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On the 18th of January, we started clearing the JBI off-campus property where we plan to build some small houses to accommodate married JBI students and their families.

Most of our married students come to JBI from outer islands. Until we built the three small apartments on campus in 2013, husbands left their families behind to come to Bible School for 9 months at a time. You can imagine the sacrifice and difficulty in doing so. But rented rooms in Port Vila are way beyond the budget of our students.

Providing simple housing for married JBI students has been on our priority list ever since we came to JBI in 2007.

We have some money for this project and planned to start building last year. That was before Cyclone Pam hit us and left widespread destruction! Major repairs to the JBI main campus buildings started last March, required our immediate attention, and are now ongoing as funds permit. But “Our Village” needed to be started!

Notice the trees in the photo above, they survived the cyclone but are forever bent from the high winds. Most of the trees on this property were lost.

This week has been spent clearing the 2500m2 property which is actually in a newer subdivision called Beverly Hills, just a 10 minute walk from the JBI main campus. We had never seen the land totally cleared, so we were excited to find the boundary stones and see visually just how big it is! In the photo below I am standing (white speck in red circle) at the end of the fence, all the land to the right of the fence is JBI’s!

Our long term goal for this property is to have at least eight small student houses, a communal kitchen, and a daycare to serve the JBI families and as an outreach to the community.

THANK YOU again to those who helped us buy the property in 2014 and finance the building of the first two houses!

Joy Bible Institute – Married Student Housing Project #5764

 

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I was so very excited to see the progress on the Green Hill Teouma Primary School today! It is looking wonderful!

The new school year starts in February in Vanuatu and we want the building to be completed for the teachers and children, who lost their school building to Cyclone Pam 10 months ago.

On the downside, work on the school stopped today because we ran out of money. We still need louvre windows, paint, ceilings and worker’s wages. All US donations can be sent to: AGWM, 1445 Boonville Ave, Springfield, MO. 65802 USA. The project #5778 Green Hill Teouma Rebuilding. Thank you!

Gr Hill 23 /12/15 

Photo above: to the right of the school sign, the first shelter is the temporary church with a silver plastic tarp for a roof and behind the church is a new green metal roof building. The green roof building is the new 3 room classroom building for the primary school. Cyclone Pam destroyed the church and school in March.

I was very excited on December 23, to go up to Green Hill Teouma and check on the progress of the new building. Since the rains have started, the road to Green Hill is an hour long 4 wheel drive mud adventure. A group of nine men have been working for a several weeks on the new school building and I was anxious to see what they had accomplished since my previous visit.

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The roof is on!

It has been a challenge to build so far off the main road. Most hardware stores and suppliers will not deliver to Green Hill so we have had to use a 4WD pick-up truck to haul materials. We started in November pouring the concrete slab in severe drought conditions, which necessitated the hauling of water from 45 minutes away to mix the concrete. Then when we got ready to put on the roof, the rains started and the road is now flooded! We are happy for the rain as the community had emptied their drinking water tanks!

To this point, the new school building has been financed by ACCIR in Australia. We are so grateful for their partnership. The siding for the building and doors have already been purchased but we are lacking funds for some important items to finish it:

US$3000 – one more month of worker’s salaries

US$700 – masonite sheets for the ceiling

US$700 – timber for knockings

US$1200 – louvre window frames and glass

US$2000 – wood primer and paint

Please label donations for Green Hill School Project #5778 if you are donating through AGWM. Thank you!

 

Rangorango Since Cyclone Pam struck in mid-March, I have found myself going to the end of so many roads. Roads I never really paid attention to. Roads I never thought went anywhere. These roads have taken me to hundreds of people I never knew existed, living in small settlements tucked away in the hills, all within an hour of Port Vila.

On Sunday, we were able to go to the end of yet another road and visit the people of Rangorango.  Pastor Charley Job (JBI grad) has supported this new church plant and wanted us to see it. He sent a 4 wheel drive vehicle to pick us up as the road is not very good.

an AG church on hill

The pastor of the Rangorango church, is a 2013 JBI graduate, Pastor David Willie.  The people living in these hills are from his home island of Tanna and the majority of them are truly unreached.

It sounded like a short drive, “just follow the road to the end of the airport runway and go up the hill.” But to get to the Rangorango church, you keep driving up and over many high hills and sliding through some muddy low areas. When you are almost at end of the road, you turn off into the tall grass and keep going until you get to a big tree. We parked there and walked down a path. Sitting high on the side of a hill is a clearing with a large shelter covered in various colors of plastic sheeting and a small house, this is the Assemblies of God church. It was so wonderful to see Pastor David and within minutes, people started appearing from different directions until the church was full.

