Cyclone Jasmine headed our way tonight!

JBI Teachers, Pastors Kiel and Philip nailing plywood over the office windowsThis 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. Chapel windows boarded upAfter 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 New classroom boarded up for cyclonewill 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!

The Work Goes On…

P1100007We 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!

P1160011Looks 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!

Women’s Book in Bislama

I thought I would share with you the “behind the scene” story of how our most recent literature project was birthed.

Wan Waef coverOn April 2nd, our National WM President, Sister Wati, was sharing with me her burden for the women she visits in her travels. She has such a heart to help other women grow in faith. After several cancelled attempts, the very first National WM Conference of the Assemblies of God was going to be held in Port Vila in May. She had heard that the women from many surrounding islands and provinces were excited and arranging boat travel to the conference. Reports were coming in of groups of 30, 50 and even 80 women being organized from islands and churches around the country to attend the conference.

The next morning was a Sunday and I awoke with a very firm conviction that I should prepare a book in Bislama dealing with some of the issues Sister Wati had shared with me and that it should be handed out at the 1st National WM conference starting on May 15. Now if you know me, you know that I am not a morning person and I do not wake up quite so focused!

As I was getting ready for church that morning, I kept wondering how I would ever find the time to translate or write such a book in a month! I teach at the Bible school, homeschool my kids, oversee campus renovation projects and was already feeling tired and overcommitted. After Sunday school that morning, Jasmine was sick and running a high fever so she came home and I stayed with her while Gary and Jeremy went back to church. I realized that “time” had just been handed to me so I hit my files and started looking at articles for book ideas. Next I started unpacking boxes of books on women’s issues looking for something to get me started. Within an hour I had a book in hand, “A Wife After God’s Own Heart” by Elizabeth George and started working. I ended up working at the computer for 15 hours that day and whenever I could during the next three weeks. 108 hours of computer work and a few headaches later, I had a 48 page booklet ready for the printer.

Of course, you cannot use someone else’s words without permission so I also began the process of requesting permission from Harvest House Publishers to excerpt and translate into Bislama parts of the first 5 chapters of Elizabeth George’s book. For a reasonable fee, they gave me permission for one print run with a maximum of 3,000 copies. I was quite relieved when the print contract was signed and mailed back to the publisher as I had already spent many hours working on the Bislama text.

I was working on such a tight deadline, that I finished the book and started proof reading it the weekend before the Monday the printer was expecting to receive it. As you know, the person who writes or translates such a long document needs to have at least one other set of eyes to correct it. Renee Webb, our missionary colleague up north, willingly proofed the whole booklet the night before I gave it to the printer and this gave me great peace of mind.

Now none of this would have been possible if I hadn’t had US$4000.00 of Light For The Lost (LFTL) funds already on hand. The local printer crunched the numbers trying to get me as many copies of the booklet as he could within my budget (and the dropping value of the US dollar didn’t help).  The paper for the cover kept pushing me over my budget, until he finally said, “I think I have some paper on hand for the cover which you can have for free if you like it.” The paper had been sent to him by mistake for another job and was sitting on a shelf. So we went back into the print shop and he showed me a bright glossy lemon yellow card stock, not quite what I had envisioned but very good quality paper, free of charge and just the quantity needed! With the cover paper donated I was able to order 2000 copies of the book! The printer had 14 days to produce the books for us in time to hand them out during the conference! When I gave an afternoon lecture on marriage at the conference on Tuesday, May 17th almost 1000 books were handed out to the ladies but that is another story!!

I want to thank my family for putting up with all my extra computer hours during the month of April and much thanks also to Harvest House Publishers for allowing me to excerpt and translate the book, Renee Webb for proofreading, Mr. Michel Pioger, the owner of the Imprimerie de Port Vila (IPV) printers for the free cover page and great print job and all the wonderful LFTL partners who gave in 2010 so we could print one of the first Christian living books just for women in the Bislama language!

National Women’s Ministries Conference

WM ladies parading thru townVMF band

 

 

 

 

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.

AG Solomon Island delegationTafea province WMs

Torba province WM ladiesY girls and Missionnettes ready to march

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!

Delegates being welcomed after parade Missionnettes

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!

Volcano on Gaua Erupting

Volcano erupts on Gaua Island, Vanuatu

THOUSANDS PREPARE TO FLEE VANUATU VOLCANO
Mass evacuation of Gaua Island planned
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 20, 2010) – Preparations are being made to evacuate nearly 3,000 people from the Vanuatu island of Gaua after further threats from its volcano. [PIR editor’s note: Gaua is among the Banks and Torres Islands in Vanuatu’s far north.] The Gaua volcano in Torba province began erupting seven months ago and there has been renewed activity in recent weeks. Government officials have been discussing the logistics of an evacuation, but no date has been set. A Department of Internal Affairs meeting last Thursday concluded there was no alternative to evacuating the people of Gaua to Sola on Vanualava island. From Sola most would be relocated to Leon Bay for up to a year, on land owned by the Anglican Church of Vanuatu. Others would be dispatched to other islands in Torba. The meeting heard that the evacuation needs to take place as soon as possible because the children on Gaua have been traumatised by the eruption and this may affect their studies. Late last year, about 300 residents on the western side of Gaua, who were suffering from the effects of ash and gas, were relocated to villages on the eastern part of the island. (from www.pireport.org)

Please pray for the people of Gaua, an island in northern Vanuatu. This volcanic eruption has been disturbing everyday life for several months and now the growing intensity of the eruption is forcing the population to be evacuated. This comes at a time when our missionary colleague, Bryan Webb was organizing the construction of a new church building on Gaua.