Food Distribution Continues…

A month after Cyclone Pam, food shortages continue to be everyday concerns for many people in Vanuatu.

For urban populations, most food is purchased as few urban dwellers have space for food gardens. The inhabitants of Port Vila and surrounding areas who need cash to purchase food are struggling. Money is being stretched in so many different ways. Houses have been damaged, roofs need to be replaced, clothes and other belongings blown away by the storm. There is not enough money to buy food from the supermarkets and replace everything else. Local neighborhood vegetable stands have not reopened as there isn’t local produce to sell.

The tourist trade stopped abruptly. Hotels and restaurants were closed and employees laid off. Thankfully, some establishments have continued to pay their staff. But taxi drivers and tour operators have felt the loss of income dramatically. A couple of cruise ships have called in to Port Vila in recent days and brought relief supplies as a gesture of goodwill but infrastructure in the southern part of the country is not ready to receive tourists yet.

Food from SantoRural populations in Vanuatu normally depend on their subsistence farming to feed their families and bring in cash. Rural populations do not have grocery stores in their villages. After the cyclone, families quickly cleaned gardens and replanted with any available seed. Some crops like yams were coming to harvest and they are being consumed. Places with yams have been granted a short reprieve. Then there will be a time of waiting before other crops are ready. A hungry time as it is often called.

Kumala packaged for distributionWe have been blessed to receive two shipments of fresh island food from the food gardens of Sanma Bible Training Center on the northern island of Santo. They were just outside of the path of the cyclone and did not get the damage many other islands experienced. Bryan and Renee Webb and the school staff have made such an effort to dig up root crops and send us 26 big bags of produce on the Vanuatu Ferry this past Thursday.

JBI students going to give out fresh food.

JBI students washed all the vegetables and repackaged them into family size bags. Today over a 100 bags were taken to needy families in Port Vila.

We are so grateful to those of you who have given funds for food, much of that through Convoy of Hope. As funds comes in, we will continue to give out food both in the urban and rural areas.


Vanuatu AOG Church National Disaster Committee

On Wednesday, April 8th, I (Lori) was asked to become the treasurer of the newly formed Vanuatu AOG Church National Disaster Committee which will serve as the official voice for fundraising and rebuilding.

Our task is to rebuild church facilities damaged or totally destroyed during the passage of Cyclone Pam (March 13-15, 2015) and to continue food distribution in specific areas of need.

We have met five times in the last 10 days in order to open a new bank account and compile information. We are handing all the incoming damage assessment reports and photos of church properties. The information has been put on computer and priority lists are now in place. We have a few Assemblies of God churches in outer islands which have not yet been visited and their buildings may also be damaged.

Full Gospel, N Tanna

This level of devastation in so many different places and islands by one cyclone, is unprecedented, I believe, in Vanuatu history. 188,000 people were directly affected by this cyclone, having lost homes, subsistence farms, and/or businesses. Our church members are among them.

Fifty-one Assemblies of God church buildings on four different islands have had damage assessments. 31 of 51 are totally destroyed. The remaining twenty churches suffered damage, mostly iron roofs and timbers blown away.

Pastor Hosea, Karimasanga

Pastor Hosea of Karimasanga, South Tanna, (pictured above) is standing in the doorway of their village church. Nothing is left of their building. He also lost his house and many belongings.

Will you please help us rebuild?

Will you please share our need with others who may also be able to help us?


Cyclone Pam Destruction

girl's dorm - cyclone Pam

Joy Bible Institute was heavily damaged by Cyclone Pam. This is a photo of the girl’s dorm lounge and kitchen. The roof blew off and fell inside. Torrential rains poured in and flooded the whole house. The ground floor of this building is the school’s library which was in turn flooded. Water was ankle deep in the library after the storm. We do not know if any of the 3000 library books or furniture will be salvageable.

boy's laundry - cyclone Pam

The roof of the boy’s bathhouse, laundry and workshop was totally blown away.

girl's dorm - missing carport

This is a picture of the girl’s dorm (above) on the left and a pile of rubble on the right. That rubble used to be a very nice storage shed for tools and a carport where the girls hung their laundry. The windows are still boarded up as Cyclone Nathan on the Australian coast was forecast to possibly pass through Vanuatu this week.

admin flat - cyclone Pam

At the school’s administrative office and guestroom, two large trees fell on the building. On the front side, the roof is very damaged and a lot of water also went into the rooms. Visiting teacher, Maurice Nicholson and his son Ian, were sheltering here during the storm. We thank the Lord for protecting them.