Preaching at Rangorango AG churchThe church shelter had recently been rebuilt along with a small one-room house for the pastor and his family. Everything had blown away in the cyclone and recovery has been slow.

Gary had already preached on the radio that morning at 8 a.m. but he was happy to preach again. We had a wonderful service and several came forward for prayer.

Rangorango church

After service, I was asked to make an address on the importance of education, a first for me. Pastor Charley Job is very concerned because there is not a school anywhere in these hills. The children either have to be sent to live with relatives elsewhere to attend school or they stay home and miss out. The families connected to this small church alone have at least 50 children amongst them. The community needs at least a kindergarten. Pastor Charley has started schools elsewhere and wanted me to encourage them to start a kindergarten.

Children of Rangorango

After a lovely lunch, we headed back to town.

Later the community had a meeting and it was decided to start a kindergarten at the church in 2016. This will be a wonderful way for the church to reach out to all the children in this area.

They will build a one room schoolhouse and look within their community for a teacher. Pastor Charley and the Green Hill Primary School will help them organize and we want to help them with some basic furniture and school supplies.

Will you help us provide some basic school supplies for the children of Rangorango?

I was so impressed when I visited the primary school at Teouma Green Hill on the 22nd of April 2015. It had only been a few weeks since Cyclone Pam had devastated the southern half of the country. The upper Teouma farming community had been destroyed by the category 5 cyclone. The Green Hill School, started by Pastor Charley Job, had lost every building, most of their furniture, and books to the violent winds. But the headmaster had rallied his teachers and the community and by April 22nd they were back in class. This was truly a remarkable sight as teachers propped their blackboards on the ground and students huddled together on the grass to do their lessons. A hodgepodge of donated plastic tarps provided a roof over each class. It was an amazing effort to move on after an unprecedented disaster and I knew that others would want to assist and encourage such resilience.

Green Hill 22 April Teacher Gr Hill

The first commitment to finance a new class building for these children came from the Australian Christian Churches International Relief (ACCIR) and I am forever grateful to them for their partnership and trust. A building plan for a simple 3 classroom building was drawn up and paperwork signed.

Once the funds were in hand, the process of purchasing the materials and getting them up the 4WD bush road began. The delivery process took much longer than expected. Most local businesses did not want to send their delivery trucks off road. A big thank you to MCI for being the only coral and sand distributor willing to deliver all the way to the school site. Wilco Hardware and Bluescope Roofing also graciously delivered. But for the remaining tons of materials, cement, wood, rebar, and eventually water, local pick-up truck drivers had to be hired to make the deliveries.

A couple of months after Cyclone Pam, Vanuatu was hit by an ElNino drought and all rain ceased. Most people in Vanuatu are not connected to a water supply but rather depend on catching rainwater. The prolonged drought greatly improved the delivery conditions of the road to Teouma which most of the time is a slippery, rutted four wheel drive mud road. On the hand, the drought has prevented the market gardening community of Teouma from regaining its normal cash income and caused great hardship. Crops were replanted promptly post-cyclone but the harvest has been meager.

On November 23, 2015, reconstruction officially started on the Green Hill Primary school. The community had fundraised to purchase tools, buy fuel for the generator to run the cement mixer, and host temporary construction workers.

Cement slab Gr Hill Construction at Gr Hill

Everyone had been stocking water in tanks and containers to use in the pouring of the cement floor. The water on hand ran out half way through pouring the cement slab. Again the community rallied by filling water containers at a nearby lake and bringing it to the worksite. The workmen continued to mix cement as the people brought water. The cement slab was finished this past week. The rest of the building is a wood construction so there will be less need of water.

If you would like to assist the rebuilding of the Green Hill Primary School, we are currently needing funds to buy school desks and chairs. A second classroom building will also be started in early 2016 and about $40,000 US is needed.

For months we have had ongoing problems with our internet service. We changed internet providers and then went back to our original provider. There is an overall technology problem in the city and it is beyond our control at this point. We hope that the system will improve in 2016. In the meantime, our email capabilities have been reduced to sometimes one brief connection per day. Internet browsing has become a rare event and loading a photo to our blog or even FB basically impossible. There is so much that has been happening and we are so anxious to share it with you. We apologize for the lack of update on our website.

