General Conference on Tanna

The President of Vanuatu opening speech

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.

Those honored:Rev. Situ

Chief Lava Niplaui

Rev. Tari Masanga

Rev. Tom Ierongen

Rev. Willie Naias

Rev. J. Kamanalagi

Rev. Nausien Iakopien

Rev. Bob Koapa

Rev. Am TuprikRev. Willie Naias

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.

Women's morning meetingSupt. Y. Atnelo & Rev. M. Cakau

(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.

Altar timeB. Webb translating for M. Cakau

(left) Prayer time at altar. (right) Missionary Bryan Webb interpreting for speaker Rev. Moses Cakau.

Gary speakingdelegates at morning lectures

Thursday morning Gary spoke on “Discipleship” to an attentive group of pastors and delegates.

JBI boothOrdination of Alick Keith

(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!

Baby Harry Dedicated

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.

His name is Harry Joshua Iakota MaimaiP6241649


Rev. Philip NaiasP6241653

M. NicholsonP6241659

Paternal grandparentsP6241668

Pastor Kiel, Faith & HarryP6241680


Youth Sports Day at JBI

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!

DJ JackJob & David

VisitorsQuite a kick!

SpectatorsFottballPoint!Miss V


Unofficial game

Ladies Meet

Wednesday night was a cold, rainy, tropical winter night but inside the Fresh Wota church everything was warm and colorful! Women from many churches gathered together for a wonderful evening of worship and the Word.

Elizabeth Z leadingEkoftau Women's Choir

OfferingFresh Wota AG

Mother’s Day 2012

Linette leading serviceWM Committee at Evangel






Mother’s Day was celebrated at church this past Sunday. The ladies were in charge of the whole service. Afterwards, the men served a lovely meal which they had cooked themselves! Lovely day!

Jasmine reading a poemLadies choir







Mother's day service

Sister Rose








FriendsLongtime friend








WM committee cutting cakeIn line for lunch








Delicious lunchHand-painted dresses

2nd National AG Youth Conference

Saraland Park - Youth Conference

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.

VMF bandMissionnettes

Vanuatu Mobile Force band leading the youth parade. Missionnettes in parade.

Sanma and Malampa delegatesPlatform guests

Youth delegates from various provinces (Sanma and Malampa shown). Platform guests including MP Edward Natapei and his wife.

Matilda directing Shefa choirShefa Youth choir

Shefa Youth Choir and their brilliant conductor, Matilda!


Missionnettes and Y’s performing.

Nat Youth PresDick Hopkins

National Youth President, Emile and Pastor Dick Hopkins, evening speaker.


Altar time after opening service.

Easter Week 2012

Palm Sunday to Easter Monday is a time of celebration and church camps in Vanuatu. This year Gary and I were asked to be the evening speakers at Evangel Temple from Thursday to Sunday. Ladies and children’s choirs sang and performed skits. Wonderful week!

P4010465Gary speakingPalm Sunday WorshipLoriLadies Choir

Shefa Church Women Bring In Gifts

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!

garden produceShefa WM visiting JBI students

Random News

Classroom building nearing completionWith 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 tomClassroomorrow 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 Chapel 2012rebuilding 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!

JBI 30th Anniversary & Graduation

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:

2011 JBI Grads

Rev. Philip Naias - JBI Teacher

Inside crowdStudent Procession

LoriOriginal Faculty: Rev. Robert Laumai, Rev. Tom Ierongen, Rev. Youen Atnelo, Rev. Willie Naias

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.

3 members of 1983 graduating class: Rev. Sam Bongbong, Rev. Michel Sokoliu, Rev. George Zacharie. JBI Principal: Rev. J. Gary Ellison

Greeting AlumniRev. & Mrs. Robert Laumai, served at JBI from the construction in 1979 until retirement in 2009.

Rev. Kiel Maimai - Dean of StudentsRex Bani - Class SpeakerRev. Russell Bakokoto - JBI Board of Directors

Mrs. Karua Jerry graduatingGraduation Speaker: Rev. Youen Atnelo, AOG Supt. and JBI Board Chairman

JBI ChoirOverflow

Rev. Berry Kalotiti Kalotrip - Shefa AOG Presbyter & JBI Board Member Saying Good-Bye

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!

Saama Village Visit

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.

Obas family singingBethany Worship Center, Saama, N. Efate New church building site

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.

New foundation of Bethany Worship Center, Saama village, Efate