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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
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?
For the immediate repair of Joy Bible Institute:
Checks can be sent to: Assemblies of God World Mission, 1445 Boonville Ave. Springfield, MO. 65802.
Please designate any checks mailed to Assemblies of God World Mission for:
J. Gary Ellison, AGWM account #236425 – JBI project #5619
Just had a wonderful weekend at CCC Midland, Michigan. We received an offering of $10,000 towards the first married JBI student house. It was an overwhelmingly generous gift, an amount we are not used to receiving. We are excited and I can hardly wait to start building.
Phase 1 of the project will include 4 small houses which we estimate to cost $15,000 each. We have been approved to raise $60,000 (4 houses). We now have enough for one house!
To the left is a preliminary floor plan of the house, small living room, 2 bedrooms and a private bath.
There is no kitchen as we will eventually build a community kitchen and dining hall.
1. Why do we need to provide this kind of housing?
Vanuatu is an island country and our Bible school students are usually from outer islands. Married students have to leave their wife and children on another island while they come and study.
Our students have few resources. They cannot afford to bring their families to town and rent a house.
We would love for them to bring their families but our current campus only has 3 studios for married couples.
You can imagine the difficulties this family separation can bring. Besides, we want to train wives to be partners with their husbands in ministry.
Will you partner with us also? Any amount will help us greatly towards building the next student house.
Send all checks to: Project # 5764, Assemblies of God World Mission, 1445 Boonville Ave. Springfield, MO. 65802.
Twenty JBI students have headed to Santo today for a two week mission trip. Yesterday, they were all ready to set sail but a severe weather front kept the ship at port. This morning it was still very stormy but by afternoon the sun was shining as the “Santo Queen” left port with 18 happy students, spouses, six puppets, boxes of literature, and a whole lot of baggage!
The students have been preparing all year for this trip. They raised all the money to cover their costs, fasted once a week as a student body, prepared a children’s program, and so much more. As graduation approached, the teary graduates have been happy to prolong their time with classmates by a couple more weeks of joint ministry and adventure…this kind of endeavor in Vanuatu is always a bit of an adventure. They are on the high seas tonight, 24 hours of travel time, stopping to unload passengers at several islands and then arriving on Santo later tomorrow afternoon. Once on the island of Santo they will start trekking to churches and villages in bush areas.
Pastor Philip and ourselves will be flying to Santo shortly to join the students. Please pray for us all as we go, taking the Gospel to those who have yet to hear or understand that this Good News is for them.
Small projects around the new JBI classroom building have continued. On one side of the classroom building, a new retaining wall was built to stop erosion and flooding from the hillside above. Pastor Peter Avock ‘07 JBI Grad, returned for a few weeks to build it.
The final coat of paint is now on the new classroom building. A team of young people from the country of Fiji have been on a mission trip to Vanuatu and surprised us with an offer to do some practical work. So they came for several mornings and painted for us! The stone retaining wall along the front was painstakingly built by the JBI students. And though there is some more landscaping to do, we are almost done!
Check out our September Newsletter:
- General Superintendent eats chili: Real life on the mission field: The devil is in the details!
- Tanna coffee and other eruptions.
- Old friends: Still pastoring after all these years.
- Mission Santo!
Vision for Vanuatu! Latest ministry update from Gary and Lori Ellison. What’s Independence Day got to do with freedom? But can they preach? Students prepare for island of Santo mission. We need prayer for our General Conference August 26-31. Major issues.
Check out our August Newsletter.
Sunday, May 13, 2012, was the opening ceremony for the weeklong National AOG Youth Conference. Youth from many islands marched through Port Vila to Saralana Park following the Vanuatu Mobile Force band to officially open the conference. After several speeches and special music, Rev. Dick Hopkins preached.
Vanuatu Mobile Force band leading the youth parade. Missionnettes in parade.
Youth delegates from various provinces (Sanma and Malampa shown). Platform guests including MP Edward Natapei and his wife.
Shefa Youth Choir and their brilliant conductor, Matilda!
Missionnettes and Y’s performing.
National Youth President, Emile and Pastor Dick Hopkins, evening speaker.
Altar time after opening service.
With the interruption of Cyclone Jasmine last week, we obviously got a couple more days behind in our construction schedule…it didn’t help that some of the bathroom fixtures did not fit properly and we are still trying to get them replaced or refunded. The locally-made hardwood doors did not get delivered and lots of other things! The electrical lights and ceiling fans are all in though and working! We will not be able to paint the concrete walls for another 6 months – time for the lime and concrete to rest. With classes starting tomorrow at JBI we will be squeezing classes into the school dining hall and library to start off and moving into the new building as soon as possible! Official dedication will still be on the 24th while Pastor Randy is visiting with us.
Getting calls from JBI students on outer islands still waiting for cargo ships to stop and pick them up. Shipping was totally disrupted by the cyclone as it created very high seas and kept all boats in port. One JBI student, Hosea called today from Tanna where is rebuilding his family’s woven house damaged by the cyclone. He will try to get a ship on Friday – not easy to leave a wife and children behind when things at home are in disarray. So pray for the students and their families.
Otherwise, the new theme banner “Grow in Grace” is hanging in the chapel and we are ready and excited to welcome students on campus for another school year!
This is our last week to finish the new classroom building at JBI before classes begin on February 13th. Unfortunately, today was spent boarding up the campus buildings because this evening Cyclone Jasmine is bearing down on us from the west! Jasmine is currently a category 3 cyclone and our first big storm of the season. At this point, we do not know how long the storm system will be with us or prevent construction work.
Inter-island ships are in port and planes are grounded until the cyclone passes. This means that our Bible school students will have difficulty getting to Port Vila on time for classes next week. Public schools begin also on the 13th so many people are travelling this time of year. After this kind of disruption, it takes a while for small boats to resume their normal routes. Students are already calling in to say that the boat they were waiting for is not coming to pick them up.
By mid-afternoon, the winds really picked up and stores closed early. We went to get our mail at the Post Office and the postal workers had removed all the mail from the individual boxes. All over town people were buying last minute supplies and putting up storm shutters or nailing plywood over windows. All of the main JBI buildings are boarded up and all electrical items unplugged. Right now, the avocado trees on campus are loaded with unripe fruit but tomorrow most of them will be ruined on the ground. Last year we lost all the avocados in a cyclone and unfortunately, the trees only bear fruit once a year.
So we are praying that the damage will be minimal and after the clean-up we can get re-organized quickly and start our new school year at JBI!
UPDATE: At 11 p.m. last night, Cyclone Jasmine which had been upgraded to category 4, was headed straight east towards our island and town, when it abruptly turned and headed south! We only had light winds and rain. So we were spared any severe damage or major cleanup! Thank you for praying!
We are gaining momentum once again after the Christmas and New Year’s slowdown. Tile is going up on the bathroom walls and floors right now and this is very exciting! Christmas sales were timely, as I was able to purchase all the ceramic tile, toilets and sinks at special sale prices.
There have been some unexpected helpers come our way and we are so grateful to each one of them…Jim and Carol, new friends all the way from Saskatchewan, Canada, for a resort holiday but took 2 days to do construction work! What a personal encouragement that was to me! Thanks so much guys! Then Pastor Peter Avock and friends came by and started plastering and pouring floors! So we are moving along though still needing a few more qualified hands! The whole time Ben has been toiling away every day with or without help! Thanks Ben! More reinforcements should be arriving today!
Still a lot to do in the next month before the students arrive back at JBI! It’s going to be great to be teaching in a regular size classroom with a white board mounted on the wall!