Some have asked what small projects can they assist us with. Joy Bible Institute is in need of many smaller items like chairs, whiteboards, silverware, kitchen appliances and book shelves. But even these items can be very expensive in Vanuatu. There is something else very practical that is needed at the school and by many of our local churches and that is communion sets. We do not need brand new ones but maybe your church has an old set sitting in a cupboard that is no longer used. We would be very happy to receive them and give them out to our local churches. If you have a communion set that you would like to donate, please email us. All you need to do is, wrap it well, put it in a sturdy cardboard box and mail it to us here in Vanuatu. Be sure and write “gift” on the green customs label and designate as of no commercial value. Thank you for asking.
The veranda outside the boy’s bathroom is currently getting a facelift. This is where the male students hand wash their clothes. On the right, is a photo of Jimmy, a first year JBI student, working on the new partial wall which is going up on the veranda to accommodate two new washtubs and counters.
The photo below shows the two original washtub sinks which sit parallel to the new wall. I missed getting a good “before” photo of the sagging plywood shelves which the students used as counters. The guys were so eager to get started that everything was torn out in record time! When this project is finished there will be a total of four sinks for washing clothes, new tiled counters and the unfinished walls will be plastered.
Thank you for your support in financing these projects. We have several more urgent renovation projects which need to be completed before school starts the beginning of February. Your gifts are very much appreciated.
The last two days we have been getting email messages from many friends who have already received the January 6, 2008 issue of Today’s Pentecostal Evangel about Vanuatu. It includes a small article about ourselves and the ministry of Joy Bible Institute. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and interest in the work here. We hope to see many of you in Vanuatu helping us to rebuild the JBI campus or up north assisting in the medical or Christian school outreaches! If you cannot come to us, we thank you for your prayers and financial support towards the work here.
Yesterday, we ministered at Ekoftau Assembly of God and witnessed a colorful Christmas gift-giving custom. The Women’s Ministry ladies of the church filed by the pastoral staff draping a four yard length of cloth around each neck and piling household gifts at their feet. Leis of flowers and leaves were added and baby powder was generously sprinkled around each neck and over clothes! A true celebration here always includes a generous sprinkle of talcum powder and a spray of cologne. By the time it was finished the pastoral staff was dwarfed by the lengths of cloth and colors! Gary and I were not forgotten in the event as the ladies draped material and powdered our necks too!
It has been extremely hot and humid the last few days and everyone agrees that summer has come to Vanuatu! Though for some of us “dreaming of a white Christmas” may mean dreaming of a couple of hours in air conditioning, the 25th will soon be here and the time has come to put up the artificial tree and play the Christmas carols!
Our living room is not going to be in perfect condition this year as we still have an assortment of moving boxes cluttering the house. We have squeezed ourselves in to a small rental house while we wait for our campus house to be renovated. Most of our things have gone to storage for the next year but the Christmas tree and trimmings were kept out. Friday we started decorating the tree with the help of Nicole, a Peace Corps volunteer who came for lunch, and yesterday we finished it. Jasmine and Jeremy are proudly sitting in front of it in their pajamas to see the lights turned on.
In reminiscing, we realized that this Christmas tree has been with us for many years now and that we have trimmed it in Togo, West Africa, Belgium and French Polynesia. We thank the Lord for his faithfulness to us through the years and the doors of ministry he has opened to us. We pray God’s blessing on you and your family as you prepare your heart and home for Christmas.
The visit was really long overdue but it was hard to believe that it had actually been 30 years since we had last seen each other! Pastor Tony and Eunice Hallo, are dear family friends from Australia. What a wonderful surprise for them to cruise right in to Port Vila harbor on a big ship and spend the day with us! Their church had given them a lovely retirement trip and we are so glad they came our way.
Tony and Eunice were friends of Lori’s parents and supported their early missionary work in Vanuatu. Thirty years ago, Lori’s family last visited them and their church in Melbourne, Australia.
We are delighted to inform you that on December 11th the AGWM Executive approved our request to raise $200,000 to build a new library and classroom building and renovate several existing buildings on the Joy Bible Institute campus. Now all donations can be specifically and easily designated for this endeavor by using the special project number 5619. Thank you for your support in this major campus transformation!