For months we have had ongoing problems with our internet service. We changed internet providers and then went back to our original provider. There is an overall technology problem in the city and it is beyond our control at this point. We hope that the system will improve in 2016. In the meantime, our email capabilities have been reduced to sometimes one brief connection per day. Internet browsing has become a rare event and loading a photo to our blog or even FB basically impossible. There is so much that has been happening and we are so anxious to share it with you.

IMG_4704On Sunday, November 22rd, the Joy Bible Institute 2015 graduation service was held at Evangel Temple. The church had been severely damaged by Cyclone Pam and was undergoing renovations right up until the night before. The pastor, church members and building contractor worked very hard to complete the inside sanctuary in time for our graduation.

2015 JBI Grads 

Eight wonderful men and women made up the 2015 graduating class. They are from five different islands in Vanuatu. John Nampas from Santo was the class speaker. Rev. Dave Wood, newly arrived PAOC missionary from Canada and new pastor of the English-speaking International Church which meets at JBI was the graduation speaker.

2015 Grads Student Speaker John Nampas

JBI choir  Commissioning of Grads

We had a wonderful service. The church was packed with hundreds of friends and family members. And at the end of the afternoon, while the graduates were still in the receiving line, it began to rain! After months of drought, we have been praying for rain so we all soaked it up!

Missionary Dave Wood Church of Christ Rev. L. Tari

Receiving line Lina, Deborah, Lori

Please pray for our JBI graduates as they return to their home islands that they will be mightily used and please continue to pray for more rain to end our current drought in Vanuatu.

A few miles out of town, you turn off the main road and head up a track made only for 4wheel drive vehicles to get to Green Hill, Upper Teouma. The road is deeply rutted, flooded, muddy, and a challenge to the best of drivers! The trip takes about 45 minutes if you do not get bogged down along the way.

IMG_0434Until Cyclone Pam, I confess I had never been there, I was always told that our car could not make it. (It most definitely would not!) I knew there were several Assemblies of God churches in the upper hills of Teouma and would see the pastors and their wives at various gatherings in town.

In April, the newly formed National AG Disaster Committee, hired a Landcruiser and driver and headed out for a damage assessment trip to Teouma. We had already done assessments of easier to reach churches and communities.

A month after the cyclone, the long grasses had grown but the trees were still mostly stripped of leaves, branches broken, and many completely uprooted. Teouma is a market gardening community, nestled high in the hills. The cyclone whipped over these high plateaus ferociously, ripping crops out of the ground and blowing away every building in some settlements. It was a sobering drive.

Our first stop was to Pastor Charley Job in Green Hill. Every building in their area blew away except his small cement block house. Their house had safely sheltered all the nearest neighbors during the storm. After the cyclone, they stepped out of their house to find their primary school gone, the church building gone, and the nearby church’s widows house also gone. The winds were so violent that almost nothing of the school was found within walking distance. They recovered only enough to rebuild a shed to store relief and donated school supplies in.

Pastor and Mrs. Charley Job Green Hill Primary School

Green Hill Primary School had just reopened for classes the morning of our visit. Not all the children were back in school but the principal and teachers were doing their best under teach. Salvaged wood and donated plastic tarps were the new classrooms. Children sat mostly on the grass, as very few desks and chairs survived the cyclone. Normally 120 children attended this school.

Teacher at the blackboard Temporary classrooms

I can tell you that I promised them that day to write letters and find someone to help them rebuild. Many damaged schools in town had not even begun to reopen when this school, which had lost everything, was back in session.

Pastor and Mrs. John YalsiFrom Green Hill we came back down to visit Pastor and Mrs. John Yalsi of Red Ground, Teouma. Their farming settlement is perched high on a cliff overlooking the Teouma River Valley. It is a beautiful spot but was completely devastated by the cyclone. Everything was destroyed including their church. Even the cement walls crumbled. The church members climbed down the high cliff to recuperate metal roofing sheets and things for their houses. In the photo above, the pastor and his wife are standing in front of the ruins of their church. When we stopped to see them, they were busy in their gardens replanting crops to take to market in Port Vila. Until they had crops to sell, they would have no income.

After a short visit, some words of encouragement and gifts of rice and meat, we continued on down the hill towards another Teouma church pastored by Pastor John Yalu.

