Thursday, June 11, 2015

Water Wells, Pumps and Things

We don't have very many pictures to share of the continuing relief efforts, but we wanted to pass along the news that we've heard of how the disaster relief efforts have continued.  Pastor Peter Isaac with the District Advisory Board for the Church of the Nazarene continue to assess the needs and make plans for how best to help.

In mid-April, Youth With a Mission in Vanuatu (YWAM) was contacted and plans were made to dig wells in two of our church communities where clean water was not easily accessible.  YWAM has developed a technique for drilling wells by hand and then attaching a pump to provide clean water for communities.

 Pastor Peter reported in April that 500-600 people will benefit from the new wells and pumps in Black Sand and Prima communities.

Along with the new well, YWAM also provided water filter buckets so that the water can be further purified for drinking.

At the end of April, Peter e-mailed us to say, "On Sunday we were dedicating the water pump at Prima. All the community were witnessing the opening with YWAM members. And some of the elderly people among the YWAM team were convinced to put up our church building again. Yesterday they started working and the project is underway now."

There was lots of work still being done throughout the month of May.  Peter reported that a team of nine people including five YWAM volunteers went by boat to Tanna with tarps, chain saw, roofing irons, lumber, and nails to help with re-building.  They also took many 50 pound bags of rice and cartons of canned fish to help with food relief.  Pastor Gideon remained longer to help build the first Nazarene Church and baptize eight new believers!

Another Nazarene/YWAM team sailed south to the island of Aniwa to distribute food and to witness.

In addition, tarps, bags of rice, and cartons of canned fish have been sent to six different areas.

At the end of May, the Nazarene congregations in Port Vila came together and contributed a generous offering for their brothers and sisters in Nepal who are facing a huge disaster.  

It has now been nearly three months since Cyclone Pam devastated the islands of Vanuatu.  It usually takes about 3-6 months for cassava to be ready for harvest, so we are hopeful that the gardens will begin to provide for the food needs of the people.  We have heard reports from various people in Vanuatu that the food market in Port Vila is beginning to have more fresh garden produce available.

Thank you for your prayers for Pastors Peter and Jenny as they lead the pastos and leaders in the Church of the Nazarene in Vanuatu.

One Month Later...

Celebrating the Resurrection
Dave and Annette Merki with Taku, Sunday School teacher at Vila North Church
Just a few days before we were scheduled to head back to the United States for our 3-month home assignment, we welcomed our friends, Dave and Annette Merki, to Vanuatu.  Dave and Annette are our daughter in law Kristen's parents, and we had been looking forward to their coming for nearly a year.  We were sorry that they didn't see Vanuatu in all its lush beauty.  They arrived eager to do what they could to help with disaster relief.  One of the ways that they helped was by bringing loads of plastic Easter eggs filled with candy to share with the Sunday School children in an activity called Resurrection eggs. We got them out on the road within just an hour or so of the arrival to get the eggs in the hands of the Sunday School teachers in time for Easter Sunday morning.
Prima Nazarene Church's temporary shelter

Pastor Gideon

We took Dave to Prima Nazarene Church on Easter Sunday morning.  There were many new adults and young people and lots of children.  How wonderful to celebrate that Jesus is alive!  And, because Jesus lives, we can have hope and life in the midst of our challenges!

Pastor Kidhly and Rachele with their little daughter Angela shared a special song.

David shared the Good News.

After the service, the children closed their eyes while the parents hid the Easter eggs.

 Most of the mamas had never hidden Easter eggs before, 
so they had almost as much fun hiding the eggs as the kids did in finding them!

Most likely none of the kids had ever hunted Easter eggs before, 
but they needed no instructions about what to do.

As the children opened their eggs and found the 12 pictures, 
we talked about the story of Jesus' death and resurrection.

"Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live,
even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?" 
John 11:25-26

Our Final Days

There was plenty of clean up left to do, and to be honest, it felt rather strange to be preparing to leave Vanuatu to head to the United States for home assignment.  We are thankful for our ministry partners and the pastors of the churches who would continue the next phases of disaster relief after we were gone.  Dave and Annette lent a hand to the efforts as well.  David and Dave spent time out in our yard trying to get some of the fallen trees cleared.  It will take a long time before this yard looks as lush as it did before!

Annette helped Sylvia with laundry and getting the house ready for the couple who would housesit while we were away.  

We took one day to visit the beach and found the cyclone had made some changes there too.

April 8th came and we drove to the airport, our friends flying on to Australia, and us toward the USA.

As we were waiting to depart, we noticed that one of the big Hercules planes from the US was on the tarmac - evidence that the country is still in disaster mode with much work still to be done.

The jet we flew away in is more the size of the one to the left of the Hercules plane.  

We praise God for his faithfulness and for the love and compassion expressed by so many people as they have contributed toward the relief work in Vanuatu!  Much has been accomplished in the last four weeks, and Peter and Jenny will continue to guide our churches in reaching out to their communities with the compassion of Christ.