This week started with a 21+ hour boat ride from the island of Efate to the island of Malekula, then to hop on a truck that drove us an hour into the jungle to reach our destination…the beautiful village of Lambumbu, Malekula– home of the cocoa plantation!Greeting us was 100+ Nivan (the native people of Vanuatu) villagers eager to meet the first group of Christian missionaries to ever set foot in their village. SO COOL. With this, came the most hospitable host families I’ve ever seen, eager to invite each of us into their homes. Each one of our team members got adopted into a different family, where we will spend the next two weeks living, eating, and sleeping in their weaved, palm branch homes!Their way of living here is absolutely beautiful– the heart of the culture, the smile on their faces, and the way they serve is a humbling experience for each of us.This past week there has been many cultural celebrations– starting with “Children’s Day”, two days after we arrived. A day to celebrate family, give gifts to children, eat food, sing, play sports, eat more food, and perform skits. Being adopted into a Bislama family has given each of us an opportunity to seek out relationship and invest personally into each family, making our presence here in the village, a great one.My Bislama mama is also mama to our contact Jonathan, who works for the Peace Core, who isn’t currently here. Because of this, she has a pretty good understanding of how to communicate in English, making things a bit easier. She is a mother to 4 pretty Nivan girls, Jonathan, and now me! This past week she has taught me how to weave baskets out of branches, which gives me a good insight into how much hard labor and love goes into creating such a beautiful piece, which they then take to sell in the local market in town.As a church community, they are eager to have us lead while we are here– teaching them new worship songs, giving testimonies, leading bible studies, and preaching on Sunday’s! This past week, one of our students, Cole, got the chance to give a sermon on the destructiveness of shame, and how to deal with it, followed by a bible study led by Brandt.Being in the village has given us an opportunity to fully invest relationally with the locals of Vanuatu, being able to bring light into the everyday, and has given us a community of people to not only serve, but to humble ourselves enough to be served by such hospitable people.Tankyu Tumas!Jaci Duft – Staff, Outreach Leader
Blistering Barnacles…what a week we’ve had! Celebrations all around this week as we have successfully finished the first house for the DTS students. This has given the boys on our team an opportunity to spend the weekend in a proper bed before we head on to our next excursion. The cement mixer has been working overtime; thanks to a cracking sun filled week, the lorry was able to deliver “five” cubic meters of sand used in mixing render for the speaker’s room. After three applications to the wire meshed walls, it’s now ready to be painted.
We have also been able, through our contacts, to help SIL (bible translation) with some much needed decorating after their rebuilding project. The main homes survived with minor damage to there roof…but sadly having to replace the ceilings in three of the rooms; giving them a nice fresh coating of white paint, along with the outside porch timbers, helping to make it look much loved and homely.
We had chance to celebrate TJ’s birthday as a team, and finished off the week by enjoying the local Friday night Fire Show put on by a local Vanuatu Group. Absolutely AMAZING!!!
This Sunday has seen an incredible opportunity for a slightly different type of ministry. After the opportunity of hitching a ride aboard a private catamaran to our next destination not coming to fruition, we ended up putting our scuba and snorkeling skills, gained from Belize, to good use! We had the task of preparing and cleaning the hull for them to set sail with some much needed water filters to one of the other islands close by. This was due to the cyclone damaging their water storage tanks, making safe drinking a problem.
Our next move here in Vanuatu starts with a ferry to Malakula this Tuesday. Jaci and Josh have made contact with Jonathan, who is involved with the peace core, working with a village on a coco plantation. This should give us opportunity to continue building relationally, sharing God’s love, as well as helping out practically with other projects too.