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Pastor Yalu and his congregation, had used fallen coconut trees, bamboo, and blue plastic tarps to make the nicest temporary church I had seen. He was concerned that day because his wife had been away during the cyclone and was coming home to a house without a roof (photo on the right). We gathered with some of the church members and heard how God had protected them. Again after leaving some food, we continued on our way to visit other pastor and other destroyed church buildings.

The Assemblies of God had 30 church buildings completely destroyed and another 20 severely damaged by Cyclone Pam. Many pastors and their members lost their homes and their incomes. Thank you for praying and giving to help us rebuild churches in Vanuatu destroyed by this cyclone. If you haven’t yet given, we need your help. Please send all gifts to our AGWM account and label them for cyclone rebuilding.

JBI Boy's bathroom damageRoof repairs

Cyclone Pam took the roof off this building which houses the boy’s bathrooms, their laundry, and the school workshop. Colton and Karmen worked really hard to get the roof back on to give everyone some privacy. The plumbing and electrical wiring still needs to be fully repaired but we have come along way in a few months.

 Finishing roof repairsKarmen

Thank you to everyone who gave to help us get this building repaired!

Some of you have been following our rebuilding on fb and I apologize to those who look for news here because I have not been updating this site. I promise to do better! The hours have been insufficient to get everything done.

The JBI girl’s dorm is now repaired and the girls are enjoying their new home again! The whole roof was replaced, with new timber structure and metal roofing. Then we went inside and had to replace all the ceilings, electrical wiring, ceiling fans, and light fixtures. New low energy and LED lighting was chosen and this will make a big difference in the school utility bill. We found that wall studs inside standing walls and window frames had actually been snapped by the force of the winds and so most had to be replaced. Damaged and water-logged inside plasterboard walls were removed too. Everything was repainted. New curtains were sewn by a married student’s wife. We are waiting for the new kitchen cupboards to be delivered and then it will be finished. It already looks wonderful!Cyclone damaged girl's dorm Calo & Jeffery in repaired room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above left is the BEFORE photo of girl’s kitchen and living area destroyed by the cyclone. That rusty metal roofing in the room doesn’t not even belong to this house.

Photo above right is the AFTER showing the same corner. Just missing the kitchen cupboards.

Bryan and Michael Tarps for the girl's dorm Don on the tall ladder

The JBI students were fabulous. They got up on broken roofs and nailed wood and waxed tarps in place (photos above). A big thank you to Steve & Helen Blake of Liberty for the Nations, for giving us rolls of waxed tarpaulins. The tarpaulins were donated by WCT of Australia and were so strong. Many campus roofs were covered in this WCT material for many months until funds came through to repair.

Calo and Colton Progress

Thank you to Colton Cravatt, MAPS Construction volunteer from the USA, He spent three months with us helping to repair several campus buildings. On May 30, I (Lori) fell and fractured my knee and Colton stepped up and kept things going. Thank you also to Calo and Jeffery, local workers who worked on the girl’s dorm giving it all the finishing touches needed. Also to John Betuel, an electrician who came on weekends and installed new wiring and fixtures.

Finally, thank you to Australia Christian Churches ACCIR, friends in Belgium and supporters in the United States, because of your financial gifts were able to repair the JBI girl’s dorm! THANK YOU!

On July 31, David and Carl arrived from Indianapolis, IN (USA) to spend two weeks on campus helping with post-cyclone repairs. They did a lot of different things from building rails for the administrative building porch, to laying cement blocks, demolition, and new framing on the damaged staff house. We are so thankful for their willingness to just come and help out wherever they were needed. Thank you also to Lakeview Church, Indianapolis, for their generous gift to rebuilding the JBI campus!

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We are hoping you will come again!

Rhonda, a dear friend in New Zealand, contacted me shortly after Cyclone Pam and wanted to know what she could send to help. I knew that rice and basic food was being distributed already so I asked for used clothes and bedding. So many people had all their belongings blown away in the cyclone that it seemed like used clothing would be helpful. She took up the challenge and mobilized friends and they collected, sorted, washed and packed lovely clothes for Vanuatu and in the end a whole 20ft container was shipped.

On Thursday, May 21, I got a message asking me to come the next morning and empty the container. I hired a truck and took along Jeremy, Pastor Kiel, and a handful of JBI students. It took us about 6 hours to unpack and take all the boxes to JBI to organize our distribution.

Opening #Vanuatustillsmiles

Since then we have delivered clothes to community groups and churches, who in turn have shared them with their members. I have met a lot of new friends and drove down unfamiliar roads while delivering clothes to needy communities. Everywhere people have been so grateful for the unexpected gift of clothes, shoes and bedding.

