Check out our September Newsletter:
- General Superintendent eats chili: Real life on the mission field: The devil is in the details!
- Tanna coffee and other eruptions.
- Old friends: Still pastoring after all these years.
- Mission Santo!
Check out our September Newsletter:
On Saturday August 25, we flew to the island of Tanna for the AG General Conference. The conference opened on Sunday with a parade of delegates and a brass band marching through the town of Lenakel. The week of services was held by the soccer field in the center of town. Different groups set up food stalls and served meals all day long for the attendees.
The President of Vanuatu, His Excellency Iolu Johnson Abbil, flew to Tanna to be at the Sunday opening service and presented Medals of General Service to senior pastors and lay church leaders who have faithfully served the Assemblies of God since its early years in Vanuatu. It was very moving to see so many old friends cross the platform to receive their medal.
Chief Lava Niplaui
Rev. Tari Masanga
Rev. Tom Ierongen
Rev. Willie Naias
Rev. J. Kamanalagi
Rev. Nausien Iakopien
Rev. Bob Koapa
Rev. Raymond Clay
Rev. Hopkins Keith Sawon
Rev. Situ Meiri
Rev. David Willie Saul
Rev. Rene Meltetamath
Rev. Dick Joel Peter
Rev. Youen Atnelo
There were some potentially divisive issues expected at this conference and many of you had been praying. Our prayers were answered as the conference was a wonderful time of healing and encouragement. The guest speaker from Fiji, Rev. Moses Cakau, had a timely word from the Lord each morning and evening. The altars filled with people seeking more of God.
(left) The Conference women met together on Monday and Tuesday. Lori spoke at both meetings. (right) AG Vanuatu Supt. Rev. Youen Atnelo and guest speaker, Rev. Moses Cakau, from Fiji.
(left) Prayer time at altar. (right) Missionary Bryan Webb interpreting for speaker Rev. Moses Cakau.
Thursday morning Gary spoke on “Discipleship” to an attentive group of pastors and delegates.
(left) A shed served as the JBI booth at the conference. We sold Bibles, books and handed out applications to potential students. (right) JBI 2008 graduate, Pastor Alick Keith was ordained during conference and several JBI grads received credentials. Alick pastors on the island of Epi and ministers to secondary school students.
Flying home to Port Vila!
Vision for Vanuatu! Latest ministry update from Gary and Lori Ellison. What’s Independence Day got to do with freedom? But can they preach? Students prepare for island of Santo mission. We need prayer for our General Conference August 26-31. Major issues.
Check out our August Newsletter.
JBI Dean of Students, Pastor Kiel Maimai and his wife Faith, dedicated their firstborn child this afternoon in the JBI Chapel. Little Harry Joshua Iakota Maimai was born 6 weeks ago. Pastor Philip Naias dedicated our newest JBI campus baby and Maurice Nicholson preached on Biblical Parenting. After the lovely service, family and friends went to the Maimai’s home for a delicious meal prepared by the ladies of Global Mission Church.
What a great youth sports day we had today at JBI! Church teams rotated continuously on the volleyball court and soccer field from early morning until late afternoon. The kitchen crew prepared food all day to feed the hungry crowd! We must have had 200 visitors, way over our expectations! All the proceeds of the day go to financing the JBI student’s November mission trip to the island of Santo! Thank you to all the friends and families from so many churches who came and supported our sports day! We really appreciate your support!
Sunday, May 13, 2012, was the opening ceremony for the weeklong National AOG Youth Conference. Youth from many islands marched through Port Vila to Saralana Park following the Vanuatu Mobile Force band to officially open the conference. After several speeches and special music, Rev. Dick Hopkins preached.
Vanuatu Mobile Force band leading the youth parade. Missionnettes in parade.
Youth delegates from various provinces (Sanma and Malampa shown). Platform guests including MP Edward Natapei and his wife.
Shefa Youth Choir and their brilliant conductor, Matilda!
Missionnettes and Y’s performing.
National Youth President, Emile and Pastor Dick Hopkins, evening speaker.
Altar time after opening service.
On Saturday, March 31, 2012, WM ladies from AG churches around the island of Efate converged on the JBI campus with an abundance of gifts. They brought bundles of garden produce, bananas, greens and avocados, plus new kitchen items like cups, dishes, and knives to replenish our bare cupboards. A time of singing and devotions concluded with a love offering for the school cafeteria. What a shower of blessing the Shefa WM women have been to us again this year! Thank you to all the generous “mamas” and may God bless you as you have blessed us!
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!
2011 is a special anniversary year for Joy Bible Institute. The JBI property was purchased in 1979 and the first building to be built was the chapel which was dedicated in Sept. 1979. The other buildings quickly followed and the school opened its doors to students in March 1981. Twelve students began their studies that year and seven of them graduated in 1983. Missionaries Ron Killingbeck and Wayne and Jean Guge, both served as principal and teachers during the first two years of the school’s existence.
Two months ago, in a faculty meeting, I reminded everyone that this was the 30th anniversary year of the school and it would be nice to plan a special celebration at graduation. The idea caught on and though we had very little finance or time, everyone was excited and got busy planning!
The first major decision was to rent a tent and have the graduation ceremony on campus. We normally have graduation at a local church because our school chapel is much too small for such events. Next, we contacted former missionaries who had served at JBI and asked for old photos. Immediately, letters and photos started arriving and everyone got excited! The end of August is regional church conference time so word was sent to all the island conferences that JBI was inviting alumni back for graduation on Oct. 30, 2011.
Here are some photos of the special day:
In the photo to the right (pictured left to right) are: Pastor & Mrs. Robert Laumai, honored for 30 years of service to the school. Pastor Robert came to JBI in 1979 and helped build all of the first buildings. He remained to serve as a teacher and then later as maintenance and grounds manager. His wife, Edna, served as school cook. They retired from JBI in 2009. Pastor & Mrs. Tom Ierongen, were also honored as they served on the first school faculty when JBI opened in 1981. They went on to pioneer churches in Vila and on the island of Tanna. Pastor & Mrs. Youen Atnelo, were honored for their 23 years of teaching ministry to the school. Pastor Youen is currently the General Supt. of the Assemblies of God Vanuatu and pastors Evangel temple in Port Vila. Pastor Willie Naias served as campus staff and cook when JBI opened in 1981, with his wife Mary (not pictured). Their son Philip Naias was just a toddler then and today he is a pastor and a JBI faculty member. Also pictured are current JBI principal, J. Gary & Lori Ellison.
We would have never been able to host such an event if it had not been for the help of so many friends. Local churches donated food, Women’s Ministries groups from four villages came to cook and served a delicious buffet meal to over 500 people. A big thank you to everyone who helped make the day a most memorable graduation and anniversary celebration. Thank you also to all the former faculty and students who came and celebrated with us!
This morning we drove up to Saama village on the northern side of the island as Gary was invited to preach at Bethany Worship Center. This church is pastored by Rev. Jimmy Obas, who also serves on the National Executive for the Assemblies of God of Vanuatu. On the church property is a First Aid Post manned by Pastor Jimmy (the only health facility for the village) and a Christian school with just over 100 students.
Pastor Jimmy Obas and congregation have broken ground and started the foundation work for a new sanctuary as they have outgrown their present building (blue building photo above). They plan to raise $100,000 over the next 3 years to complete the new sanctuary. They are currently harvesting mangoes and selling them at the Port Vila fruit market for the building fund. If you would like to give to their new building, please feel free to get in touch with us.
UPDATE: April 15, 2012, The foundation and floor have been poured for the new sanctuary at Saama. Funds needed for the next stage.