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We are currently in the USA raising our budget to return to Vanuatu in August of 2017. Just because we are away from Joy Bible Institute doesn’t mean the ministry is put on hold, but rather replacement teachers are needed so classes and ministries can continue.
We are so pleased to let you know that Ray and Becki Sparre, along with their son Thano, have been approved by MAPS to go to Vanuatu for 3 months and teach at Joy Bible Institute. The Sparre family spent many years as AGWM missionaries in both the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. This is wonderful news not only to us but also to our JBI teachers, Pastor Philip Naias and Pastor Kiel Maimai, who have been carrying a heavy workload in our absence.
The Sparres will leave for Vanuatu in a few short weeks and urgently need financial support for airplane tickets and living expenses. If you would like to support them, I know it would be appreciated. Please read the following to know more about these wonderful people and how to help them.
When Ray and Becki told me what they had decided to do a few weeks ago, I felt moved to get involved in the process of supporting their venture. Ray and Becki spent 28 years as missionaries in the Islands of the Pacific. They were just finishing a four year term of service in Vanuatu in 2001 when they received word that their two sons were involved in a serious motorcycle accident stateside. Their youngest son, Thano, suffered permanent brain damage in that accident, which brought an end to the Sparres island missionary work.
Shortly after they returned to Oregon, the Sparres moved to acreage near Molalla where Ray proceeded to set up his own portable saw milling business. He has used his hands and artistic talents to provide for his family through milling, construction and sign painting.
AN EXCITING CALL:
Just a few weeks ago they received a call asking them to consider a three month mission trip to fill a vacancy in the Bible School on Vanuatu for the Spring semester. Even though this would be a completely voluntary service with no financial compensation, Ray and Becki felt moved in their spirits that it was of God. They made the decision to go, with only a few weeks to prepare.
HERE’S WHAT THEY’RE FACING:
- Ray will have to continue to work and fulfill his business commitments right up until their departure at the end of February. This leaves them with virtually no time to itinerate and raise funds for the mission.
- Income from Ray’s work will stop completely for March, April & May while they are abroad.
- Their mortgage payment and other monthly obligations will continue stateside.
- They will have to raise over $5,000 for round trip airfare for Ray, Becki and Thano.
- Insurance required by the Missions Department amounts to nearly $1200.
- While serving in Vanuatu they will be provided a house and vehicle, but will be responsible for their own food, gas and other miscellaneous personal expenses.
Ray estimates that the total budget for the 3 month mission will be about $15,000.
Ray and Becki have received official approval through the Assemblies of God Missions Department for this short term mission. MAPS will issue tax deductible receipts for contributions, but will not be processing or disbursing funds.
HERE’S HOW THE CONTRIBUTION PROCESS WILL WORK:
- A separate bank account has been set up for this missions trip
- Checks for this mission should be made payable to: “Ray Sparre / Vanuatu Mission”
- Contributions should be mailed to:
20 Brophy Way #18
Shady Cove, OR 97539
- Hustons will deposit all checks into Sparre’s Vanuatu Mission account
- A record of each contribution will be forwarded to the A/G Missions Department
- The A/G Missions Department will issue tax deductible receipts for each donation
- Ray and Becki will be able to access funds as needed via a bank card while on the field
This letter is not intended to convey an expectation or to produce a feeling of obligation on anyone. Our purpose is to make you aware of what the Sparre’s feel called to do, and let you know how you can participate financially if you feel the Lord’s prompting to do so.
Eunice and I have purposed to make a one time gift to help with the initial cost in getting to the field, followed by a monthly contribution for March, April and May. I am also hoping to create a place on our nc60salumni.com website where you can see pictures and reports from the Sparre’s while they are on their mission. There may also be some reports and pictures postings on facebook for those who are facebook friends.
Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy email. Please feel free to email us if you have any questions.
Elvin & Eunice Huston
Just wanted to update the information on our current projects. All financial gifts may be sent to our Assemblies of God World Mission account, and please be sure to designate with the project name and number.
