Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mission Vanuatu 2011 Conference on Evangelism

Twenty-five representatives from 5 Nazarene Churches and 4 preaching points located on 3 different islands in the country of Vanuatu met March 3-5 for the purpose of "igniting our passion for making Christlike disciples."  We sensed God's presence as we gathered for worship on the first evening led by Pastor David Tasso of the Malapoa Church. 

  Sylvia began by sharing about our theme and purpose borrowed from the recent M11 Conference in Kentucky, USA.  She explained what it meant for something to "ignite" and then further described the word "passion."  David and Sylvia both shared from the Great Commission passage in Matthew 28:18-20 and encouraged each representative to take seriously Christ's call to make disciples.     
We broke into small groups to study from the Bible what it means to be a disciple.  We learned that a disciple is - a BELIEVER, a FOLLOWER, a LEARNER, a WITNESS, BAPTIZED, and a MULTIPLIER.  Sylvia shared about the web of friends and family and work relationships (oikos relationships) that make witnessing a natural part of our lives.  We all took time to write down as many names of people in each of our "webs" who are currently not in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  We were challenged to pray for each of them and make the most of our opportunities together to be disciples of Jesus.
On Friday evening we learned about how we carry out the Great Commission.  It must be our lifestyle, just like it was for Jesus, as we live the life of Christ before others, invest our lives in making disciples by giving of our time, participating in Bible study, enabling others in ministry, all done in and through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Sylvia shared about the strategy of Sunday School and small groups as our foundation.  She further explained this in the Saturday morning session with those who will be serving as Sunday School teachers in their local churches.  Sunday School for adults is a new concept for many of them, but they agreed that it is needed in order for us to grow in our relationship with Christ.

Lay pastor Morrison (L) receiving the offering from William
It was a blessing that Morrison, the lay pastor from the island of Tanna, was able to be with us for the conference.  He is overseeing 3 different preaching points that were the result of an outreach effort last June.  In the last 2 months they have experienced two devastating cyclones that wiped out their gardens.  Nazarene Compassionate Ministries has been able to assist with some food relief during this time for the communities that were hit.  The local Nazarene churches in Port Vila also wanted to take part in  compassionate ministry and presented Morrison with a cash gift of over $100 while we were together Friday night.  

We want to thank all of you who have been praying for us during the conference.  God is working in the lives of our leaders as a result of your prayers.  One young man from the Black Sand Church has been struggling spiritually for the last 4-5 months.  We encouraged him to take part in the conference and he came!  When he returned Friday evening, it was obvious just from the look on his face that something had changed in his heart.  This morning he eagerly led the morning worship service at his church where David is the pastor.  William, the interim pastor for Ohlen Church while the Isaac's are on home assignment, stood Friday evening and shared his personal goal of being an example for Christ in every area of his life.  Sylvia will continue to meet two more times this month with the Sunday School teachers to prepare and equip them for their ministry.  On Sunday, March 27, the churches in Port Vila will gather at Vila North School where the Ohlen Church is currently meeting for our Sunday School Launching Event where the Sunday School teachers will be commissioned for service and pastors and church leaders will commit their support.  Pastors Peter and Jenny will continue the work of equipping these leaders after we leave for home assignment on March 29th!  

"Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge:
'God authorized and commanded me to commission you: 
Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, 
marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  
Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you.  
I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.'"
Matthew 28:18-20, The Message