2017 News

I Went Empty and Came Back Full

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Philip Neyava, President of Tanna Island Churches of Christ Council Vanuatu (CCCV), is a young man in his thirties with a heart for God and his community.

He is passionate about leading and growing the local churches on Tanna. Phillip has been the Island President for about six years. During this time, he has never attended any of the CCCV meetings due to the expense of travel and the difficulty in getting there. GMP invested in the future of this young leader, providing him with the opportunity to attend the annual CCCV conference in 2016.

Over 100 members of the Vanuatu Church Councils attended the conference. Philip said, “It is not just about the conference that we attended but about new experiences, new relationships, strengthening, encouraging, and knowing we are united in the widely separated islands of Vanuatu.” During the conference, Philip was included in the induction prayer with other Island Council Presidents and graduate pastors from the Mobile Bible College. “That was the most important part in this conference as a young leader. I once thought I am not that important and recognised. Now I know differently.” Presentations included the Christian Women’s Fellowship (CWF) trainings, Bible study, youth ministry and AGM resolutions. Discussions of these empowered participants to take new ideas back to their churches. “I have experienced new ways, and heard of how successful some Island Councils are. We shared our failures, encouraged each other and prayed together.”

During the conference, Philip received the opportunity to share about his experiences of living through Cyclone Pam in March 2015. His story of survival is like many on Tanna, only made possible by the grace of God. “Everyone asked about Tanna and what happened, during and after the cyclone. We took this opportunity to highlight the development in the churches and the chance to thank the Island Councils, churches, and individuals for their assistance during the cyclone.” In the weeks and months after the cyclone, Philip worked with the council, community and GMP to rebuild churches, schools, kindergartens and first aid posts. “Attending the conference and having the opportunity to share with others is very satisfying.” This experience gave Philip new leadership skills, new relationships to build a future on, and encouragement to continue doing good works for Jesus. “I have learnt many new things in leadership and for the first time am becoming familiar with many Christian families around Vanuatu. That is too great for me. I went empty and came back full.”

Please remember to pray for Philip, his wife Senny, and their two small children.

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