Green Hill School Dedication

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.

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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.

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The Green Hill school children waiting to greet the visitors and accompany us into the school property.

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The school children led the way in song.

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Flag raising and singing the Vanuatu national anthem.

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Clockwise from left: Listening to speeches, singing, praying, and a kid’s sermon.

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The traditional giving and receiving of gifts.

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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.

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Above: Accepting gifts of garden produce from the Green Hill community.

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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.

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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.

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Above: The new kindergarten built by PAOC and ERDO partners in CANADA. DSC_0145 DSC_0276

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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!!

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JBI New School Year Starts

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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.

The JBI Village

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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

 

Green Hill Primary School: Help Needed

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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!

Green Hill School Progress

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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.

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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!

 

To The End Of The Road…

Rangorango 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.

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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.

Preaching at Rangorango AG churchThe church shelter had recently been rebuilt along with a small one-room house for the pastor and his family. Everything had blown away in the cyclone and recovery has been slow.

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.

Rangorango church

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.

Children of Rangorango

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?

Green Hill Teouma School Rebuild – First Phase

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.

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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.

Cement slab Gr Hill Construction at Gr Hill

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.