Married Student Housing at Joy Bible Institute – Project #5764 – $15,000 each house
We have completed the first student house on the new property and a student and his family have moved in! We plan to build 7 more small houses on this property. Our students are often from distant islands and they need to bring their families to Bible school with them. Will you help us?
About $15,000 will build a small one bedroom house for a student family.
CYCLONE PAM REBUILD – Green Hill Elementary School – Project #5778 – $45,000 School Building
One hundred forty-three children were left without classrooms to study in when Cyclone Pam completely blew away their school in March 2015. Green Hill Primary School was started by Joy Bible Institute graduate, Pastor Charley Job, and is the only school in that remote farming community. We have been partnering with them to rebuild their school and need your help to complete the job.
We are currently raising $45,000 to build a simple three room classroom building for grades 4 to 6.
CYCLONE PAM – Small Village Church Rebuilding Assistance – $5000 each
Pastor John Yalsi and his wife stand in front of the ruins of their small Assembly of God church. They pastor in a small farming community in the hills of Teouma. Pastor Yalsi and his wife grow vegetables and sell them in the market in Port Vila to support themselves.
Cyclone Pam completely destroyed their church, village and gardens. The cost of replacing this partial concrete building is beyond their means. Would you join with us to help rebuild this church and several others?
60 AG churches were either totally destroyed or damaged from Cyclone Pam on March 13, 2015.
Joy Bible Institute AGWM Acct # 541772 – Cyclone Repairs
The Joy Bible Institute had many buildings damaged and roofs blown off from Cyclone Pam. Much of the campus has been repaired but not everything. Funds have run out and we still need to repair the school chapel and the pile of rubble in the foreground of the photo above was a storage building and carport. We need funds in order to repair and replace the facilities we have lost.
Any offering to the Joy Bible Account AGWM #541772 would help us to continue repairing the cyclone damaged buildings on the Bible school campus.
This year JBI has planned to host three overnight Pastor’s Seminars on campus. The first one was held April 8 to 9th. The theme was EVANGELISM.
Many pastors arrived early on Friday afternoon and had supper in the student cafeteria before the first session at 7:00 p. m. The chapel was very full from the beginning. JBI teacher Philip Naias was the Friday night speaker.
The next morning, J. Gary Ellison and Kiel Maimai took the next sessions. At the end of the morning, so many expressed how they were challenged to be more active in reaching out to the people in their communities.
JBI students were busy cooking and hosting the visiting pastors.
Lunch was served outside under the mango tree on Saturday and everyone lingered and talked for a couple of hours before going home.
We were so pleased to hear that our provincial church leaders are actively pursuing plans to have some joint evangelism events across the city as a direct response to the seminar. Two churches have already gotten together and had a evangelism outreach since the seminar.
On a Sunday in late November 2015, we had visited the church in that rural farming community. Gary had preached and I was asked at the close of the morning service to give a pep-talk to the church people about launching their own kindergarten. There is no school of any kind for miles around so all children must leave home and live with relatives elsewhere if they want to start their education. I do not normally give such pep-talks but in light of the lack of education for the children, it was not difficult to underscore the need and their ability to do something for their children. The church itself had 50 children in attendance that morning!
So to be asked just five months later to come and attend the opening of the first kindergarten was awesome!
JBI Dean of students, Pastor Kiel Maimai and a group of JBI students accompanied me and Jasmine. Pastor Kiel and the students were to speak in the Sunday morning service which would follow the official ribbon cutting ceremony of the kindergarten.
Welcome speeches were given by Pastor Charley Job and the community leaders. The chief announced the name of the school as LoriNafeNaka Kindergarten and it was unexpected to be thus honored. The next day was my birthday so it was a very special gift. The other parts of the name identify the two language groups the school will serve.
The kindergarten was made of local materials by the community and sits on the church property. I was asked to cut the vine across the door with a machete knife and then we went inside to look at the lovely schoolroom.
Group photo above: myself, Mrs. Charley Job, Pastor Charley Job from Green Hill, JBI students, Pastor Kiel Maimai, and local Pastor David Willie. Pastor David Willie (photo below) is a 2013 JBI graduate and became the pastor of the church after graduating. Rangorango began as an outreach of Green Hill church and many people have come to Christ.
