On Friday March 5, people around the world gathered for the World Day of Prayer to celebrate and remember in prayer Vanuatu. Vanuatu is a beautiful country of picturesque beaches, coral reefs and tropical fish, waterfalls and lush foliage. The greatest privilege, however, is in getting to know its people.
The program for this event was beautifully written by the women of Vanuatu, collaborating across the Christian denominations. It was a privilege to be invited to share at one of these World Day of Prayer events in Adelaide as the guest speaker, reflecting on the theme, ‘Building on a Strong Foundation’ based on Matthew 7:24-27. Having been part of several team visits to Vanuatu, we experienced how important both a spiritual and physical foundation is. When Vanuatu became an independent nation in 1980, they took the motto ‘Long God Yumi Stanap’ - ‘In God We Stand’. Christianity put an end to many tribal wars under a centralised government, and today it is predominantly a peaceful Christian nation. Then, in terms of physical foundations, this was represented by cyclone strapping, which is important for any building to stay standing in the face of the many cyclones, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that are also part of life in Vanuatu.
It was also a joy to share the news and pictures of Londua Technical College reopening in February on Ambae after the eruption of the Manaro Voui volcano in 2018, that forced the entire population to flee the island.
Decorating the church for the prayer event, with the many baskets, fans, mats, feathers, dresses and material we had been so generously given over the years, including wearing an ‘aelan’ dress, brought back many happy memories of partnering together with God’s people in Vanuatu. Together, as one family in God, we stand strong.
Val Zerna, SA/NT Partnership Coordinator