Evangelism training for young people all over the Vanuatu Mission ran through February and March, kicking off in Port Vila before rolling out to Luganville, Gaua, Tanna, Ambae and Malekula.
More than 500 young people attended the program, run by training facilitators from the South Pacific Division, Trans Pacific Union and Vanuatu Mission.
Tools were given to each participant including a World Changers Bible, Discovery Bible Reading bookmark, a Tell Me More book and the World Changers Bible Study Guide.
“These are tools youths can use to build friendships and then give Bible studies. We challenged each person to find five people and use these tools with them in preparation for the July harvest program,” said Pastor Max Zenebe, the discipleship director for Vanuatu.
Vanuatu Mission president Pastor Nos Terry Mailalong spoke at the commencement and closing sessions in Port Vila, saying, “This year is special because it’s the final year of the quinquennium and we will be using our young people in this Pacific-wide evangelism program.”
Participants were sent by local churches and, after completing the training, expected to train others in their churches. Church ministers and adults also attended the programs.
There was a commissioning at the end of each training. A dedicatory prayer was given, asking for the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the young people to go out and be a disciple, a witness and an agent of positive change in their communities and villages.
Two young people from Torres, a group of islands north of Vanuatu where there is no Adventist presence, attended the training on Gaua.
Christopher and Tensly joined other participants from islands in the region that already have an established Adventist presence like the island of Gaua, Mota Lava and Vanua Lava.
Over the years, combined programs for Torba would see hardly any representatives from Torres attending. However, through the work of church planters, laymen, volunteers and church ministers there is now a congregation on Hiu island on Torres worshipping on Sabbath.
Currently, lay church member Mark Donald is in Torres with his family working with a small group of people that meet in his home every Sabbath to worship.
He has adopted two young people who are not Adventist and he is mentoring and giving them trainings and Bible studies.
Tensly, one of the young people adopted, will be attending Laymen training on Aore from March to May.
“We are planning to send five youth to attend layman training on Aore as part of the preparation,” said Pastor Alon Ben Hiwa, Torba district ministries leader. “After the youth training participants are determined to preach in the month of July.”
Leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Pacific strategically planned that 2020 would be the young peoples’ turn to take the lead in evangelism. The focus of last year was women and 2018 was laymen.
Similar training events have been conducted in other Pacific missions.