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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.
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!!
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.
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!
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.
As 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.
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.
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.
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.
After 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.
On Wednesday, April 8th, I (Lori) was asked to become the treasurer of the newly formed Vanuatu AOG Church National Disaster Committee which will serve as the official voice for fundraising and rebuilding.
Our task is to rebuild church facilities damaged or totally destroyed during the passage of Cyclone Pam (March 13-15, 2015) and to continue food distribution in specific areas of need.
We have met five times in the last 10 days in order to open a new bank account and compile information. We are handing all the incoming damage assessment reports and photos of church properties. The information has been put on computer and priority lists are now in place. We have a few Assemblies of God churches in outer islands which have not yet been visited and their buildings may also be damaged.
This level of devastation in so many different places and islands by one cyclone, is unprecedented, I believe, in Vanuatu history. 188,000 people were directly affected by this cyclone, having lost homes, subsistence farms, and/or businesses. Our church members are among them.
Fifty-one Assemblies of God church buildings on four different islands have had damage assessments. 31 of 51 are totally destroyed. The remaining twenty churches suffered damage, mostly iron roofs and timbers blown away.
Pastor Hosea of Karimasanga, South Tanna, (pictured above) is standing in the doorway of their village church. Nothing is left of their building. He also lost his house and many belongings.
Will you please share our need with others who may also be able to help us?
Joy Bible Institute was heavily damaged by Cyclone Pam. This is a photo of the girl’s dorm lounge and kitchen. The roof blew off and fell inside. Torrential rains poured in and flooded the whole house. The ground floor of this building is the school’s library which was in turn flooded. Water was ankle deep in the library after the storm. We do not know if any of the 3000 library books or furniture will be salvageable.
The roof of the boy’s bathhouse, laundry and workshop was totally blown away.
This is a picture of the girl’s dorm (above) on the left and a pile of rubble on the right. That rubble used to be a very nice storage shed for tools and a carport where the girls hung their laundry. The windows are still boarded up as Cyclone Nathan on the Australian coast was forecast to possibly pass through Vanuatu this week.
At the school’s administrative office and guestroom, two large trees fell on the building. On the front side, the roof is very damaged and a lot of water also went into the rooms. Visiting teacher, Maurice Nicholson and his son Ian, were sheltering here during the storm. We thank the Lord for protecting them.
On the left is a picture of our Dean of Students house which we just finished renovating in December 2014. New electrical wiring and light fixtures were installed. The bathroom was gutted and redone, new kitchen cupboard added, paint and flooring.
Unfortunately, the cyclone took off the front half of the roof and water soaked through the ceiling and it collapsed inward. Furniture was also ruined. Another section of the roof went off in the master bedroom.
Pastor Kiel and his wife had a daughter born just a few days before the cyclone hit. They were in this house with their two children and our female JBI students sheltering from the storm when the roof went off. As the high winds were thrashing things inside the house, they ran out through the night to another building for shelter. That is an extremely dangerous thing to do, as flying objects are what often kill people during cyclones. Again we thank God for his protection over them. We are so thankful that the baby was born just before the cyclone arrived as the maternity ward at the city hospital is now damaged and closed.
The porch roof on the Joy Memorial Chapel was ripped off also. The rest of the roof did not fly away though. Thank you to Michael who came and replaced the steel cables which hold the roof down to the ground a few months ago. Without the new cables, I think the whole roof would have come off.
The three newest concrete buildings to the campus; the classrooms, the married dorm, and the new mission house, all survived the storm. They have some water damage and some buckled roof ridging but all in all they held remarkably well in the face of winds of 320kmph. The students took refuge in one of the classrooms and another teacher and his family camped out in the other.
There is a lot of school equipment and furniture that has been damaged by the flooding. We do not have a list of everything which we will need to be replaced. We are so grateful to Tony for taking pictures of the damage for us. We are still in the USA and due to return to Vanuatu on March 28.
At this point, we estimate needing at least US$150,000 to begin to adequately replace the things we have mentioned in this article. Thank you for considering the needs of Joy Bible Institute.
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.
JBI is so blessed to now own not one lot, but two house lots to build married student housing on. We presented this need to you in August. A big THANK YOU to Randy Hurst and my father Ron Killingbeck for contacting friends and raising the funds for this.
Before the end of the school term in November the property was all paid for. Together with JBI staff and students, we were able to go and look over the land and discuss our future vision of small family cottages on the property. The location is no more than a 10 minute walk to the main JBI campus so it is ideal! We are so thankful for the unexpected opportunity to purchase land in such a great location.
We are currently discussing the types of buildings needed to adequately accommodate families. Thank you for praying with us and considering how you may help us further develop this land.
I did not expect to start any new construction projects this late in the year but several things including the soon arrival of a new baby made this project a bit more urgent. So we launched into a partial renovation of the old teacher’s house today. It is late at night and I (Lori) just found some more termite mud in my hair. The work crew took out some ceiling panels this morning and found…yes, unfortunately, it was termites…so I was up on the ladder poking my head through some tight purlings to evaluate the sad condition of things.
Anyway, this lovely family, Kiel and Faith Maimai, have a sweet little boy Harry Joshua and he is soon to have a baby brother or sister. They have been living in a guest apartment for several years and need a regular house. We are happy to have a campus house for them, but it has not been lived in for about 4 years because it needs repair. Pastor Kiel is the JBI Dean of Students and full-time teacher.
The house has obviously been added on to over the years but nothing was ever quite finished. I’ll spare you the photos but we ripped out the only bathroom today. The house will also need to be rewired as the electrical wires were a real rat’s nest in the attic.
Would you please consider a gift towards the renovation of this campus house. We have about 5 weeks of work ahead of us and I need about $5000. The JBI campus project number is 5619. Thank you.