Thursday, June 11, 2015

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.

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