBI in our absence.
  • We are thankful for Mrs. Shannon Kombe who has been working as our JBI office assistant since February.

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  • Joy Bible Institute graduation takes place on November 26th. Our 2017 graduates have finished three years of pastoral training and are ready to go to those who haven’t yet heard the Good News.
  • We are thankful for you, your prayers, and your partnership in the gospel. Keep us in your prayers.

Gary, Lori, Jeremy and Jasmine Ellison
Assemblies of God Missionaries to Vanuatu

Financial support for account 236425
Assemblies of God World Mission
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802-1894
https://agmd.org/u/GaryLoriEllison

Email: jgary.ellison@agmd.org • Joy Bible Institute • P. O. Box 808 • Port Vila, Vanuatu • South Pacific

GiveWay App – A new way to partner with us!

Some friends have written a cool new app called GiveWay to help you financially support missionaries with your “loose change.” When you make a purchase, the amount is rounded up to the next dollar and the difference is given to the missionaries or missions agency that you have designated. You set the parameters and the limits. Plus, it works with Android and iPhone.

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1. Choose one of five AG ministries.
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2. If you chose AGWM, you can add a missionary.
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3. Click +Add Missionary
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4. Type the missionary’s name, like Ellison!
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5. You can add another missionary or organization, or just click Submit.
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6. This explain the next step: Credit/Debit Card Registration
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7. Select your bank.
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8. Enter your details.

That’s it! That’s just one more way that you can partner with us or other Assemblies of God missionaries or Assemblies of God missions agencies. Thank you!

The Sparre Family Headed to JBI for 3 Months

We are currently in the USA raising our budget to return to Vanuatu in August of 2017. Just because we are away from Joy Bible Institute doesn’t mean the ministry is put on hold, but rather replacement teachers are needed so classes and ministries can continue.

We are so pleased to let you know that Ray and Becki Sparre, along with their son Thano, have been approved by MAPS to go to Vanuatu for 3 months and teach at Joy Bible Institute. The Sparre family spent many years as AGWM missionaries in both the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. This is wonderful news not only to us but also to our JBI teachers, Pastor Philip Naias and Pastor Kiel Maimai, who have been carrying a heavy workload in our absence.

The Sparres will leave for Vanuatu in a few short weeks and urgently need financial support for airplane tickets and living expenses. If you would like to support them, I know it would be appreciated. Please read the following to know more about these wonderful people and how to help them.

SparreA LITTLE HISTORY:

When Ray and Becki told me what they had decided to do a few weeks ago, I felt moved to get involved in the process of supporting their venture.  Ray and Becki spent 28 years as missionaries in the Islands of the Pacific. They were just finishing a four year term of service in Vanuatu in 2001 when they received word that their two sons were involved in a serious motorcycle accident stateside. Their youngest son, Thano, suffered permanent brain damage in that accident, which brought an end to the Sparres island missionary work.

Shortly after they returned to Oregon, the Sparres moved to acreage near Molalla where Ray proceeded to set up his own portable saw milling business. He has used his hands and artistic talents to provide for his family through milling, construction and sign painting.

AN EXCITING CALL:

Just a few weeks ago they received a call asking them to consider a three month mission trip to fill a vacancy in the Bible School on Vanuatu for the Spring semester.  Even though this would be a completely voluntary service with no financial compensation, Ray and Becki felt moved in their spirits that it was of God.  They made the decision to go, with only a few weeks to prepare.

HERE’S WHAT THEY’RE FACING:

  • Ray will have to continue to work and fulfill his business commitments right up until their departure at the end of February. This leaves them with virtually no time to itinerate and raise funds for the mission.
  • Income from Ray’s work will stop completely for March, April & May while they are abroad.
  • Their mortgage payment and other monthly obligations will continue stateside.
  • They will have to raise over $5,000 for round trip airfare for Ray, Becki and Thano.
  • Insurance required by the Missions Department amounts to nearly $1200.
  • While serving in Vanuatu they will be provided a house and vehicle, but will be responsible for their own food, gas and other miscellaneous personal expenses.

Ray estimates that the total budget for the 3 month mission will be about $15,000.

Ray and Becki have received official approval through the Assemblies of God Missions Department for this short term mission.  MAPS will issue tax deductible receipts for contributions, but will not be processing or disbursing funds.