Kiel's house -cyclone Pam

On the left is a picture of our Dean of Students house which we just finished renovating in December 2014. New electrical wiring and light fixtures were installed. The bathroom was gutted and redone, new kitchen cupboard added, paint and flooring.

Unfortunately, the cyclone took off the  front half of the roof and water soaked through the ceiling and it collapsed inward. Furniture was also ruined. Another section of the roof went off in the master bedroom.

Pastor Kiel and his wife had a daughter born just a few days before the cyclone hit. They were in this house with their two children and our female JBI students sheltering from the storm when the roof went off. As the high winds were thrashing things inside the house, they ran out through the night to another building for shelter. That is an extremely dangerous thing to do, as flying objects are what often kill people during cyclones. Again we thank God for his protection over them. We are so thankful that the baby was born just before the cyclone arrived as the maternity ward at the city hospital is now damaged and closed.

JBI Chapel - cyclone Pam

The porch roof on the Joy Memorial Chapel was ripped off also. The rest of the roof did not fly away though. Thank you to Michael who came and replaced the steel cables which hold the roof down to the ground a few months ago. Without the new cables, I think the whole roof would have come off.

The three newest concrete buildings to the campus; the classrooms, the married dorm, and the new mission house, all survived the storm. They have some water damage and some buckled roof ridging but all in all they held remarkably well in the face of winds of 320kmph. The students took refuge in one of the classrooms and another teacher and his family camped out in the other.

Old classroom - cyclone PamIn the photo to the left, you can see a tree branch which has pierced the siding of the old classroom building.


There is a lot of school equipment and furniture that has been damaged by the flooding. We do not have a list of everything which we will need to be replaced. We are so grateful to Tony for taking pictures of the damage for us. We are still in the USA and due to return to Vanuatu on March 28.

At this point, we estimate needing at least US$150,000 to begin to adequately replace the things we have mentioned in this article. Thank you for considering the needs of Joy Bible Institute.

Devastating Cyclone PAM

cylcone PAM color

Cyclone Pam was called a “monster” even before she began to ravage the islands of Vanuatu. This massive storm travelled down the length of the country bringing devastation from the island of Pentecost to Tanna in the far south.

Port Vila, the capital city, is located on the island of Efate. Port Vila is the most heavily populated place in the whole country of 63 islands. This is where Joy Bible Institute is located. The island of Efate took a direct hit from Pam. The subsequent devastation, with an estimated 85% of all houses severely damaged or totally lost, shows the power of 320kmph winds.

The capital city is a mass of debris: roofing materials scatter the roads, power lines are down, huge trees are uprooted, house floors sit exposed to the wind, and even concrete walls have been pushed over by the fierce winds.

People who already lived on meager resources are now left destitute. The country’s infrastructure has also been crippled: mobile phone towers buckled, satellite dishes broken, schools sit roofless, government buildings battered, and the main hospital eerily broken and empty.

The great efforts to bring basic services and development to the island nation of Vanuatu over the years have been wiped away with one powerful cyclone. The full impact of Pam, the loss of human life, and the scale of the disaster will only come to light in the weeks to come as the ships take to calmer seas, the small planes land on grass runways, the mobile phones begin to ring, and news comes from all the remote villages and islands still silently suffering.

Please pray and give to assist the wonderful people of Vanuatu.

-Lori Ellison

JBI School Year 2012 Begins

Supt Y. Atnelo, R. Blankenship, J.G. Ellison cutting ribbon on new classroomIt is hard to believe that the first school term of 2012 is almost over and exams are looming! It has been busy! We had a wonderful start with Pastor Randy Blankenship flying in from the US to be our Spiritual Emphasis speaker for the week. At the same time we dedicated the new classroom building and everyone was excited to move in and use the new facilities. It was eleven months of hard work but now we wonder how we ever coped without it! Final coat of exterior paint has yet to be done as the cement still needs to cure. Thank you to everyone who supported and worked to make that new building a reality on our campus! Thank you to ActioNow partners who financed the last stage of the construction and permitted us to finish on time!

