Sunday, November 4, 2012

Conversions Update

The church in Vanuatu has had several conversions of late, many of which have come about as a result of local Christians reaching out to their friends and family.

In Port Vila, Kalkot and Atison were recently baptized.  I studied with Kalkot and his wife, Joana, back in 2006 - she was converted then but he was not really interested in spiritual things at the time.  He passed a message to me shortly before our most recent trip to Vila that he was now ready to give his life to Christ.  We studied the Bible together several times in Sept/Oct, I baptized him, and it is great to have his entire family meeting together with the other Christians in Vila.  Atison is Flexon’s nephew, and we’ve had contact with him and his family in Malekula.  After finishing school in Malekula, Atison got a job with a resort in Vila and moved in with Flexon and Fiona.  Flexon began studying with him (as did one of his friends) on a weekly basis.  Atison realized his need for forgiveness, and was baptized into Christ by another uncle, Jean Claude.

In Etas Village (Efate Island), Joe has been attending public studies visiting the assembly for several months.  He also attended in the PIBC classes in Vila.  Having realized his need to be added to the Lord’s church, and after an impromptu study on baptism with me, he was baptized into Christ last month.

In Yatukun Village (south Tanna Island), Tom has been working hard to teach his extended family.  He taught and baptized his wife’s brother (Jake) and sister-in-law (Anna) a few months ago in Green Pointe Village, his uncle two months ago, and his brother’s mother-in-law, Margaret, last month.  Tom is an exceptional man, and one who takes the responsibility of “letting his light shine” very seriously.

In Lorakau/Loun Village (Central Tanna), the congregation saw four of their family members baptized into Christ one Sunday last month.  Joslyn is the teenage daughter of one of the local leaders (Harry).  John’s wife and brothers were converted several years ago in Etas Village and when he and his wife recently moved to Tanna, he continued his study of the Bible with the local Christians.  Marta is the teenage daughter of Margaret, who was originally converted in Etas and subsequently moved back to Tanna (Margaret’s husband has also been studying the Bible).  Miswel is another one of the leaders/preachers, and he taught and baptized his father.  That was an especially neat story, because his dad is deaf and mute - but also the happiest man you will ever meet, guaranteed.

What’s so encouraging about all this is that, of the ten conversions mentioned, I played a part in only two.  The locals that have been converted over the past several years have matured to the point that they are effectively sharing their faith with others.  In a word, awesome!

And this isn’t about numbers, it’s about changed lives (thus the title, “Conversions”).  We see the gospel of Christ changing peoples lives.  Brawlers have become peace-makers, drunks have become sober, abusive husbands have become tender and loving, lovers of money have become lovers of God and His people, just to name a few.

Indeed, the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).  With whom have you shared it lately?

Atison (middle) with his uncles Jean Claude (left) and Flexon (right)

Kalkot, Joana, Lorenzo and Brenden

Tom baptizing Margaret into Christ

Jake and Anna (and Jake Jr.)

Congregation in Loun/Lorakau

Andrew baptizes Joe into Christ