HERE’S HOW THE CONTRIBUTION PROCESS WILL WORK:

  • A separate bank account has been set up for this missions trip
  • Checks for this mission should be made payable to: “Ray Sparre / Vanuatu Mission
  • Contributions should be mailed to:

Elvin Huston

20 Brophy Way #18

Shady Cove, OR 97539

  • Hustons will deposit all checks into Sparre’s Vanuatu Mission account
  • A record of each contribution will be forwarded to the A/G Missions Department
  • The A/G Missions Department will issue tax deductible receipts for each donation
  • Ray and Becki will be able to access funds as needed via a bank card while on the field

This letter is not intended to convey an expectation or to produce a feeling of obligation on anyone. Our purpose is to make you aware of what the Sparre’s feel called to do, and let you know how you can participate financially if you feel the Lord’s prompting to do so.

Eunice and I have purposed to make a one time gift to help with the initial cost in getting to the field, followed by a monthly contribution for March, April and May. I am also hoping to create a place on our nc60salumni.com website where you can see pictures and reports from the Sparre’s while they are on their mission.  There may also be some reports and pictures postings on facebook for those who are facebook friends.

Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy email. Please feel free to email us if you have any questions.

Laborers together,

Elvin & Eunice Huston

2016-2017 Special Projects

Just wanted to update the information on our current projects. All financial gifts may be sent to our Assemblies of God World Mission account, and please be sure to designate with the project name and number.

Married Student Housing at Joy Bible Institute – Project #5764 – $15,000 each house

 

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We have completed the first student house on the new property and a student and his family have moved in! We plan to build 7 more small houses on this property.  Our students are often from distant islands and they need to bring their families to Bible school with them. Will you help us?

About $15,000 will build a small one bedroom house for a student family.

CYCLONE PAM REBUILD – Green Hill Elementary School – Project #5778 – $45,000 School Building

 

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One hundred forty-three children were left without classrooms to study in when Cyclone Pam completely blew away their school in March 2015. Green Hill Primary School was started by Joy Bible Institute graduate, Pastor Charley Job, and is the only school in that remote farming community. We have been partnering with them to rebuild their school and need your help to complete the job.

We are currently raising $45,000 to build a simple three room classroom building for grades 4 to 6.

CYCLONE PAM – Small Village Church Rebuilding Assistance – $5000 each

 

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Pastor John Yalsi and his wife stand in front of the ruins of their small Assembly of God church. They pastor in a small farming community in the hills of Teouma. Pastor Yalsi and his wife grow vegetables and sell them in the market in Port Vila to support themselves.

Cyclone Pam completely destroyed their church, village and gardens. The cost of replacing this partial concrete building is beyond their means. Would you join with us to help rebuild this church and several others?

60 AG churches were either totally destroyed or damaged from Cyclone Pam on March 13, 2015.

Joy Bible Institute AGWM Acct # 541772 – Cyclone Repairs

 

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The Joy Bible Institute had many buildings damaged and roofs blown off from Cyclone Pam. Much of the campus has been repaired but not everything. Funds have run out and we still need to repair the school chapel and the pile of rubble in the foreground of the photo above was a storage building and carport. We need funds in order to repair and replace the facilities we have lost.

Any offering to the Joy Bible Account AGWM #541772 would help us to continue repairing the cyclone damaged buildings on the Bible school campus.

First JBI Pastor’s Seminar of 2016

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This year JBI has planned to host three overnight Pastor’s Seminars on campus. The first one was held April 8 to 9th. The theme was EVANGELISM.

Many pastors arrived early on Friday afternoon and had supper in the student cafeteria before the first session at 7:00 p. m. The chapel was very full from the beginning. JBI teacher Philip Naias was the Friday night speaker.

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The next morning, J. Gary Ellison and Kiel Maimai took the next sessions. At the end of the morning, so many expressed how they were challenged to be more active in reaching out to the people in their communities.

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JBI students were busy cooking and hosting the visiting pastors.

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Lunch was served outside under the mango tree on Saturday and everyone lingered and talked for a couple of hours before going home.

We were so pleased to hear that our provincial church leaders are actively pursuing plans to have some joint evangelism events across the city as a direct response to the seminar. Two churches have already gotten together and had a evangelism outreach since the seminar.