We were blessed to have Pastors Russell & Robyn Harbour, from Australia with us teaching second term at JBI. The Harbours served in Vanuatu for three years before returning to ministry in Australia in 2010. It was great to have them back on the team again for 3 months. The students thoroughly enjoyed the classes they taught. They traveled on the weekends speaking in many different churches and taught seminars.
This past Sunday we were invited to Fres Win Assembly of God church, pastored by Rev. Joshua Malakai. The church is located in a heavily populated suburb of Port Vila called Fres Win (Fresh Wind). It is a growing residential part of the city, with people coming from many islands to the capital city looking for work.
The church is meeting in a temporary structure beside a large half-finished concrete building. Gary preached and after service Lori was asked to encourage the church about their building program. The church members are wanting to finish the building so they can reach more people in their community. They have raised money for materials and worked very hard over the last couple of years and now need some assistance to finish the job. A few tons of cement to finish pouring posts and beams, timber for trusses, and then a metal roof are needed.
After service there was a lovely church potluck and special cakes to celebrate Mother’s Day. Everyone had a lovely time of fellowship.
Jasmine had fun walking around with someone’s tame parrot on her shoulder and made many new friends.
Let us know if you would like to help the Fres Win church.
Hi! My name is Lucy and I am about to fly to the island of Santo. I am going to be living in the bush and working with itinerant preachers Gino and Freddie. They graduated from Joy Bible Institute last year and are now taking care of five rural churches and teach “religious education” in a primary school. I hear that I am going to be in great demand once I get there! Will you please pray for them as they share God’s love to adults and children alike?
P.S. We could really use some reinforcements here…do you have any puppet friends you are not using? Maybe your church kids could take up an offering to pay for the postage to send them to Vanuatu! I can guarantee that they will be very busy here working with JBI graduates!
Gotta go catch my plane…
Thanks so much,
Just recently had two “new” tracts printed in the Bislama language. I say “new” because they were written many years ago by my father and I recently updated the language and had them reprinted. Bislama is the trade language of Vanuatu, where we have 115 languages on 83 islands! People are always eager to read something in Bislama.
Thank you to Light For The Lost (LFTL) for paying for the printing!
In November each year, Women’s Ministries ladies from the 23 AG churches on this island (Efate) meet for an end-of-the-year closing service.
Last night we all gathered at the Port Vila harbor to catch small taxi speedboats out to Ifira Island. Ifira is one of two islands sitting in the Port Vila bay. Over 1000 people live on the island and many of them commute by boat to Port Vila to work.
With 15 to 18 people snuggly fit in, the boats ferried us safely across the beautiful bay to the sandy shores of Ifira Island. The photo (above left) shows the passengers sitting at the front of the boat I was in. Total of 18 people
I was very happy to have Robyn, a visiting friend from Australia, with me. Robyn and her husband lived at JBI for three years and helped us so much. We were so sad to see them leave in 2010 for ministry back in Australia. They have been visiting with us this past week for graduation and it has been so good to be together again.
The first WM meeting that we attended together in 2008 was also at Ifira Island with Roz and Kay. So we took a souvenir photo last night (sadly Kay is no longer in Vanuatu either).
Gift exchange is a happy part of the WM closing service. Ladies line up in rows facing each other and exchange flower leis and gifts. Then someone passes around behind spraying cologne and sprinkling baby powder on heads and necks.
Widows are always honored too. They do not bring gifts to exchange but are given gifts and powdered.
By 10 p.m. the visiting ladies were heading back to the beach where several speedboat taxis were waiting to take us back to the main island.
We will not meet again until 2013!
Twenty JBI students have headed to Santo today for a two week mission trip. Yesterday, they were all ready to set sail but a severe weather front kept the ship at port. This morning it was still very stormy but by afternoon the sun was shining as the “Santo Queen” left port with 18 happy students, spouses, six puppets, boxes of literature, and a whole lot of baggage!
The students have been preparing all year for this trip. They raised all the money to cover their costs, fasted once a week as a student body, prepared a children’s program, and so much more. As graduation approached, the teary graduates have been happy to prolong their time with classmates by a couple more weeks of joint ministry and adventure…this kind of endeavor in Vanuatu is always a bit of an adventure. They are on the high seas tonight, 24 hours of travel time, stopping to unload passengers at several islands and then arriving on Santo later tomorrow afternoon. Once on the island of Santo they will start trekking to churches and villages in bush areas.
Pastor Philip and ourselves will be flying to Santo shortly to join the students. Please pray for us all as we go, taking the Gospel to those who have yet to hear or understand that this Good News is for them.
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!
It was a sunny but very windy Sunday morning when we visited a new church in the Bladiniere neighborhood. This church is pastored by Pastor Kiel, our own JBI Dean of Students. The open building was packed with an enthusiastic group of people for worship. They are currently meeting on borrowed land and would like to buy two nearby house lots for their future church building. Would you like to help them? During the week this church runs a free day school for underprivileged children with sixty-five children currently attending!
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.
The Tafea Province AG Conference was held this year on the island of Erromango, in the southern part of Vanuatu. Gary was asked to be the morning speaker and Jeremy decided to go with him for the adventure!
