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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.

SparreA LITTLE HISTORY:

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:

Elvin Huston

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.

Laborers together,

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

 

IMG_9218JBI married 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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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JBI students were busy cooking and hosting the visiting pastors.

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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.

IMG_7780 I was very excited when we received a call asking if we would go back to Rangorango and celebrate the opening of their church kindergarten.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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.

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.

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!

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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