Parlez-vous français ?

Did you know there are several island countries in the South Pacific which speak French? French is the official language of

  • New Caledonia
  • Wallis & Futuna
  • French Polynesia

And it is even one of the three official languages of Vanuatu!

Over the years, the Assemblies of God of New Caledonia have invited us to minister at different occasions such as their 50th Anniversary in 2015 and a pastors’ seminar in 2016 (see above photo). It has always been a great joy to be able to share with these brothers.

In February this year, they officially asked us to consider opening a French section of study at Joy Bible Institute to train pastors for the country of New Caledonia. What an amazing opportunity to help train the next generation of pastors for other nearby nations. We said, “OUI!”

  

 

 

 

In September, I translated for visiting Pastors Christophe Kalo (left, Missions Director for the Assemblies of God of New Caledonia) and Yvon Déa (right, Superintendent)

In March 2020, Joy Bible Institute will open its doors to French-speaking students from New Caledonia and any other French-speaking Pacific country.

We said, “OUI,” and now we need to be ready! In order to have these two programs running simultaneously on campus, we will need theological books in French for the library, two more classrooms and additional student housing.

The reality of this amazing opportunity was fully displayed in chapel at JBI when visiting New Caledonia AG Superintendent, Rev. Yvon Dea, preached in French and Gary translated for him! It was a wonderful glimpse into the very near future of Joy Bible Institute.

Will you help us be ready to welcome French-speaking students to JBI in 2020? You can give here.

Merci beaucoup !

Food Distribution Continues…

A month after Cyclone Pam, food shortages continue to be everyday concerns for many people in Vanuatu.

For urban populations, most food is purchased as few urban dwellers have space for food gardens. The inhabitants of Port Vila and surrounding areas who need cash to purchase food are struggling. Money is being stretched in so many different ways. Houses have been damaged, roofs need to be replaced, clothes and other belongings blown away by the storm. There is not enough money to buy food from the supermarkets and replace everything else. Local neighborhood vegetable stands have not reopened as there isn’t local produce to sell.

The tourist trade stopped abruptly. Hotels and restaurants were closed and employees laid off. Thankfully, some establishments have continued to pay their staff. But taxi drivers and tour operators have felt the loss of income dramatically. A couple of cruise ships have called in to Port Vila in recent days and brought relief supplies as a gesture of goodwill but infrastructure in the southern part of the country is not ready to receive tourists yet.

Food from SantoRural populations in Vanuatu normally depend on their subsistence farming to feed their families and bring in cash. Rural populations do not have grocery stores in their villages. After the cyclone, families quickly cleaned gardens and replanted with any available seed. Some crops like yams were coming to harvest and they are being consumed. Places with yams have been granted a short reprieve. Then there will be a time of waiting before other crops are ready. A hungry time as it is often called.

Kumala packaged for distributionWe have been blessed to receive two shipments of fresh island food from the food gardens of Sanma Bible Training Center on the northern island of Santo. They were just outside of the path of the cyclone and did not get the damage many other islands experienced. Bryan and Renee Webb and the school staff have made such an effort to dig up root crops and send us 26 big bags of produce on the Vanuatu Ferry this past Thursday.

JBI students going to give out fresh food.

JBI students washed all the vegetables and repackaged them into family size bags. Today over a 100 bags were taken to needy families in Port Vila.

We are so grateful to those of you who have given funds for food, much of that through Convoy of Hope. As funds comes in, we will continue to give out food both in the urban and rural areas.

 

Vanuatu AOG Church National Disaster Committee

On Wednesday, April 8th, I (Lori) was asked to become the treasurer of the newly formed Vanuatu AOG Church National Disaster Committee which will serve as the official voice for fundraising and rebuilding.

Our task is to rebuild church facilities damaged or totally destroyed during the passage of Cyclone Pam (March 13-15, 2015) and to continue food distribution in specific areas of need.

We have met five times in the last 10 days in order to open a new bank account and compile information. We are handing all the incoming damage assessment reports and photos of church properties. The information has been put on computer and priority lists are now in place. We have a few Assemblies of God churches in outer islands which have not yet been visited and their buildings may also be damaged.

Full Gospel, N Tanna

This level of devastation in so many different places and islands by one cyclone, is unprecedented, I believe, in Vanuatu history. 188,000 people were directly affected by this cyclone, having lost homes, subsistence farms, and/or businesses. Our church members are among them.

Fifty-one Assemblies of God church buildings on four different islands have had damage assessments. 31 of 51 are totally destroyed. The remaining twenty churches suffered damage, mostly iron roofs and timbers blown away.

Pastor Hosea, Karimasanga

Pastor Hosea of Karimasanga, South Tanna, (pictured above) is standing in the doorway of their village church. Nothing is left of their building. He also lost his house and many belongings.

Will you please help us rebuild?

Will you please share our need with others who may also be able to help us?

