Across Vanuatu this past week, AG church members traveled to provincial conferences organized on five different islands across the country. The central province where we live is called Shefa and our conference was here on the island of Efate. Pastor Raymond Clay of the PEF – AG church was the host pastor. His wife, Josiane, was the chairlady of the organizing committee and what a wonderful job she did. The conference was well-organized and there were many very memorable moments. Pastor Raymond and Josiane are childhood friends of mine.
The Sunday afternoon opening ceremony started with many of the delegates, including myself and the kids, marching down the street to the conference venue. Here in Vanuatu, all important events and holidays start with a march.
The opening ceremonies included the raising of three flags; the national flag of Vanuatu, the provincial and the Christian flag. The Royal Rangers marched smartly in to perform this important task. For their part, the Missionette girls performed a colorful choreography set to music. Then the pastors and their wives were welcomed by hanging lengths of cloth around their necks and some were given woven mats. A huge cake was cut and refreshments were served to the crowd sitting around the property on chairs and mats. No opening ceremony is complete without welcome speeches and a cake!
The opening ceremony was followed by an evening service, with Pastor K. Nikara from Mele preaching and special music by the Shefa youth choir.
The next four days of conference were packed with devotional times, lectures, and business meetings for the various provincial departments like women’s, men’s and youth. Each evening a public open air service was held from 6-9 p.m.