It is hard to believe that the first school term of 2012 is almost over and exams are looming! It has been busy! We had a wonderful start with Pastor Randy Blankenship flying in from the US to be our Spiritual Emphasis speaker for the week. At the same time we dedicated the new classroom building and everyone was excited to move in and use the new facilities. It was eleven months of hard work but now we wonder how we ever coped without it! Final coat of exterior paint has yet to be done as the cement still needs to cure. Thank you to everyone who supported and worked to make that new building a reality on our campus! Thank you to ActioNow partners who financed the last stage of the construction and permitted us to finish on time!
Pastor Peter Jones came from Australia to teach English and Study Skills to the first year students this term. He has been a blessing in so many ways, teaching, speaking in chapel and maintenance work. He put up all the finishing touches such as the bathroom mirrors, towel racks, curtain rods and doorstops in the new building. We have so appreciated his help and willingness to serve. Look forward to him coming again with his wife Brenda!
I have been teaching my favorite subject this term, Biblical Archaeology. I have come to the conclusion that there is way too much to explore in one term so I am hoping to be able to split the course into OT Archaeology and NT Archaeology in the future. Next challenge is finding adequate textbooks in non-technical English.
Gary has been busy teaching as well as leading the school as principal. His Expository Preaching students are being stretched and will all be preaching in chapel next term. Every Thursday Gary preaches in chapel and is currently preaching through Second Peter.
We so appreciate all the messages of encouragement and support! We could not be here without your partnership! Thank you!
On February 24, 2012, a small ceremony was held to mark the opening of the new JBI classroom building. The building has a teacher’s resource and conference room, two classrooms and public restrooms. JBI teachers and students gathered to witness this much anticipated event. AG Vanuatu Superintendent, Rev. Youen Atnelo, Pastor Randy Blankenship and JBI Principal, J. Gary Ellison cut the ribbon on the classroom door after a short service.
THANK YOU to Celebration Christian Center of Midland, MI for their generous offering towards the purchase of the new furniture for the building!
It was a tremendous boost to our construction project to have two construction teams come from the USA in 2011. New Life Church of Kokomo, Indiana, and Life Church, Fishers, Indiana, laid all the block walls and then a few months later, Lafayette First from Lafayette, Indiana, put on the trusses, roof and inside ceilings. There have been many local people who worked on the building as well. Our contractor, Ben Saul and his workman, Morres, actually worked from start to finish with me. Other local skilled construction workers came and worked during different phases of the building project. As we neared the opening date, February 24, 2012, skilled JBI grads, teachers and current students all pitched in to get things done! Here are some photos of the final days of work.
Photos above: Morres painting and Ben installing the louvre glass windows.
Photos below: Job, 2008 JBI grad plastering & Pastor Kiel, JBI teacher. They worked hard to plaster the remaining exterior walls. Even working on scaffolding through a rainstorm!
Photos above: JBI students helping around the building site and (right) Pastor Peter Avock, 2007 JBI grad, laid all the ceramic tile on the floors and in the bathrooms.
Photos below: Workers unloading cement bags and carrying in the new classroom furniture.
With the interruption of Cyclone Jasmine last week, we obviously got a couple more days behind in our construction schedule…it didn’t help that some of the bathroom fixtures did not fit properly and we are still trying to get them replaced or refunded. The locally-made hardwood doors did not get delivered and lots of other things! The electrical lights and ceiling fans are all in though and working! We will not be able to paint the concrete walls for another 6 months – time for the lime and concrete to rest. With classes starting tomorrow at JBI we will be squeezing classes into the school dining hall and library to start off and moving into the new building as soon as possible! Official dedication will still be on the 24th while Pastor Randy is visiting with us.
Getting calls from JBI students on outer islands still waiting for cargo ships to stop and pick them up. Shipping was totally disrupted by the cyclone as it created very high seas and kept all boats in port. One JBI student, Hosea called today from Tanna where is rebuilding his family’s woven house damaged by the cyclone. He will try to get a ship on Friday – not easy to leave a wife and children behind when things at home are in disarray. So pray for the students and their families.
Otherwise, the new theme banner “Grow in Grace” is hanging in the chapel and we are ready and excited to welcome students on campus for another school year!
This is our last week to finish the new classroom building at JBI before classes begin on February 13th. Unfortunately, today was spent boarding up the campus buildings because this evening Cyclone Jasmine is bearing down on us from the west! Jasmine is currently a category 3 cyclone and our first big storm of the season. At this point, we do not know how long the storm system will be with us or prevent construction work.
