In November each year, Women’s Ministries ladies from the 23 AG churches on this island (Efate) meet for an end-of-the-year closing service.
Last night we all gathered at the Port Vila harbor to catch small taxi speedboats out to Ifira Island. Ifira is one of two islands sitting in the Port Vila bay. Over 1000 people live on the island and many of them commute by boat to Port Vila to work.
With 15 to 18 people snuggly fit in, the boats ferried us safely across the beautiful bay to the sandy shores of Ifira Island. The photo (above left) shows the passengers sitting at the front of the boat I was in. Total of 18 people
I was very happy to have Robyn, a visiting friend from Australia, with me. Robyn and her husband lived at JBI for three years and helped us so much. We were so sad to see them leave in 2010 for ministry back in Australia. They have been visiting with us this past week for graduation and it has been so good to be together again.
The first WM meeting that we attended together in 2008 was also at Ifira Island with Roz and Kay. So we took a souvenir photo last night (sadly Kay is no longer in Vanuatu either).
Gift exchange is a happy part of the WM closing service. Ladies line up in rows facing each other and exchange flower leis and gifts. Then someone passes around behind spraying cologne and sprinkling baby powder on heads and necks.
Widows are always honored too. They do not bring gifts to exchange but are given gifts and powdered.
By 10 p.m. the visiting ladies were heading back to the beach where several speedboat taxis were waiting to take us back to the main island.
We will not meet again until 2013!