They were supposed to leave Port Vila and fly down to the island of Tanna on Friday, August 26th, but the cargo ship which was to pick them up on Tanna and take them to the island of Erromango was delayed. So every day we waited for word on the ship until Monday night we got news that the guys needed to be on the flight for Tanna the next day. Sleeping bags and mosquito nets were packed and off they flew to Tanna. On Wednesday, they boarded the T. Uaraken with about 100 conference delegates and set sail for Pongkil, Erromango. The sea voyage took about 4 hours.
T. Uaraken loading passengers and cargo for Erromango.
Jeremy on board waiting for the ship to set sail…leaving Lenakel, Tanna.
The ship was large enough for everyone to sit or sleep on deck during the 4 hour trip to Erromango. At Pongkil, Erromango (below) everyone was ferried ashore in a small boat.
Erromango, is the home island of our General Supt. Rev. Youen Atnelo. Pongkil village is situated in a beautiful bay by a wide river along the rugged western coast. The ship anchored out in open ocean and the delegates and their baggage were ferried by small boat to a rocky outcropping along the shore. It took many trips for all the people, a couple of goats, piles of baggage and cartons of food to be ferried to the shore and carried up to the village. A lovely Assembly of God church sits in the middle of Pongkil village and a large outdoor bamboo shelter and platform had been erected for the five days of special meetings.
Pongkil village, the church (above right) and delegates singing and marching to the official opening of the conference (below).
The conference opened on Thursday, Sept. 1st and continued for the next five days. Gary taught every morning for a total of 12 hours. Various pastors gave morning devotions and spoke in the evening services. On the Monday morning as Pastor Tom Ierongen was giving a morning devotional a 5.8 earthquake shook the place…they are so common here that he never missed a beat and just kept on speaking!
(L to R) Ladies bringing flower leis (called salusalu) to welcome the conference visitors. People listening to morning speaker.
Special choir music and evening crowd.
Prayer time and baptismal service.
The conference ended Monday night, Sept 5th, but the ship which was to pick everyone up was docked on another island with engine problems. A second, much smaller ship was then chartered to go to Erromango and pick up everyone but it too had engine problems and was docked in Tanna. By this time, we were wondering when Gary and Jeremy would get home. Communication was very limited as there are no landlines or mobile phone connections in the village. A twenty minute climb up a steep hill would put Gary in range of the national mobile network so twice he and Jeremy hiked up there and called to give us some much awaited news.
Finally, on Friday, I received a text message that they were already out to sea headed for the island of Tanna in a small boat, standing room only on deck for a seven hour trip! At one point I had a short phone connection with Gary, as he was telling me about the overcrowded boat and a big rainstorm up ahead, I heard several people scream and we were cut off! Needless to say, I was very concerned and went on FB to ask people to pray…thanks to so many who prayed and sent messages! What an encouragement you were to me! That evening they made it safely to Tanna (missing the storm completely) and the next morning caught a flight back home to Port Vila! They had been gone 12 days!
Thank you so much for praying for the conference and everyone’s safety while traveling! Outer island travel is anything but predictable in Vanuatu!
This morning we were invited to speak at Macedonia Church in Paonangisu village on the north side of Efate island. We live on the south side of the island so it was only about an hour away. When we got to church we found out that the fiancé of a young woman in the church had died the day before. This couple had planned to get married a few weeks ago but he became very ill on his home island and never recovered. In light of these circumstances, Gary decided to speak on I Thess. 4:13-18 concerning “our hope”. After service, we had a lovely lunch of fresh fish which the pastor had caught the night before and the children enjoyed running and playing with new friends.
Here are some photos of our Sunday:
Pastor Sope Timothee and the Macedonia Church.
Shaking hands at the end of morning service. Preparing the lunch table.
Jasmine playing “elastic” with the girls and feeding rice to a chick.
Jeremy and friend racing by…while Gary and Pastor have a cup of coffee.
On the way home we were amazed to see an huge private yacht moored out in this quiet bay of North Efate. Quite a contrast.
National WM Conference started this Sunday afternoon with a bang…actually it was a marching military band and a parade through downtown Port Vila that started things off! Delegates from every province of Vanuatu (including myself) in matching island dresses and a large group of ladies from the Solomon Islands marched behind the Vanuatu Mobile Force band up to Saralana Park where the conference will be held this week.
The Conference opened with Royal Rangers raising the Vanuatu flag and a group of Missionnettes doing an action song (Jasmine among them) and then welcome speeches. Mrs. Natapei, the former Prime Minister’s wife graciously came and officially opened the conference on behalf of the government. The mass AG youth choir did a great job under the direction of Matilda. Mrs. Beverly Komasi, wife of AG Supt of the Solomon Islands, was the opening speaker. The conference theme is, “Who Will Stand In the Gap For Such A Time As This?” So things got off to a great start!
Scheduled speakers are Mrs. Beverly Komasi from the Solomon Islands, Mrs. Naomi Vueta from Fiji, Mrs. Agnes Fave from Papua New Guinea and myself. So keep us in prayer!