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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.
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!
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.
At this point, I am happy to say it is almost finished, though we are about $1000 over budget.
An electrician rewired and installed new recessed LED lights and switches. The bathroom was torn out, opened up and tiled. All new bathroom fixtures were installed too. Extra kitchen cupboards have been built. Now we are at the painting stage. The inside has already been done and the outside will be done this week. Everything should be completed in time for Christmas.
Hi! My name is Lucy and I am about to fly to the island of Santo. I am going to be living in the bush and working with itinerant preachers Gino and Freddie. They graduated from Joy Bible Institute last year and are now taking care of five rural churches and teach “religious education” in a primary school. I hear that I am going to be in great demand once I get there! Will you please pray for them as they share God’s love to adults and children alike?
P.S. We could really use some reinforcements here…do you have any puppet friends you are not using? Maybe your church kids could take up an offering to pay for the postage to send them to Vanuatu! I can guarantee that they will be very busy here working with JBI graduates!
Gotta go catch my plane…
Thanks so much,
In Vanuatu, we have voracious termites, frequent cyclones and earthquakes which damage property. There are some tropical pests which are almost impossible to eradicate. A multitude of invisible wood bores moved into our plywood library shelves a few years ago and began to devour them. A professional fumigator came in and the wood bores still thrived. We fought back by injecting poison into the wood cracks with a syringe. We tried several poisons over a period of time and still they continued to destroy our shelves. Last year the shelves began to sag and the bugs finally won!
Pastor Mendar (a JBI grad) is in town for a few months and has built new library bookshelves out of treated pine. The library is now ready for another school year and we are so grateful for his skills and assistance.
Joy Memorial Chapel has been getting a much needed facelift these last 10 days. Thanks to Australian colleagues Russell and Robyn and their visiting friends Colin and Val, who have put many hours into giving the chapel some new sparkle! The interior has been repainted and today they were working on priming and repainting the old pews. Their next step will be to shampoo the carpet and possibly make a new simple communion table and pulpit. (We would still love to have a used communion set.) We are so grateful for their volunteer help which has enabled us to give the chapel some immediate attention.
I thought you might like to see the Sunday School classes from church this morning. Ten days ago, these teachers were at our house for a teacher’s refresher course. Norman (a JBI student) teaches the junior boy’s class on the porch of a house near the church. I did not want to get too close and distract them, as Norman had their full attention using an egg to explain the Trinity.
Emily teaches the primary class which Jasmine is in. They meet in the only classroom that the church has. During the week this same room is used by the ACE school which the church runs.
Jeremy attends a class taught by Sylvie and Gretel which meets on another neighbor’s porch. The children sit on woven mats. This morning as we were on our way out the door, Jeremy told me that his class had no crayons. So we filled an ice cream container with used crayons from home for him to take to Sunday School. When he gave them to his teacher, all the children clapped. Now you know why they were all so happy to hold up their colored papers! Jeremy’s concern for his class was a timely reminder to me as some of you have asked how you could help children in this country. . . well, crayons, coloring pencils, pens, and paper are out of reach for many children and their parents here in Vanuatu. Many school children struggle to buy pens and a notebook for school and we have Sunday Schools and children’s clubs all over the city of Port Vila that do not have what many would consider basic supplies. If this is the kind of assistance which you like to give, please feel free to contact us for more information.
Some have asked what small projects can they assist us with. Joy Bible Institute is in need of many smaller items like chairs, whiteboards, silverware, kitchen appliances and book shelves. But even these items can be very expensive in Vanuatu. There is something else very practical that is needed at the school and by many of our local churches and that is communion sets. We do not need brand new ones but maybe your church has an old set sitting in a cupboard that is no longer used. We would be very happy to receive them and give them out to our local churches. If you have a communion set that you would like to donate, please email us. All you need to do is, wrap it well, put it in a sturdy cardboard box and mail it to us here in Vanuatu. Be sure and write “gift” on the green customs label and designate as of no commercial value. Thank you for asking.