After many weeks of walking and riding in buses, we were delighted to finally have our own vehicle. It is a used four-wheel drive Musso. We bought it from a Christian man and the license plate appropriately says “Jesus Loves You”.
The 16th Shefa Province Assemblies of God Conference was held August 26-30, 2007 at the village of Eratap, on the island of Efate. The theme was “Be Doers of the Word” from James 1:22. The Conference started with the hundreds of delegates, pastors, and our family marching down road to the meeting site.
Throughout the week, services and business meetings were held each day. Delegates had come in from several outer islands in the province for this event. We did not have our own car yet so we hitched a ride in the back of our school principal’s pick-up truck to the meetings.
The Vanuatu welcoming ceremony is called Salusalu (corruption of the French greeting “Salut”) and consists of a flower lei being hung around your neck. The unique touch is that people will come around and also douse you with talcum powder and spray you with perfume. When you are well-scented you can return to your seat!
It was while I was standing in this lineup waiting to be powdered that a very dear friend recognized me! Josiane and I had been best of friends when I was a teenager and had not seen each other since 1977!
Gary preached for the closing service. You may be surprised to see him wearing a jacket but it was a windy night and cold by tropical standards! It was a wonderful conference!
Third term classes started at Joy Bible Institute on August 14, 2007. We had only been in the country a week and Lori was recovering from her bout with dengue fever but what a joy to be back in the classroom teaching young men and women! Lori started teaching in Bislama, a language she has not spoken in almost 30 years. Gary is teaching his classes in English. Vanuatu is a country of many languages. There are three official languages, Bislama, English and French. There are also 115 vernacular languages for a population of just over 200,000 people.
Here is the official photo of the JBI faculty and students. Seated on the front row, (left to right) J. Gary Ellison, Lori Ellison, Kay Rudd, Principal Edgell Iolopua, Agnes Fave, Emmanuel Fave and Philip Naias. Second row is the graduating class. Third row is the second year students and the back row is the first year students.