Inter-island ships are in port and planes are grounded until the cyclone passes. This means that our Bible school students will have difficulty getting to Port Vila on time for classes next week. Public schools begin also on the 13th so many people are travelling this time of year. After this kind of disruption, it takes a while for small boats to resume their normal routes. Students are already calling in to say that the boat they were waiting for is not coming to pick them up.
By mid-afternoon, the winds really picked up and stores closed early. We went to get our mail at the Post Office and the postal workers had removed all the mail from the individual boxes. All over town people were buying last minute supplies and putting up storm shutters or nailing plywood over windows. All of the main JBI buildings are boarded up and all electrical items unplugged. Right now, the avocado trees on campus are loaded with unripe fruit but tomorrow most of them will be ruined on the ground. Last year we lost all the avocados in a cyclone and unfortunately, the trees only bear fruit once a year.
So we are praying that the damage will be minimal and after the clean-up we can get re-organized quickly and start our new school year at JBI!
UPDATE: At 11 p.m. last night, Cyclone Jasmine which had been upgraded to category 4, was headed straight east towards our island and town, when it abruptly turned and headed south! We only had light winds and rain. So we were spared any severe damage or major cleanup! Thank you for praying!
We are gaining momentum once again after the Christmas and New Year’s slowdown. Tile is going up on the bathroom walls and floors right now and this is very exciting! Christmas sales were timely, as I was able to purchase all the ceramic tile, toilets and sinks at special sale prices.
There have been some unexpected helpers come our way and we are so grateful to each one of them…Jim and Carol, new friends all the way from Saskatchewan, Canada, for a resort holiday but took 2 days to do construction work! What a personal encouragement that was to me! Thanks so much guys! Then Pastor Peter Avock and friends came by and started plastering and pouring floors! So we are moving along though still needing a few more qualified hands! The whole time Ben has been toiling away every day with or without help! Thanks Ben! More reinforcements should be arriving today!
Looks like we have most of our supplies on hand except the glass for the windows which is out of stock…so pray that it will come in on the next boat!
Still a lot to do in the next month before the students arrive back at JBI! It’s going to be great to be teaching in a regular size classroom with a white board mounted on the wall!
We are so thankful to have the funds to complete our new classroom building at JBI, thank you so much to ActioNow and everyone who sent in end-of-the-year donations! December was very hectic as we juggled the little money-on-hand, bought what we needed and took time to celebrate Christmas. In early December, we desperately needed cement and none was available in the country! This is one of the complications of living on an island and depending on imported goods. So construction stopped! Then right before Christmas, the very first load of cement to come off the docks was delivered to us! (Thank you Carpenter hardware!) This delay, unfortunately put us a couple of weeks behind schedule as the walls should have been plastered before Christmas and not after! At this point, we have scoured the few local hardware stores and have purchased all the plumbing and tiling supplies needed. The classroom chairs and desks have been ordered from Australia – the first shipment is already on its way by boat and the customs duty exemption paperwork in hand!
Next, we need more skilled workers to come and join Ben and Morris in finishing the building…Christmas holidays can really be dragged out here and it is hard to regain momentum. Classes resume at JBI on February 14th and we plan to dedicate the building and move in! Thank for praying for Lori and the work crew as they finish this much-needed building!
The Lafayette team has been very busy doing the electrical wiring and ceiling work now that the roof is on! Today they also went to English class and gave the students some practice with conversational English! The students were quite nervous at first but quickly the room was buzzing with friendly conversation! Thanks everyone for your willingness to help out in other areas!
Pastors Randy Blankenship and Pete Campbell of New Life Church, Kokomo, Indiana (USA) are about to get started on a 400 mile (640 km) bicycle trip to raise money for our new classroom building!
Some of you may remember that Pastor Randy walked 250 miles a year ago to raise money for our project. Well, he is at it again and taking Pastor Pete along for the ride! They plan to start in Angola, Indiana, which is in the northeast corner of the state and ride all the way to Evansville, Indiana, in the southwest corner. Their FB page is called Ride For Joy.
They depart on their bicycle adventure today!!
I know they would really appreciate some pledges for their efforts so if you would like to encourage them and at the same time support our classroom building project, please contact them here.
