‘If you [preach] it, they will come’
For the first week in Emua (north Efate), Vanuatu Mission general secretary Pastor Charlie Jimmy preached only to an empty field. There were times when he asked, “God, what am I doing here? Is this your will for us to have this program here?” During the second week, however, people slowly started to attend, and by the final Sabbath of the program, 13 people had decided to be baptised. Among them were an Assemblies of God pastor and his wife. The evangelistic series not only brought them (and their daughter) into the Adventist family (pictured above), but it also brought the couple back together in marriage after seven years of separation. On the change that took place in Emua over the three weeks, Pastor Jimmy said, “it’s indeed a miracle . . . I just did my best, and God did the rest.”
Beauty out of ashes
Wala is an islet off the north-eastern coast of Malakula and a predominantly Catholic community. Despite this, the local chief offered the Seventh-day Adventist Church a place to conduct evangelistic meetings in July. Having welcomed everyone during the opening ceremony, the chief and his family returned home to find their house burnt to the ground. Although very upset, the family continued to attend the meetings. On the final Sabbath of the program, five people, including the chief’s wife and son, gave their lives to Jesus in what was the first Adventist baptism ever held on Wala. Others, including the chief, wanted to be baptised but hesitated after ongoing threats from the local community. The Vanuatu Mission is now organising Bible studies for these individuals.
Baptism behind bars
In a first for the Vanuatu Mission, a baptism was held at Port Vila’s low risk prison on Sabbath, July 28, with 12 inmates surrendering their lives to Christ. The baptisms were conducted by Pastor Nos Terry Mailalong (pictured below), with MP Ralph Regenvanu, other government dignitaries and police officers also on hand for the special occasion. Half of the prison’s inmates are continuing to study the Bible with the help of members from Epauto Seventh-day Adventist Church. (Photos: Jean-Pierre Niptick)
Not preaching, but still reaching
Moving to another country, where you don’t know anyone or speak the local language, can be incredibly isolating. This was the case for Jung Wang, a Chinese woman who recently moved to Vanuatu with her family. “When she came to the community, she had no other friends,” says Johhny Koanapo Rasou, parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister’s office and a member of Etas Seventh-day Adventist Church. “She found friendship with the mothers from our church.” Mrs Wang started attending Sabbath programs at Etas church. Then, at the conclusion of July’s harvesting program, she and her two daughters were baptised into the Adventist Church family. Mrs Wang’s husband, a local businessman, did not attend the meetings, but allowed his wife and daughters to be baptised.