Just a few more weeks and we will get to meet our little granddaughters (tufala smol abu) in person! We can't wait to hold them in our arms! Dora and Sylvia are both doing really well - getting bigger and gaining weight every week. Recently, they were awake and placed side by side in their crib. They really looked at each other for the first time! In the picture above, Dora is on the left and Sylvia is on the right.
Here's some more pictures of these beautiful Buffalo Babes!
Dora to the left.
Sylvia to the right.
Needless to say, Joel and Bekah have their hands and arms very full!
Uncle Wesley getting acquainted for the first time.
David and Sylvia have been busy with lots of teaching! SPNTC Vanuatu has been trying some different schedules to try to hit on something that is a good fit for both the students and the teachers. In the past we have always taught the classes in a 2 week intensive block course with classes meeting Monday through Friday evenings for 3 1/2 hours. This is a pretty tough pace for the teacher as well as for our students, many of whom have attended school only through the 6th grade. This year we've tried a mix of the block course intensives with three terms of nine Saturdays where two classes are offered - one in the morning and a different one in the afternoon. This makes it possible for us to offer a few more classes than the previous year, as well as, a little more time for the teacher to prepare and for the students to reflect on what they are learning.
David and Sylvia taught the first term of Saturday classes with Sylvia teaching Old Testament Survey and David taking Biblical Theology III. That term finished on March 20th, just in time for Sylvia to join the CBHC team in Aniwa.
David began the first 2 week intensive course for this year, offering New Testament Survey. Pastor Kidhly from Aniwa flew into Port Vila to attend the course. Wanting to make the most of his time, Sylvia is teaching him the Old Testament Survey class that he missed.
Pastors Peter and Jenny will begin teaching at the end of April and will finish up their term in mid-June. Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare pastors and lay leaders for ministry.
When Sylvia returned from Aniwa, she and David were delighted to care for Peter and Jenny's three wonderful sons - Bennett (12), Ennrich (Endy) (8), and Junior (4)! We were much younger when we had our three little guys to watch after. Each day Ben and Endy went to school at Jehovah Jireh School on the other side of town, and then needed to be picked up in the afternoon. Sylvia had fun buying things like Twisties to pack in the boys' lunches. We had a good supply of Aniwa oranges that came back with us from our time there for lots of healthy snacks.
Once Ben and Endy had left for school, Junior got to color pictures and play with toys. Boy are we glad that we didn't get rid of our boys' wooden train set! All the time that Junior was coloring and playing, he was singing choruses. They just seemed to bubble out of him, and David and Sylvia started singing along!
Uncle David had a great time helping Bennett learn his times tables. We made flash cards which were reviewed at almost every meal! Then, he got the white board out and drew a big times tables chart. Endy started getting interested and would offer his answers to the flash cards. Junior decided he would try, and that's when things started getting a bit confusing!
David and Sylvia hadn't colored Easter eggs for many years. We weren't sure if the Isaac boys had ever had that experience, so Sylvia started planning to share that activity with them. After much searching, she discovered that chickens only lay brown eggs in Vanuatu! Not knowing if you could color brown eggs, she went ahead and bought a couple dozen. They search for Paas Easter Egg coloring kits was completely unfruitful! But, she had the great idea of using natural things to make the dye - like red and yellow onion skins. She had some red hibiscus and red ginger flowers to add to the pot as well, but in the end found that food coloring and vinegar works the best! The boys had a great time coloring their eggs and so did Aunt Sylvia!
Another thing she had heard of but never tried was Empty Tomb Cookies. She found the recipe on the internet and Saturday morning before the boys' parents returned to Port Vila, she helped the boys to make these "meaning-full" cookies. The boys beat the pecans remembering that Jesus was beaten and bruised in our place. They tasted vinegar like the wine vinegar that was given to Jesus while he was on the cross. They tasted the salt that represented the tears of the disciples who grieved for Jesus. The sugar that we added reminded us of how sweet the name of Jesus is. We talked about the eggs and how they represented Christ's purity as we whipped them into fluffy white mounds. The next day when we took the Empty Tomb Cookies over to the boys, they were able to remember all the ingredients and how they related to the Easter story.
Beginning Sunday (April 18th), we get to be substitute parents for the Isaac boys again as their parents fly to Singapore for the Mission Strategy Training at our Asia Pacific Regional Office. Please pray that we will be good parents for these precious boys with God's love and patience overflowing.
