I am sorry that I have not written much this past year. We have been in the United States visiting friends and supporting churches. It has been a very busy 13 months with 20,000 miles of car travel, home school, medical check-ups and many other things that itineration requires. We hope to be leaving for Vanuatu around the end of September, which is only about 6 weeks away. In order to leave on time, we need to have our Vanuatu work permits/visas in hand and a remaining $500 a month in support. Thank you to those of you who have sent offerings and increased your pledges of support. Even a $5 or $10 increase will help us reach this final goal. Thank you for praying for us as we pack and finalize our departure.
While we have been in the US, senior students have graduated from Joy Bible Institute and new students have come to study. 2010 has been a year of spiritual refreshing on campus and we thank the Lord for His transforming work in many lives. We are anxious to be back at JBI and to resume training young men and women for ministry in Vanuatu, but not only for Vanuatu as JBI now has 3 students from the Solomon Islands.
The Solomon Islands is an island country just to the north of Vanuatu. Not only do these two countries share a common culture but also their Pijin English language is very similar to the Bislama language of Vanuatu. So we are casting our nets farther afield as the Lord opens the doors.
Life in Vanuatu has been eventful in many ways this year. I have previously mentioned the Gaua volcanic eruption which prompted the evacuation of the population and the delay of a church-planting effort. That was followed by a volcanic eruption on the heavily populated island of Tanna which destroyed essential crops and caused respiratory problems among the population.
The year has also been marked by many strong earthquakes with a 7.1 quake in May and a 7.5 quake hitting the capital city of Port Vila on Aug. 10th. The innumerable aftershocks continue to unsettle the population with 19 of them registering between 4.3 and 5.9! This latest earthquake was stronger than the deadly Haiti one but lasted only 31 seconds. We are grateful that it did not create the same devastation and are happy to report that there was little damage on the JBI campus. Only a few cracks in the school office walls and some garden retaining walls collapsed. The faculty and students are fine but a little stressed as the earth continues shake.
It has been our privilege to visit with so many of you and share about the work in Vanuatu but now we are anxious to be on our way. Thank you for your faithful partnership which enables us to go!