Twenty-six people were baptised after the first evangelistic meetings held on Araki Island, Vanuatu, from August 15 to 28. Led by Pastor Renold Toa, the meetings were an initiative from the Enra Basket ministry, started in 2019 by Franklyn William and his wife Rose, church members from Santo Island.
A constructor by trade, Mr William’s passion for helping those in need started in 2020 after Cyclone Harold devastated the country. Realising many were struggling financially in South Santo, Mr William and his family started visiting Jorova village every Sabbath, where they distributed food, ministered and prayed with people.
“As the interest grew, he invited extended Adventist families to help him. For some of the difficult questions Franklyn couldn’t answer, he invited retired Pastor Renold Toa, who joined the ministry, to address hard theological questions,” said first year minister Lui Yarakei.
After a few months of dedicated work, Enra Basket ministry built and dedicated the Jarova Seventh-day Adventist church.
In early 2021, the ministry decided to start the Bible readings in Araki, a small island dominated by Presbyterians with no Adventist presence ever established. “The interests grew from one to more than 20!” said Mr Yarakei.
On August 26, during the first evangelistic meetings in the area, the Salalapa Seventh-day Adventists Church was dedicated by retired Pastor Renold Toa with the attendance of Sanma district ministerial leader, Pastor David George. Adventists from the island of Santo and members of the communities around Araki were also present at the dedication ceremony.
“Franklyn and Rose are passionate about the gospel message. They decided to spend their own money to build the first new Adventist permanent church building on Araki island. They believe whatever they have, it is God who is the Giver of all blessings. Therefore, they return all these blessings for the furtherance of the gospel,” said Mr Yarakei.