"We thank you, God, we thank you -- your Name is our favorite word; your mighty works are all we talk about" (Psalm 75:1, The Message). That's how we feel too! God has done great things and we want to tell you all about it!
Because you were praying Priscilla Radcliffe received her passport from the US Embassy in PNG just in time for her to join the group who was flying to Vanuatu to offer the Community Based Health Care workshop from March 23-April 3. God worked a mighty miracle as a result of prayer as Jessica Myers was given approval in Brisbane Airport to check-in and board the plane headed to Vanuatu. To read more about her exciting story, click here.
The international team of Nazarene missionaries boarded the twin otter early in the morning on March 23. Dr. Becky Morsch, Dr. Stephanie Doenges, Dr. Susan Myers and Jessica, and Priscilla Radcliffe (daughter of Jim and Kathy) all haled from the Nazarene Hospital in Kudjip, PNG. Rev. Aseri and La Quraivalu are Fijians serving on the island of Kadavu in Fiji. Our own Rev. Peter Isaac (missionary from PNG to Vanuatu) and Sylvia accompanied the team.
Steph and Susan taught classes on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The classes were very well attended, and some folks from the north of the island even came. Children and women's health issues including instruction in how to do a breach delivery were the topics of discussion for the first two days. Friday was dedicated to general health teaching that included hypertension and diabetes (common illnesses on the island) as well as teaching about HIV/AIDS.
Some of the teaching sessions were translated from English to Bislama and then to the local language. Since PNG Tok Pisin is quite similar to Vanuatu's trade language called Bislama, the PNG missionaries were able to communicate fairly well without translation. God really blessed in the area of communication, making it possible for the message of Christ to be shared by every member of the team.
On Friday afternoon, Jessica and Cilla organized a Kid's Klub and Sylvia was thrilled to be asked to join them. We had a great time playing games with the 25 children, then Cilla shared the message of the Gospel using the 5 colors on the Evange-Ball. The children participated in a drama about the Good Samaritan which was followed by an opportunity for the kids to make "salvation bracelets" that they proudly wore home to show their families.
Jessica and Cilla had some great times with the girls in the villages. Here's what Cilla shared about it: "...we went with some of the girls from the village to the island's "Sports Day" where we watched the boys play soccer and taught the girls how to make friendship bracelets. They were all very shy, but that was a perfect opportunity to learn their names and get to know them a little bit. Over the next few days, God kept providing opportunities for us to get to know them better. Pretty soon they were teaching us how to make Vanuatu's staple food, lap-lap (not to be confused with wrap-around skirts), braiding our hair, and showing us their favorite place to swim in the ocean."
The Lord intervened in so many ways to bring this team together so that they could come. Then, he intervened again and again to bring us close to people in the village. Each of us on the team had many opportunities to share Christ's love and the Gospel.
Sylvia was delighted that she was able to pray for a lady who became her friend during the health teaching sessions, Magia. She was raised in the John Frum Movement and married the son of the man who brought the cult to Aniwa. Her husband disappeared many years ago leaving her with the responsibility of raising her children and providing for their needs. She continues to hold to her belief in John Frum, but allowed Sylvia to share about Christ's love for her and then to pray for her and her family. Please join us in continuing to pray for Magia, her family and the others who remain in the John Frum cult.
Susan, Steph, Jessica, Cilla and Sylvia left Aniwa on Saturday afternoon after a torrential rain storm that delayed the arrival of the plane by several hours. Rev. Jenny Isaac met us in the Tanna Airport as she boarded the plane for Aniwa. She would join Dr. Becky and the rest of the team to assist with translating for the final Community Based Health Care workshop. Becky shared about an unexpected blessing that happened on Thursday of that week, "The chief of the northern village of Imale invited us to do health training in his community on Thursday. While I presented a sample lesson, more importantly I introduced the Ikaukau Health Volunteers who were trained and ready to do the training themselves in Imale and throughout the island. The chief invited them to return and arrangements were begun for the health volunteers to extend their knowledge and influence beyond their own village." That evening "a graduation ceremony was conducted and certificates given to the nine individuals from Ikaukau, one from Port Vila, and two from Fiji who completed the health volunteer training."
In addition to the marvelous health training that occurred during those two weeks, Pastor Peter offered membership classes and eight people joined the Nazarene Church on Friday night. We praise the Lord for all that He has done to extend his kingdom in the hearts of people here in Aniwa!