P3060361Pastor Peter Jones came from Australia to teach English and Study Skills to the first year students this term. He has been a blessing in so many ways, teaching, speaking in chapel and maintenance work. He put up all the finishing touches such as the bathroom mirrors, towel racks, curtain rods and doorstops in the new building. We have so appreciated his help and willingness to serve. Look forward to him coming again with his wife Brenda!

Students coloring Bible Lands mapsI have been teaching my favorite subject this term, Biblical Archaeology. I have come to the conclusion that there is way too much to explore in one term so I am hoping to be able to split the course into OT Archaeology and NT Archaeology in the future. Next challenge is finding adequate textbooks in non-technical English.

Gary has been busy teaching as well as leading the school as principal. His Expository Preaching students are being stretched and will all be preaching in chapel next term. Every Thursday Gary preaches in chapel and is currently preaching through Second Peter.

We so appreciate all the messages of encouragement and support! We could not be here without your partnership! Thank you!

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

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!

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!

JBI 2011 Class Photo

JBI 2011

We have been so busy this year but today we paused for a school photo. Not everyone was present but we went ahead anyway. Graduation is coming up on Oct. 30, 2011 with 4 students graduating each returning to a different island for ministry. Thank you for your prayer and financial support this year.

Lafayette Team

Rick the electricianSherry and Jonah in English class

ScottCarolyn and David in English class

The Lafayette team has been very busy doing the electrical wiring and ceiling work now that the roof is on! Today they also went to English class and gave the students some practice with conversational English! The students were quite nervous at first but quickly the room was buzzing with friendly conversation! Thanks everyone for your willingness to help out in other areas!

On Your Mark! Get Set! Go!

Walk For JoyPastors Randy Blankenship and Pete Campbell of New Life Church, Kokomo, Indiana (USA) are about to get started on a 400 mile (640 km) bicycle trip to raise money for our new classroom building!

Some of you may remember that Pastor Randy walked 250 miles a year ago to raise money for our project. Well, he is at it again and taking Pastor Pete along for the ride! They plan to start in Angola, Indiana, which is in the northeast corner of the state and ride all the way to Evansville, Indiana, in the southwest corner. Their FB page is called Ride For Joy.

They depart on their bicycle adventure today!!

I know they would really appreciate some pledges for their efforts so if you would like to encourage them and at the same time support our classroom building project, please contact them here.

UPDATE: Pastor Randy and Pastor Pete completed their 371 mile ride from Angola, Indiana to Evansville, Indiana, in just 8 days! They are still happy to take donations for their cycling efforts which in turn go to our new classroom building project.

JBI Teacher Gets Married

On Saturday, July 23, 2011, Pastor Kiel married Faith in the school chapel. Pastor Kiel Maimai is our JBI campus pastor and a teacher. It was so nice to have another campus chapel wedding! It was a beautiful ceremony performed by Pastor Bessie Fong. The bride was radiant and smiling and the groom very pleased. After the ceremony, the groom’s relatives serenaded and marched the bridal party up to the top of the hill where a wedding feast was laid out. Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. K. Maimai and a warm JBI welcome to you both!

Kiel and Faith's weddingHappy couple

Tanna family accompanying the bridal party to the receptionBridal party walking to the wedding feast

Walk For Joy!

Recently, Pastor Randy Blankenship of New Life Church, Kokomo, Indiana (USA) phoned and said he had been praying about how he could help raise money for the much needed classroom building at Joy Bible Institute. He said he felt like God had given him an idea that morning while he was walking and wanted to tell us about it.

You can imagine our surprise when he told us of his intention to ask people for pledges and to “Walk for Joy” the whole length of the state of Indiana, from Jeffersonville to South Bend, a total of 250 miles (400km)! If enough people supported him at $1 per mile, he could raise the money needed to build our building!

Pastor Randy Blankenship We have never had anyone willing to sacrifice 10 days of their busy life to consecrate solely on raising money for us or one of our mission projects and we are still amazed by his willingness!

So if you don’t want to walk, would you be willing to support someone who else who is willing to do something crazy to further the ministry of Joy Bible Institute in Vanuatu?

You can contact us through this website or go on Facebook to the Walk For Joy page and make a pledge there. Pastor Randy wants to start walking on October 18, 2010 so he wants to hear from you soon. Thanks.