Following months of preparation a team of 11 volunteers travelled to Tanna, Vanuatu, in September 2018. We had consulted with the Churches of Christ Conference in Vanuatu, Tanna Island Conference, church leaders, chiefs and locals to offer skills, training and assistance helpful to them.
Several months prior to our arrival we constructed, packed and shipped crates across. These contained items needed for building projects, teacher training resources, Bibles, solar components and other donated goods for the community. We pitched our tents at Ikuningen village, thankful to use the newly constructed community building for our camp kitchen and meeting space for team debriefs and prayer times.
As planned, we assisted locals to finish the last of the blockwork and construct the roof for the new chapel, replacing their original church building which had been destroyed by Cyclone Pam. Primary and Kindergarten teacher training was conducted using the Isla School premises. A library of books sent over by South Pacific School Aid (an Adelaide charity) was sorted and stacked onto shelves built by the team. Seventeen new desks were assembled, painted, and put into classrooms to use the day following completion. Solar power was supplied to the teachers’ houses at the school, joining the system the team installed at the school in 2017. Support was given to the First Aid Post worker. Four Churches of Christ were visited on the Sunday, where team members led communion and preached. The Sunday school was visited and resources given to support their work.
Recently released New Testaments in the main island language were found in the Bible Society in Port Vila. Twenty were purchased and shipped over to provide Scripture to the newest outreach congregation. Talks between team members and several key contacts in various positions were held, seeking other avenues of support or equipping that may help the communities on Tanna to gain needed skills, training or resources.
As we engaged with the local communities in churches and schools, we were assured that God had prepared the way for us. Again we were humbled by their generosity and welcome to their villages, and experienced the love of God from them as they cared for us.
Suzanne Turner, SA