UPDATE: Pastor Randy and Pastor Pete completed their 371 mile ride from Angola, Indiana to Evansville, Indiana, in just 8 days! They are still happy to take donations for their cycling efforts which in turn go to our new classroom building project.
Since the New Life Church, Kokomo, IN and the Life Church, Fishers, IN construction team left in early July, we have continued work on the new JBI classroom building. Cement bonding beams, verandahs, and rafters were just some of the things done to prepare the building for the arrival of the next volunteer construction team.
A week ago, 12 people from Lafayette First Assembly, Lafayette, IN, arrived to finish the rafters and purlings and begin putting on the metal roofing. By Friday, half of the metal roofing was already on! So they have already made a big difference in the new building! Needless to say, we are all very excited to see the progress and looking forward to teaching in the new building very soon!
The Lafayette team has another week of work before they fly home so we plan to keep them busy until they get on the plane! We are so grateful to all of you who have supported this construction project. We have now spent all the money that has been raised. So we would appreciate your prayers and continued support. We need approximately $70,000 to finish!
On June 28, we welcomed 22 friends from Indiana and Pennsylvania, who flew to Vanuatu to put up the walls of the new JBI classroom building and do various renovation projects around campus. The team was the first construction team we have ever had visit us from our home district in 29 years of missions. So it was quite an exciting event for us! The group was from New Life Church (Kokomo, IN), Life Church (Fishers, IN) and one pastor from Pennsylvania. Even after 24 hours of travel, the team was eager to see the school and the building site so after a quick lunch we walked up to the campus from their motel.
Next morning, the guys started laying cement blocks. Bob McCauley, an electrician, began to fix the faulty electrical wiring as the school had been experiencing many power outages! The ladies got busy with plans to transform a dingy chapel storage room into a prayer room, renovate a new office for Gary, and numerous other renovation projects. What a boost to have so many helping hands on campus for 10 days! The two photos above show the building foundation BEFORE and AFTER the team had put up the walls!
Four different pastors were with the team, Randy Blankenship, Pete Campbell, Nathan Peternel and Dan Peternel. They preached in JBI chapel services, at local youth meetings and Sunday services. Many lives were touched.
The young people in the group came prepared to do a children’s outreach complete with black light puppet show, tricks, and songs. Black light has never been used for any church event here to our knowledge, so the glowing fluorescent signs and puppets were a real hit!! The kids of Blacksand settlement gathered at the church on a Saturday night and were totally enthralled by the puppet program. The puppet program clearly explained the Salvation colors and at the end every child got a bag of treats, a balloon animal and a Salvation bead bracelet.
It was a wonderful two weeks and we hated to see them leave!
We have broken ground and the new classroom building site has been leveled! This happened while JBI students were on their Easter break so everyone was excited when they got back to campus to see the progress! The old classroom cannot be used during the work so the 2nd and 3rd year students are now meeting in the living room of a campus apartment. It is a bit of a squeeze for them but we are hoping that funds will continue to come in so the new building can be finished as soon as possible.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this project! If you made a “Walk For Joy” pledge last year, you can send your donation any time, it is never too late!
Thank you! We have the new roof installed on the student kitchen and paid for! Thank you so much to everyone who responded to our request for $7,400 on May 13th. Only a $1,000 more is needed to completely pay for this new kitchen.
Gary is standing on the hill above the kitchen which gives a good view of the new metal kitchen roof (and the rusty cafeteria roof in the background). The new cement floor was poured since the photo above right. The finishing touches on plumbing, electrical wiring and the chimney are the only things remaining to be done! Thank you so much to everyone who has given sacrificially over the months to complete this new kitchen for the Bible school students!
Job has been busy ever since his arrival in town, assisted by two JBI students, Cedrick and Clovis. Here they are getting the beams up so that the iron roofing can be installed. We need US$7400.00 to cover the timber already purchased and the remaining roofing materials, chimney, concrete floor and labor. Gifts should be labeled project #5619 so they are directed to our JBI construction fund. Thank you for your generous support in this project.
We were making good progress on our new kitchen project but funds have run low and we still need the chimney, trusses and iron roofing materials.
The students are really anxious to move into the new kitchen as they are currently cooking in a shack behind the classroom building. You can only imagine how unsatisfactory that situation is for everyone concerned. In the above photo, second year student Jean Paul is busy cutting Chinese cabbage and watching the kettle boil on the open fire.
We would really appreciate your help to get this new kitchen finished. The photo on the left shows the walls standing waiting for a roof! Thank you for helping with project 5619!