Tuesday, August 26, 2014

At the farm

Being stationed back in Vila as we begin "Phase 3" of our mission work in Vanuatu is affording us the opportunity to spend time with a lot of different Christians. One such instance is our going to the farm each Thursday evening to be with Patrick, Ruth, and some of their extended family.

Both originally from Tanna Island, Patrick and Ruth moved to Efate back in 2005 for work. Mike met and studied with them, and they were both baptized into Christ that December. Patrick initially assisted his dad on a cattle farm, but late last year was promoted to manage a new addition to the operation, overseeing 1,000 head of cattle. The change meant that Patrick and Ruth moved to a different plantation, and allowed him to hire two new workers to assist him. He chose two of his cousins to come and work with him - Frank and Yao.

Patrick and Ruth have lived "in the middle of nowhere" since being on the main island, as most of the cattle are run in the center of the island. Nevertheless, they've been letting their lights shine amongst those they are around. They've always assembled together on Sundays, along with their two young children, and they are regularly joined by their coworkers. When we returned to Vanuatu earlier this year, Patrick asked if I would conduct some Bible studies at their house, primarily focusing on teaching Frank, Yao and their wives. And so we've been going out to the farm for a few months now. We drive on the "big road" (tar-sealed) for about 20 minutes, turn off on the "white road" (gravel) for about 10 minutes, and finally through the gate and across the pasture for another 10 minutes of bumpiness. What a difference a few minutes drive makes when compared to the relative hustle and bustle of Port Vila!

The three families live in a small corrugated steel house (with detached kitchen - on the right side of the second pic below), and run a generator each evening to pump water up the hill for the cattle. That means we have an electric light for our studies. Following our study and discussion, we eat dinner together and visit, while the kids play. Every week is a new experience, and I always come away with a newfound appreciation for the ways in which God uses His word and His people to further His cause and kingdom. We are praying that fruit will be born from these efforts, and that God will continue to bless Patrick and Ruth as they serve.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Whew! We made it...

The title of our blog is "Afta" and it's intended to be a medium of communication through which we tell you what's happening on a regular basis. During the (northern hemisphere's) summer months, I haven't been posting as often as I like. Sometimes I feel like I don't have much to say (our routine seems rather...well, routine), and we've been really busy with lots of visitors. By my count, we've had 24 people come through since June. We've had tons of fun, been greatly encouraged, and feel like much good has been accomplished. We don't have any more visitors scheduled between now and the end of the year, and we are looking forward to getting back to our normal schedule of Bible studies and outer island trips. Of course, we have a "new normal" now, seeing as how we are a party of five!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Youth for Jesus

One of the highlights of our week is always the youth group meeting in nearby Etas Village. Though the group was formed only a few months ago, much good has come about. I've blogged recently about Atison teaching and leading the group, which continues to go really well. The teens are inviting their friends regularly, and we are enjoying 12-18 youth in attendance each week. We've come to think of the regulars as our own kids!

Now we are very excited to share that, over the past two weeks, three of the youth have made public confessions and have been baptized into Christ. Jimmy, Martino and Meriam are also leaders in the youth group, and show a lot of promise for both the present and the future.

Please join us in praying for these young Christians, that they will be faithful and active for Jesus all their days. We are so proud of them. To God be the glory!!

Martino, Meriam and Jimmy - our newest brothers and sister

Martino and Meriam, with their proud parents, Sam and Leimawa