Sunday morning services are held under blue plastic tarps as the former building was destroyed by Cyclone Pam last year. This community depends on market gardening for income and was very hard hit by last year’s cyclone and the drought which followed. The JBI students led the morning service, shared testimonies and song, and then Pastor Kiel preached. We had a wonderful service and a potluck dinner followed.
Please pray for Pastor David Willie and his family as they minister among the people of Rangorango. Please pray for the kindergarten teacher and the little ones being taught each day. If you would like to help provide a more permanent church roof for this congregation or school supplies, please contact us.
On March 11, 2016, just a few days before the one year anniversary of Cyclone Pam which totally destroyed the Green Hill Primary School and much of the community, we gathered to officially open two new school buildings and start the new school year.
It was a rainy day and the road was a bit more treacherous than normal, but the four-wheel drive pickup was packed with church leaders and missionary friends eager to celebrate the event with the Green Hill community.
Pictured above: Back row – Jasmine Ellison, Rev. Dave Wood, Julie Wood. Front row: Green Hill AG Pastor Charley Job, Shefa Province AG Presbyter Rev. Berry Kalotrip, Shefa Province AG Treasurer Rev. Joshua Malakai and Lori Ellison.
The Green Hill school children waiting to greet the visitors and accompany us into the school property.
The school children led the way in song.
Flag raising and singing the Vanuatu national anthem.
Clockwise from left: Listening to speeches, singing, praying, and a kid’s sermon.
The traditional giving and receiving of gifts.
Rev. Berry Kalotrip cutting the ribbon on the door of the first classroom. The main school building consists of three classrooms. The main donor was ACCI Relief of Australia. They gave AU$41,800 to rebuild this building. Mrs. Lori Ellison was the project manager, receiving the funds, purchasing all the building materials, and overseeing the actual construction. To fully complete the building, US$10,000 was also given by AGWM-USA.
We are so grateful to all who gave to rebuild this school. A special thank you to Katie Blok of ACCI for reading my first email and then her amazing support for the project.
Above: Accepting gifts of garden produce from the Green Hill community.
Above on the left: Pastor Charley Job, (JBI grad) is the man who carved this mission work and school literally out of the bush, high on a plateau above the Teouma River Valley. He built a church and a school over the years and Cyclone Pam took it all away in one night, March 15, 2015. At the reopening of the school, 146 children, grades K-6 were enrolled.
Until more funds are available for more classrooms, six grades will be squeezing into three classrooms.
Above on the right: Green Hill school headmaster, Joseph Kalo. He kept the school functioning after the disaster and loss of buildings and books. For months, teachers and students, huddled under tarps and sat on the grass for class.
We are also very grateful to PAOC partners, Dave and Julie Wood, who before they had even moved to Vanuatu, were raising funds and awareness in Canada to rebuild a kindergarten building for Green Hill Primary School. A special thank you to Rev Murray Cornelius who responded favorably to my email to asking for help from the PAOC. Very grateful that ERDO Canada agreed to sponsor the new kindergarten and many friends and family who donated money to ERDO. Thirty-six little ones are now attending kindergarten under the care of head teacher Ruth and her helper.
The rebuilding of this school was a logistic challenge from day one, so many amazing things happened to bring us to this day of dedicating the new school buildings. I am so thrilled that church friends in Australia, Canada and the United States came together and showed such compassion to the families in a little-known farming community of Green Hill which had been almost blown off the map by Cyclone Pam! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!
Students registered for the new school year on February 29 and classes started the next day. The freshmen class was smaller than expected but they have all expressed a strong call of God for ministry.
One young man, has known for 10 years he should be at JBI but he has honored his parents and helped in family obligations until they gave their consent. Another is a new member of a Bible translation team and needs a good Biblical foundation. Another has come to prepare to go back to his village as the first trained pastor for his church. We feel so privileged to be in a position to help prepare them for God’s call on their lives.
Thank you for your support which enables us to be here at Joy Bible Institute, training the next generation of pastors for Vanuatu.
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
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On 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.
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.
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!
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.
Until 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.
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.
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.
From 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.
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.