The last time I stood on the wooden back porch of the old mission house, the wood underneath my feet gave way . . . Gary grabbed my arm and I grabbed the railing as the plank fell 10 feet below me. I had just been saying that the wooden porch urgently needed to be demolished before someone got hurt . . .
The ground floor of this former mission house is now the new school library. On April 4th, the new library will be officially dedicated and opened. Thank you so much to everyone, churches and individuals alike, who helped finance the library renovation project. We have received a generous offering to buy the 30 library chairs that we needed. The students are still praying for three computers.
The top floor of the mission house is now needing our immediate attention. It is to become the new girl’s dorm and needs be finished to receive the girls in May when the second term starts.
One of our second year girl students lives on the nearby island of Ifira. Every morning she has to leave home at 5 a.m. to catch a small motorboat to Port Vila. Then she walks a mile to JBI arriving in time for her 7 a.m. class. Every week, she asks me when the new dorm will be finished because though she is committed to coming to Bible school, she is finding the travel to and from school exhausting!
As you can see from this recent photo, the termite eaten wooden back porch has been removed and a smaller one needs to be constructed.
Inside, one of the 2 bathrooms is being renovated, an old bathtub removed and a new shower and new sink is being installed. The house needs some other repairs before the girls can live in it. We have NO funds on hand to finish the girl’s dorm renovation. To open, we will also need 4 bunk beds, 8 mattresses, sitting area furniture and 8 desks and chairs. We estimate that about $9000 will be needed to complete this dorm.
Will you please us help finish the renovation on the new girl’s dorm?
Please send all donations to AGWM and designate them for project 5619. Thank you for your continued support.
Good Friday is a holiday in Vanuatu and we celebrated by going to a baptismal service at the ocean. It had poured rain all week long and the day was overcast but it did not rain. Thirteen people from “We Care” AG church were baptized by their two pastors. Afterwards, the church ladies served a wonderful meal and everyone enjoyed a relaxing afternoon.
Pastor Robert Laumai has been at Joy Bible Institute since the first campus buildings were built in 1979. He actually helped to build them and through the years, he and his wife, Edna, have continued to pour themselves into the lives of the young men and women who come to this school. It is no wonder he is fondly called the chief of our little campus village.
Pastor Robert Laumai is originally from the island of Futuna, which is among the most southerly islands of Vanuatu. In the late 1960’s he went to New Caledonia to work and met my parents and more importantly, met the Lord. He was among the second group of Vanuatu students who went to Fiji for Bible school training and upon his graduation assisted my parents with their church-planting efforts in Santo, northern Vanuatu.
In 1979, when the Vanuatu Bible school was to be built in Port Vila, my father again asked Robert to come and help him. Ever since then he has been involved with the school from teaching to his current position as groundskeeper.
What a privilege today to hear Pastor Robert preach in chapel concerning the call of God from 2 Peter 1:3-9 and share from his life experience. He challenged the students to remember God’s call on their lives when other attractive offers come their way. These temporary offers, he said, cannot compare with the life God has planned for them as they follow him. God has promised to “never forsake us nor leave us” and though we may go through difficult times as we serve, He will be with us. You may not know where you will go after graduating from school but God has a place for you to serve and you will learn from every experience.
2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” Pastor Robert has been one of those reliable men who has taught and mentored others and we are so glad that he is still serving at Joy Bible Institute.
It was a cool rainy Palm Sunday here in Port Vila, but that did not hinder the people of God from bringing their palm branches to church and singing their Hosannas! Thought you would enjoy this photo of three beautiful little girls at church this morning.
Tonight the WM ladies met near the wharf and took small boats across the channel to Ifira Island for the first Women’s Ministries (WMC) combined service of 2008. What a wonderful evening we had together, worshipping, listening to choirs, testimonies and the preaching of the Word. One lady testified to the difficult marital problems she and her children had experienced until her husband was sent to prison. She said that in prison her husband found the Lord and brought the Lord back home when he was released! When the next choir got ready to sing, a smiling man came up with a guitar to accompany them and simply said “I am the man she was talking about.” The applause was spontaneous as the ladies thanked the Lord for changing this family’s life.
After service we enjoyed a cup of tea before heading back down to the beach to catch a small motor boat back across the channel. You can imagine the laughter and fun as a hundred or more women got into small overloaded boats and crossed the ocean channel in total darkness!
It has been a few days since I have been able to give you an update on our activities. Our Internet connection has been disrupted the last couple of weeks and some nights we were just unable to connect to the Internet. We normally have Internet connection each night from 8 p. m. to 6 a. m. We thought that even during this time of disrupted service, our emails were still coming and going as usual. But we are beginning to get messages saying that some of you have emailed us with questions about donations and have not heard back from us. If we have not replied within 2-3 days, we have not gotten your email, so please resend any questions you may have. Cyber communication is great but sometimes things do get lost in space! Thanks!
Yesterday after church, I got on a plane and flew 45 minutes north to the island of Espiritu Santo to meet with the media committee involved in planning the upcoming AG General Conference. Going to Santo is always special for me because I spent my teenage years there and my last visit was in 1994. The first person I saw when I came out of the airport arrival was William.
William and I were childhood friends and the last time we saw each other was in 1970 in the country of New Caledonia! William’s parents were the first Ni-Vanuatu couple who came and were baptized in the church my parents were pioneering there in the late 1960’s. So we have not seen each other in quite a few years! What a blessing to be together and catch up on family news!
