Friday, November 27, 2009

In the Footsteps of the Apostle Paul

Imagine trying to teach the thirteen letters of Paul in a 30 hour block course! And then, add to that the fact that you've never taught it before. It goes without saying that it was challenging, but absolutely rewarding! I (Sylvia) was so impressed with the six students that faced the challenge with me. We met for three hours every evening for two weeks and five hours on the Saturday between the two weeks. WE learned SO much! We learned about Paul's conversion, his missionary travels, when and where he was when he wrote each letter, and what he was trying to communicate to those who received the letter. I personally was challenged by Paul's fervor and unquenchable desire to share God's love and the message of Christ while facing persecution at almost every turn. One of my (and I think everyone's) favorite parts of each class was singing the song that helped the students to learn the names and order of the thirteen letters, as well as the other books of the New Testatment. I was driving with Pastor Kidhly a few weeks later and overheard him singing the song! I thank the Lord for his help in preparing this course and for the strength and wisdom for teaching each day. What a privilege and joy! (In the photo L to R: William, Austin, Daniel, Mary, and Esther. Pastor Kidhly missed getting in this shot.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Third Vanuatu Assembly with Conventions - for the FIRST time!

Our third annual assembly was a rich time of worship and fellowship! We met in the beautiful sanctuary of the Apostolic College of Theological Studies for three evenings and a full day on Saturday. Representatives from all six congregations participated each evening.

For the past two years we have gathered on Saturday for a time of worship and reporting, but this year we decided to gather for three evenings and give the various ministries an opportunity to lead the worship time. Wednesday evening was led by Women's Ministry. Sunday School and Children's Ministry led the worship on Thursday night and NYI led on Friday night.

There were lots of wonderful special items shared from each church and from the various ministries. The children from Malapoa did an action song on Thursday evening.

Pastor Kidhly and Natcha arrived from Aniwa in time for the Thursday service. The Aniwa youth presented special songs in their own language.

The youth introduced the Evange-Ball in a wonderful skit. We thank Rev. Larry Webb, semi-retired missionary from South America for this wonderful evangelism tool! The young people learned the plan of salvation and are looking forward to using sports evangelism this summer on a mission trip to another island.

Each evening a different speaker shared God's Word to the eager congregation.

On Saturday, we welcomed our Field Strategy Coordinator, Rev. Harmon Schmelzenbach, his wife Cindy and son Quinton.

Pastor Harmon shared an inspiring message with us about God's priorities while Pastor Peter translated.

We heard lots of reports from pastors and ministry leaders. At noon we shared a potluck meal together. In the afternoon, Pastor Graziella led the children from the Erakor Church in singing a wonderful song! We praise the Lord for all he has done!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

God heals a little boy

Sarah, the children’s Sunday School teacher at Black Sand Church, asked us to pray for a little 7 year old boy named John Morrison who was admitted to Vila Central Hospital for some kind of problem with his leg.  We were quite surprised to find a seriously ill child breathing with much difficulty when we first went to visit him.  We spoke with John’s mother, Sofie, and two of his “aunties” who shared the confusing story of John’s illness.  We prayed with them for John’s healing and committed to return to visit in a day or so. 


We found him with a chest tube in his right side connected to drainage bottles when we arrived the next time.  He seemed even sicker than before.  Memories of Susan’s sickness and quick death were fresh in our minds as we called out to God to spare this little guy’s life.  We were able to give the first copy of a new shipment of the Gospel of John in Bislama to John’s father, Morrison, and encouraged him to read it as he waited at his little boy’s bedside. 


We continued to visit several times a week, each time finding John a little stronger and little more aware of his surroundings.  After a couple more weeks, he was allowed to return to his home in Black Sand for a few hours each day.  About 2 weeks ago, John was discharged from the hospital on the road to complete recovery. 


Last Sunday, Sofie stood for the first time in Black Sand Nazarene Church to give her testimony of praise for God’s healing of her dear son.  John and his siblings are now coming to the Sunday School class and Sofie is becoming a part of the fellowship at Black Sand Church.  We praise the Lord for his healing in this precious child’s life and for the opportunity to minister his love to this family.