 

Cyclone Pam Destruction

girl's dorm - cyclone Pam

Joy Bible Institute was heavily damaged by Cyclone Pam. This is a photo of the girl’s dorm lounge and kitchen. The roof blew off and fell inside. Torrential rains poured in and flooded the whole house. The ground floor of this building is the school’s library which was in turn flooded. Water was ankle deep in the library after the storm. We do not know if any of the 3000 library books or furniture will be salvageable.

boy's laundry - cyclone Pam

The roof of the boy’s bathhouse, laundry and workshop was totally blown away.

girl's dorm - missing carport

This is a picture of the girl’s dorm (above) on the left and a pile of rubble on the right. That rubble used to be a very nice storage shed for tools and a carport where the girls hung their laundry. The windows are still boarded up as Cyclone Nathan on the Australian coast was forecast to possibly pass through Vanuatu this week.

admin flat - cyclone Pam

At the school’s administrative office and guestroom, two large trees fell on the building. On the front side, the roof is very damaged and a lot of water also went into the rooms. Visiting teacher, Maurice Nicholson and his son Ian, were sheltering here during the storm. We thank the Lord for protecting them.

 

Kiel's house -cyclone Pam

On the left is a picture of our Dean of Students house which we just finished renovating in December 2014. New electrical wiring and light fixtures were installed. The bathroom was gutted and redone, new kitchen cupboard added, paint and flooring.

Unfortunately, the cyclone took off the  front half of the roof and water soaked through the ceiling and it collapsed inward. Furniture was also ruined. Another section of the roof went off in the master bedroom.

Pastor Kiel and his wife had a daughter born just a few days before the cyclone hit. They were in this house with their two children and our female JBI students sheltering from the storm when the roof went off. As the high winds were thrashing things inside the house, they ran out through the night to another building for shelter. That is an extremely dangerous thing to do, as flying objects are what often kill people during cyclones. Again we thank God for his protection over them. We are so thankful that the baby was born just before the cyclone arrived as the maternity ward at the city hospital is now damaged and closed.

JBI Chapel - cyclone Pam

The porch roof on the Joy Memorial Chapel was ripped off also. The rest of the roof did not fly away though. Thank you to Michael who came and replaced the steel cables which hold the roof down to the ground a few months ago. Without the new cables, I think the whole roof would have come off.

The three newest concrete buildings to the campus; the classrooms, the married dorm, and the new mission house, all survived the storm. They have some water damage and some buckled roof ridging but all in all they held remarkably well in the face of winds of 320kmph. The students took refuge in one of the classrooms and another teacher and his family camped out in the other.

Old classroom - cyclone PamIn the photo to the left, you can see a tree branch which has pierced the siding of the old classroom building.

 

There is a lot of school equipment and furniture that has been damaged by the flooding. We do not have a list of everything which we will need to be replaced. We are so grateful to Tony for taking pictures of the damage for us. We are still in the USA and due to return to Vanuatu on March 28.

At this point, we estimate needing at least US$150,000 to begin to adequately replace the things we have mentioned in this article. Thank you for considering the needs of Joy Bible Institute.

Devastating Cyclone PAM

cylcone PAM color

Cyclone Pam was called a “monster” even before she began to ravage the islands of Vanuatu. This massive storm travelled down the length of the country bringing devastation from the island of Pentecost to Tanna in the far south.

Port Vila, the capital city, is located on the island of Efate. Port Vila is the most heavily populated place in the whole country of 63 islands. This is where Joy Bible Institute is located. The island of Efate took a direct hit from Pam. The subsequent devastation, with an estimated 85% of all houses severely damaged or totally lost, shows the power of 320kmph winds.

The capital city is a mass of debris: roofing materials scatter the roads, power lines are down, huge trees are uprooted, house floors sit exposed to the wind, and even concrete walls have been pushed over by the fierce winds.

People who already lived on meager resources are now left destitute. The country’s infrastructure has also been crippled: mobile phone towers buckled, satellite dishes broken, schools sit roofless, government buildings battered, and the main hospital eerily broken and empty.

The great efforts to bring basic services and development to the island nation of Vanuatu over the years have been wiped away with one powerful cyclone. The full impact of Pam, the loss of human life, and the scale of the disaster will only come to light in the weeks to come as the ships take to calmer seas, the small planes land on grass runways, the mobile phones begin to ring, and news comes from all the remote villages and islands still silently suffering.

Please pray and give to assist the wonderful people of Vanuatu.

-Lori Ellison

Project 5764 – Married Student Housing

Just had a wonderful weekend at CCC Midland, Michigan. We received an offering of $10,000 towards the first married JBI student house. It was an overwhelmingly generous gift, an amount we are not used to receiving. We are excited and I can hardly wait to start building.

Phase 1 of the project will include 4 small houses which we estimate to cost $15,000 each. We have been approved to raise $60,000 (4 houses). We now have enough for one house!

married dorm housing

To the left is a preliminary floor plan of the house, small living room, 2 bedrooms and a private bath.

There is no kitchen as we will eventually build a community kitchen and dining hall.

1. Why do we need to provide this kind of housing?

Vanuatu is an island country and our Bible school students are usually from outer islands. Married students have to leave their wife and children on another island while they come and study.

Our students have few resources. They cannot afford to bring their families to town and rent a house.

We would love for them to bring their families but our current campus only has 3 studios for married couples.

You can imagine the difficulties this family separation can bring. Besides, we want to train wives to be partners with their husbands in ministry.

Will you partner with us also? Any amount will help us greatly towards building the next student house.

Send all checks to: Project # 5764, Assemblies of God World Mission, 1445 Boonville Ave. Springfield, MO. 65802.

Click here to give online.