The black and white photo was taken in 1969-1970 in New Caledonia; William is the little boy on my left. His little sister and cousins are also in the photo. The color photo on the right was taken this afternoon of William and myself after the media committee meeting.
William and a group of committed young people have been reaching out to children and youth in the town of Luganville, Santo. With the assistance of our Santo missionary colleagues, Bryan and Renee Webb, they have rented a building for a new youth center and plan to expand their outreach programs. Please pray that all opposition to this youth center will cease and that they will have the funds to fix up the inside of this building and to buy the instruments and computers for their new program. If you would like to help them, please contact Bryan Webb directly.
It was a wonderful day in Santo and tonight I took the last flight home to Port Vila.
After several delayed departures due to ship engine problems, an alternative ship, the M.V. Northern Star left the wharf this evening with emergency relief for the small southern island of Futuna (see map). On board was a shipment of food which we purchased with Assemblies of God World Relief (AGWR) funds. Futuna was severely hit by Hurricane Gene in January and ever since then we have been trying to get emergency food to the inhabitants. The M.V. Northern Star is the first ship going to Futuna since the hurricane. Please pray that the ship will have a safe trip south to Futuna and that the cargo will be unloaded and distributed without further delay. Pray also for our two Assemblies of God pastors on Futuna, Pastor Michel and family, and Assistant Pastor Maine and his wife who have a newborn baby.
THANK YOU TO ASSEMBLIES OF GOD RELIEF and everyone who donated funds. We were able to ship 825 bags of rice, 120 bags of sugar, 300 bags of noodles, 120 medium size cans of powdered milk, 240 bags of nutritional chocolate drink mix for the children, 384 cans of meat and 144 boxes of salt. We also thank the local wholesaler, Au Bon Marche, for generously adding 120 small bags of powdered milk to our shipment. Three boxes of food and clothing were sent to our pastors and their families as well. Soon this food will be distributed to the people of Futuna. May God bless each of them as they receive and all of you who have given!
We spent the afternoon cleaning and putting library books on the shelves in the new library! We are exhausted after a very demanding school week but very excited to see another renovation project coming to an end! The best part is, there will be students in this room studying next week! Thank you to all our partners for enabling us to make these important changes on the JBI campus!
Thank you to the following churches for special offerings for this project:
Faith Assembly, Orlando, FL – Library renovation
Christian Celebration Center, Midland, Michigan – Library furniture
Northview Christian Life Center, Carmel, IN – Library furniture
Q. What is missing in this picture?
We are moving in but still need money for chairs . . .
We just finished our Spiritual Emphasis week at JBI but it will not be soon forgotten. Rev. Jerry Jacob, from Fiji, was the Tuesday morning chapel speaker. He shared so many practical truths about the types of hands needed to serve the Lord and His church.
Then Tuesday through Friday night, Rev. Bryan Webb from Santo, spoke. He took us through Ephesians 6:10-20 each night bringing out a different aspect of the spiritual equipment needed for service; the sword of God’s Word, the shield of Faith, the breastplate of Righteousness, and the Power of the Holy Spirit. It was a wonderful week!
School is in full swing at JBI and it is hard to believe that we are already in our second week of classes. Gary is teaching Corinthians and Lori is teaching Biblical Archaeology and Geography. Here is a photo of the new freshmen class.
This afternoon we gathered with believers from around the island of Efate for the first Shefa Province combined service of the year. Hundreds gathered at Pango Assembly of God and braved the blistering hot sunshine. Choirs from several different Assemblies offered special music and Rev. Edgell Iolopua, the AG General Supt. of Vanuatu was the main speaker.
We were just recently asked how important our STL “Speed the Light” vehicle was to our work. The answer is, “It is ESSENTIAL!”
When we moved to Vanuatu, we were over a month without a car. The day to day trips to the Post Office, the bank, the grocery store, and the many other errands were time-consuming and tiring without a car but they were possible. We walked many miles during those weeks, rode the bus and once in a while took a taxi. The whole time we were dreaming of the day we would have our own car again!
What was harder during those weeks, was riding the bus to church and ministry to places out of town was impossible! We got rides in the back of a pickup truck to some of our first out of town services but you can imagine how limited we were as to where we could go and what we could do!
The roads around the island of Efate are very rough and even in town, turning off the main road in the rainy season can often require using 4 wheel drive! The photo above was taken this morning as we drove to Fresh Wota, a church right in town! We are very grateful to the young people in Indiana who have raised the money to provide us with a car these many years! Thank you for giving us the wheels to go wherever needed!
Fresh Wota (Water) is a heavily populated suburb of Port Vila. A couple of years ago, Rev. and Mrs. Raymond Clay, started a new outreach in Fresh Wota. We visited them for the first time today and how wonderful to see a wonderful group of believers and a partially completed building!
We were very happy to take Jerry and Karen Jacob to visit this church. Jerry preached and was interpreted into Bislama by Rev. Edgell Iolopua, JBI principal. Three JBI students (pictured above), Roy, Jack and Job are helping at Fresh Wota Assembly of God.
Classes have started again at JBI and it has been a busy week for everyone! Today was the annual school picnic and we all went to the beach! Here are just a couple of photos of the fun and good food!
We ended the day with a short testimony time, hearing how the Lord brought to JBI each of the ten young men of the freshmen class. We are expecting a great school year!