Vanwoods Seaside Erakor village

Fres Win Seven Star

Rentapao Bridge Teouma

I honestly never knew, how many boxes of clothes could be packed into a 20ft container. We piled a JBI classroom high with boxes and took truckloads of boxes to nine communities the first day. The room looked just as full afterwards! We have continued to deliver clothes and then asked others to come by and pickup boxes.

Beverly Hills Teouma Red Ground pickup

Jasmine and Jeremy have been a great help. Jasmine organized the boxes as they arrived to the JBI classroom. Jeremy helped empty the container and reload trucks. The JBI students generously worked during their school break and made deliveries. Thanks also to Floyd for lending his truck for deliveries in town.

Jeremy & the empty container Clothes depot

And THANK YOU to our New Zealand friends who blessed so many people with lovely clothes, shoes and linens!

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed towards repairing the JBI campus after Cyclone Pam. We were able to buy new metal roofing and timber, and order cyclone screws and brackets from Australia because of your donations.

Girl's dorm kitchen areaAs funds and building materials became available, we were able to gather a local work crew to start repairs on the urgently needed girl’s dorm. The girl students have stayed in several different places on campus in the last couple of months as their dorm was inhabitable. They are anxious to get back in their own rooms.

MAPS volunteer, Colton Cravatt, joined us on May 8, to help build. He is on his summer break from Ozark Bible Institute.

There was a lot of debris to clean out of the damaged upper floor of the girl’s dorm. Part of the kitchen and living room roof was totally blown away by the cyclone. The rusty metal roof sitting in the kitchen area did not even belong to that building or any other building on campus from what I can tell! (see photo above).

The blue kitchen cupboards are not salvageable, water damage has completely ruined the MDF. The solid wood countertops will be sanded down and re-varnished to use on the new cupboards which will be made locally.

Jerry Jacob and Colton CravattCleaning out damaged kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New timber roof structure was added as the roof was replaced. Cyclone strapping, brackets, and special screws were used to insure this roof will withstand the next cyclone. As sections of the new roof were finished, the electrician ran new electrical cables. New ceilings were needed everywhere as the old drop ceiling panels were whipped to pieces. The new plywood ceiling is being completed this week and energy-saving LED lights will be installed. The electrical wiring and light fixtures had really needed updating so this is a real bonus.

Girl's sitting area electrician at work

Replacing the dorm roof

It is hard to believe that it is already 2 months since Cyclone Pam ravaged the central and southern islands of Vanuatu. I wish I could tell you that things are back to normal, but that is not the case. For many people rebuilding has not even started. Families are still in makeshift shelters or roofs still covered in tarps. It has only been in very recent days that fresh vegetable stalls are reopening. The produce is limited to a couple fast-growing crops like green beans and Bok Choy cabbage. But it is encouraging to see that the farmers are beginning to have a small income and we have a few vegetable options.

At JBI, about 3 weeks after the cyclone, we were able to get several sheets of iron roofing to fix a couple of roofs with minor damages. As the weeks progressed, building materials got harder to find and the waiting list for lumber and roofing materials got longer. Nails, screws and other basic supplies disappeared from the hardware shelves. Many of these things, we have had to specially order now.

While we waited, the open roofs allowed rain to continue to pour in and cause more damage. It was a frustrating time as we only had enough tarp to cover one building and three others were left open to the elements.

A big thank you to Steve and Helen Blake for giving us enough roof canvas material donated by an Australian company, Wax Converters Textiles WCT, to cover up our remaining damaged buildings.

Bruan and Michael stapling canvas  Chapel crew putting canvas over  damaged roof Canvas on girl's dorm

The JBI students have gone beyond the call of duty this term and worked so hard to cut up the fallen trees, cover campus roofs, relocate to smaller rooms, and distribute relief food.

Iron roof deliveryAfter a month of waiting, on May 9th, we received the roofing to fix the girl’s dorm and the guy’s bathroom/workshop building. The cyclone roofing screws arrived a couple days later so the work could begin. So a small crew has been busy taking the remaining roof of the girl’s dorm off, replacing broken rafters and purling before putting on the new roof. We are very happy to have some unexpected help from Colton Cravatt from the USA.

Thank you to those of you who have sent in special offerings to help us repair the damage. We have received about 25% of what we need to rebuild. If you would like to give towards rebuilding: please label your gift Project #5619 and send to our AGWM account.

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