The renovation work on the men’s bathroom is just looking great! Here is Gary inspecting the newly laid wall tile and sinks! Compare the before photos (previously posted campus renovations) with today’s … and you can see how much progress we are making. Thank you for your continued support to renovating the JBI campus!
Gary and Job (JBI student and talented renovator) posing in front of the men’s bathroom building. The front wall of this building had never been plastered so Job has plastered it and it will be painted too.
See also Campus Renovations.
We live on the island of Efate, in the Shefa Province of Vanuatu. Throughout the year the Assemblies of God churches of the province get together for special Women’s Ministry, Men’s Fellowship and Youth services. At the end of the year, there is a combined closing service before the Christmas holidays. This year it was held at Bethany Church in the village of Saama, North Efate. Christians from around the island of Efate, gathered on Sunday afternoon, November 18th to worship the Lord together. The service is held outside and people sit on mats. After the service a meal is served.
The day’s theme was “Go, Time Is Running Out” from Matthew 28:18,19. Gary preached from Matthew 24:14.
Sunday, November 4th was graduation day at Joy Bible Institute. Seven young men and one lady graduated after three years of study at Joy Bible Institute. The graduation service is held at Evangel Temple because the school chapel is too small to hold the crowd. This year Evangel Temple was full to overflowing with so many friends and family attending. Here are a few photos of the big day!
JBI students line up to march in for graduation ceremonies.
Gary, the Academic Dean, finishes last minute paperwork.
Graduation service at Evangel Temple.
Miss Olive Tau, senior class speaker. JBI Principal and National AG Superintendent, Rev. Edgell Iolopua, sits at far right.
Academic Dean, J. Gary Ellison, congratulating Peter Avock.
Moving the tassel!
Praying for the graduates.
Congratulations and a few goodbye tears!
Roz and Lori after graduation. After all the planning, they are relieved that everything went so well! Roz, is the wife of JBI Principal Edgell Iolopua. She is the school office manager and accountant.
On September 11, 2007 we went out to Pango village to attend the dedication service of their new sanctuary. It is a lovely building and the prettiest Assembly of God church in the country! The photo on the left shows Gary posing with the pastors and important guests. Lori is posing with Rev. Tom Ierongen from Tanna and Rev. Berry Kalotrip of Pango AG. Pastor Tom was saved under Lori’s parent’s ministry in New Caledonia in the late 1960’s and she has known Pastor Berry’s family for many years too!
The 16th Shefa Province Assemblies of God Conference was held August 26-30, 2007 at the village of Eratap, on the island of Efate. The theme was “Be Doers of the Word” from James 1:22. The Conference started with the hundreds of delegates, pastors, and our family marching down road to the meeting site.
Throughout the week, services and business meetings were held each day. Delegates had come in from several outer islands in the province for this event. We did not have our own car yet so we hitched a ride in the back of our school principal’s pick-up truck to the meetings.
The Vanuatu welcoming ceremony is called Salusalu (corruption of the French greeting “Salut”) and consists of a flower lei being hung around your neck. The unique touch is that people will come around and also douse you with talcum powder and spray you with perfume. When you are well-scented you can return to your seat!
It was while I was standing in this lineup waiting to be powdered that a very dear friend recognized me! Josiane and I had been best of friends when I was a teenager and had not seen each other since 1977!
Gary preached for the closing service. You may be surprised to see him wearing a jacket but it was a windy night and cold by tropical standards! It was a wonderful conference!
Third term classes started at Joy Bible Institute on August 14, 2007. We had only been in the country a week and Lori was recovering from her bout with dengue fever but what a joy to be back in the classroom teaching young men and women! Lori started teaching in Bislama, a language she has not spoken in almost 30 years. Gary is teaching his classes in English. Vanuatu is a country of many languages. There are three official languages, Bislama, English and French. There are also 115 vernacular languages for a population of just over 200,000 people.
Here is the official photo of the JBI faculty and students. Seated on the front row, (left to right) J. Gary Ellison, Lori Ellison, Kay Rudd, Principal Edgell Iolopua, Agnes Fave, Emmanuel Fave and Philip Naias. Second row is the graduating class. Third row is the second year students and the back row is the first year students.