Friday, December 11, 2015

Month's progress

We blitzed the Etas building project in November, knowing that our family was scheduled to depart the country the following month. The local brethren pitched in with some extra help, and we also hired four skilled friends-of-a-friend for the final two weeks of the month.

We were able to render/plaster the interior and exterior walls of the main building, install timber framing for the gables and ceiling, and get the guttering in place to feed the 6000L water tank. We also completed the concrete block work on the toilet/storage block, boxed and poured the bond beam, and screwed on the roofing sheets.

We didn’t quite get the project completed in 2015, but it will be a high priority once we return to Vanuatu in early 2016. Our level of excitement is high, as we dream of all the ways in which the structure and property will be used to promote the gospel in Etas and beyond.

Six Souls Added

It’s always exciting to get the call someone has decided to make their confession of faith in Jesus and be baptized. We got just such a call recently, as 3 couples in Etas decided that it was time to make a commitment.

All six of these precious souls were heavily impacted in one way or another to make this decisions following the cyclone. For some, the natural disaster was simply a wakeup call that the end could come at any moment, and they began seeking how to be ready. For others it was the outpouring of Christian love and provision that came at the hands of so many, both foreign and domestic. All six subsequently attended studies during our week long evangelistic campaign in Etas. Though I could be mistaken, these are no “rice-Christians” (those who make a public decision based on hidden selfish motives of getting something) … we see faith working in their everyday lives, and look forward to helping and watching them grow!

Please be praying for Namah & Mary, Joseph & Agnes, and John & Flora as they begin their walk of faith. Good things are happening :)

Back row from left: Sam (baptizer), John, Joseph, Patrick (baptizer), Mary
Front row from left: Agnes, Flora, Namah

Happy Birthday

Titus is 9! Hard to believe it's been that long since we brought that bundle of joy into our home. Never a dull moment since, and we are grateful for the blessing he continues to be to our family!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Great Ending

We’ve made it pretty clear that the best week of our ministry in Vanuatu took place early this year, as we conducted our first ever youth camp. That set the trajectory for the rest of the year, and we enjoyed being together one last time in “closing” our youth group for 2015.

Though our traditional youth group Bible study plans were greatly inhibited by Cyclone Pam damage, we were still able to meet together each Wednesday night at our house for volleyball, sausage-sizzle (hotdogs) and encouragement. Then, as is customary in Vanuatu, we had an official year-end closing at Mele beach. We enjoyed our largest crowd to date, and I relished the opportunity to once again speak from 2 Timothy 2:2, which has become the key verse for our group. The schools here follow a calendar-year schedule, with the main break being December and January. The kids will have a lot of time on their hands over the next couple of months, and so along with Paul, I encouraged them to “flee youthful lusts” and instead “pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” We passed out rubber bracelets with the inscription “2T2:22”, that will hopefully serve as a daily reminder of the wisdom Paul prescribed here.

We completed the afternoon of fun with snacks (including a birthday cake for Titus!), swimming and games. A few of these kids have already made a public confession and are following Christ, and it seems that several more are on the path towards making that good decision. We are excited about the future, and look forward to more time together in 2016!