Thursday, May 31, 2012

Staying busy

We are in Vila for one month before heading on to Malekula.  This provides our family with a good “buffer” between Stateside life and village life.  We are staying in a two-bedroom apartment in Vila (you’ll recall that we are no longer renting our duplex in Vila as of December 31, 2011), and it has suited our family quite nicely.  It has a large open space/park, a swimming pool, and is close to a sand-beach lagoon.  There is a small veranda off of our bedroom (2nd-story) which I use as my office.  We have access to wireless internet (pay by the MB), which is a blessing.

Most of my time this month will be spent preparing to teach during our upcoming stay in the village.  It’s hard to believe that we are already half way through our 3-year commitment in Tulwei.  I think things with the congregation are progressing quite nicely.  I have tentatively scheduled out my teaching plan for the next 18 months, which includes youth Bible class (taught by the local men, but curriculum planned by me), youth group meetings, Sunday night Bible class and Wednesday night Bible class.  Topics include NT book-studies, Jule Miller video series, an overview of all 66 books, parables, worship, Calvinism, a tract-based personal evangelism series, and leadership (with a view towards eventually installing elders).  I am very excited about all these things.  I am also looking forward to the installation of our “notice board” in the village, which you may remember us talking about during our presentation.

Outside of the office, I will be getting things together for our regular shipment of goods to the village, continuing to assist Pierre with his medical needs here in Vila, helping Claude with yard maintenance at the Vila church property, and visiting Efate congregations each Sunday.  Being back together with the Christians is such a blessing!  Good things have been happening in our absence, which is very encouraging.  We are so proud of them and their faithfulness to the Lord.

No matter where we are, Shawnda spends the majority of her time as a homemaker.  She is THOROUGHLY enjoying access to a washer and dryer while in Vila.  There is actually a local “kindy” (preschool program) at our apartments, and Lexi enjoys going to it each day from 8-11:30am.  She has already picked her Bislama back up as a result!  Shawnda works on reading with Titus during that time.  We are looking to start a more-formal homeschool regimen upon our return to the village.  Shawnda is also spending time with the local ladies here on Efate.  She studied with a women named Gael a few days ago, and she was baptized as a result (she has been a PIBC student for several years, and attends worship assemblies regularly in Vila).  Shawnda, Gael and two other Vila Christians went to Etas village this morning to take part in their regular ladies Bible study.  In her “spare time” she’s compiling visuals for NT stories (to add to the OT ones she completed late last year) for Tulwei children’s Bible class.

Titus and Lexi are happy wherever they are - US, Vila, Malekula, etc.  They enjoy playing with local children (involved with the kindy or whose parents are employed by the apartments) and visitors from Australia / New Zealand who are staying in the apartment complex.  They have done tremendously well in transitioning back to Vanuatu, and are REALLY looking forward to being back in the village.

We were pleased to have Mike stay with us for a couple of nights on his way back home from Tanna.  He visited the congregation in south Tanna, and one of the men there (Tom) has taught and baptized two people.  That’s what we missionaries call “absolutely incredible!”  That couple walks almost 3 hours one way (with a one-year-old son) for worship each Sunday, and have perfect attendance. WOW! 

Last but not least, we’ve also enjoyed getting caught up with friends from Australia and New Zealand who live in Vila.

God is good!

Fiona, Shawnda, Gael and Kathy following Gael's baptism into Christ

Ladies' Bible class in Eton Village (photo by Lexi!)

Jake, Anna and Jake Jr. walk from Green Point (South Tanna) every first
day of the week to assemble with the church in Yatekun Village

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We're baaaaaaack

Back in Vanuatu means our blog is back online!  Please check back regularly, and we’ll do our best to update at least once a week.

After returning our rental car and one last ice cream stop with Mema, Papa, and Auntie-Leesha, we boarded the plane in Denver (an hour later than scheduled).  Two and half hours later we arrived in LA.  The delay in Denver meant that our 4-hour layover had turned into just 3 hours.  We retrieved our luggage (five 49lb duffles; much better than the ten we brought back last time!) and made the trek over to the international terminal.  The check-in line was about 45 minutes long, but we breezed through security quite quickly.  We were all exhausted as we boarded the plane about 11:00pm.  The 10 hour flight to Fiji was uneventful, and we arrived about 2 hours before our next flight was to depart.  We rested in the departure lounge and boarded the last leg our of journey, finally bound for Port Vila, Vanuatu.  We arrived on time, retrieved our bags, breezed through both immigration and customs (they didn’t even inspect our bags!), found a taxi and checked into our apartment.

Pretty boring report, eh?  That’s because it was our most trouble-free trip home yet!  Even the kids did exceptionally well.  We are in Vila for a month getting caught up, transitioned and prepared.  Lord willing, we will head to Malekula on June 22.

Our furlough in the States was spectacular.  We thoroughly enjoyed every minute, but are glad to be back in our (other) home country.  Many thanks to all of you who made our trip so wonderful.  We look forward to keeping in contact with you all in the coming months.  Lukim yu!