Marcus didn’t know what to expect when he went on his first Partner Visit to Vanuatu. Despite all the uncertainties, he felt confident. He attended training with 11 other people from his church. This prepared them all to participate within another culture.
In September, Nigel and Karen Potticary, from Toowoomba North Church of Christ, led the team to Vanuatu. “We piled into the back of a Toyota Hilux with our luggage and headed out to where we would be staying,” described Marcus. Everything was new. The land, the people, the food, the culture. “My jaw was sore after the first day because most of the time it was agape,” Marcus remarked.
With ready hearts to serve, the team got straight into work!
They were servicing cars, generators, and an old truck. They helped with building projects, helped with plumbing and waterproofing. They mowed the grounds and replaced lights. Fixed toilets and showers and doors. Painted and installed drywall. Even screen-printed shirts! “I was grateful for the opportunity to give back there,” Marcus said of his contribution.
Their trip also had a spiritual impact. The team led devotions, prayed, sang and danced in skits. Helped with youth groups and a kids club. “It was once in a lifetime experience to meet some of those people,” Marcus reflected. "We would share food with them afterwards and spent time playing with children (often kicking around a football or dancing). It was a magical time.”
Toowoomba North church has had a partnership in place with the Churches of Christ in Vanuatu, focusing on Ambae. They have been visiting partners there for many years. Nigel said that it had been four years since their last visit. “Our relationship is [still] very strong even after [the] absence.” Marcus saw the hospitality evident in the partnership, “I cannot say enough good things about the goodness of those people and that place.”
Marcus enjoyed his first visit to Vanuatu and has some advice for others who want to participate in a Partner Visit. “I found it’s best to hold any expectations of what it’ll be like. Just prepare for it and find out when you get there, and when you do, engage and be in the moment.”
Nigel is now preparing for another team to visit in December.
Global Mission Partners connects local churches in missional partnerships, both internationally and here in Australia through Indigenous Ministry partners. If you would like to visit one of our partners in 2024 or establish a Church-to-Church partnership, please get in touch with us! You will never be the same.
“I grew a lot as a person and learnt values that will stay with me for the rest of my life,” Marcus said.