Adam Spooner – DTS Student, April, 2015
Hello! Welcome to Talks With Taryn & Emily! Coming on outreach, we were very excited. To meet the locals, minister in churches, do physical labor, be a team, and just serve Christ in general. Being at the V2 life base has been a lot different than what we had expected outreach to be like. The many hours of physical labor have worn us out and many times we have lost our focus. Trying to juggle having a relationship with God and working the majority of the day has been a big challenge. It’s hard to find time for God when, after working all day, all you want is sleep. And honestly, quite a few times we have chosen sleep. Being here reminds us of the phrase “Being a Christian is simple, but not easy,” and that has been the last two weeks. Fortunately, we serve a big God, and He has shown himself true. Growing our faith and trust in Him, these past weeks have motivated us to push into a more intimate relationship with God. While the work has been hard, we wouldn’t change a thing. Looking forward to the different challenges we will face in these next few weeks!
Emily Saathof & Taryn Dupuis – DTS Students, April, 2015
Welcome to Vanuatu V2 Life Base! We have had our first week here at the YWAM base helping with the rebuilding. Everyone has enjoyed getting stuck with the construction work here. We’ve been preparing the insides of the clay bagged house for rendering by fixing the mesh wire to the walls and preparing floorboards for one of the homes to house the DTS group arriving in August. Also preparing the kindergarten by starting the inner construction of classroom space and decorating for the much-needed expansion to allow the village ministry to grow in this area.
Although there has been no lacking of enthusiasm, the need for materials and specialized tooling has sometimes hampered the progress with this. Also, the weather has not always been our friend as supply trucks have been prevented from their deliveries due to a few days of constant rain and wet weather. This has meant that as a group, we are ALL embracing the outreach lifestyle with washing clothes being more of a luxury, as drying them is a definite challenge here. Matthew 6 verse 25 onward has been a verse very much on my mind; “don’t worry about tomorrow, or what you will wear” as a laid back island lifestyle is to be embraced wholeheartedly.
We have also had the privilege to celebrate in the dedication of the Marine Reach Family care center only 50 meters up the road from us in Teouma Valley here in Vanuatu. There is a real heart to not just come and help the local community, but to integrate and have a constant presence here. Building community and understanding the real needs to work alongside family lives, sharing the Love of God on a practical level. This would be a fantastic area for prayer for wisdom and blessing for the future growth here on the island.
Again this week, two of our group, TJ and Cole, have been able to attend a local youth group that meets on Friday evening. Alongside Tony, who has been living here within the community for the past 5 or so years, working within schools and villages building friendships with the teenagers in the surrounding areas. This was another fantastic opportunity to share Gods love through relationship.
This week has not been completely smooth running with the base’s small truck breaking down late on Friday night on their way back from one of the local villages. The V2 Life Base is also helping to lead a water project here on the island in helping local villages construct water tanks and drill boar holes to help provide clean drinking water. On the return home, the radiator housing cracked leaving the truck stranded. Today the recovery mission is underway and hopefully a replacement part can be soused quickly as this is an essential part of our life here.
Never a dull moment, but praise God for the blessings we have and the love we can share with that.
Adam Spooner – DTS Student, April, 2015
“Hurray!! We have arrived safe and well after just under 60 hours of traveling, using nearly ever mode of transport known to man!
Our adventure started in on Sunday afternoon catching a boat from San Pedro to the local airport. Then an exciting island hopper via Caye Caulker to Belize City…a nice van ride to the bus station for our first chance to bond as a team (hanging out for 6 plus hours) before catching the overnight bus to Cancun airport. From there, we had the opportunity to enjoy all that the Cancun airport has to offer for the next 12 hours. From there, Virgin America took care of us and delivered us safely to Los Angeles airport where we enjoyed an opportunity to try out Parkour to ensure we made our tight deadline for our connecting flight to Fiji…here was our first test of land life and the culture we are submerging our lives into for the next 7 weeks. Here we had opportunity to visit outside of the airport and explore…after a few hours of freedom, it was back on Fiji airlines for our final flight to Vanuatu…
58 hours and 40 minutes later, arriving on the back of a truck…our first place we could call home “Marine Reach YWAM” Grace House, Port Vila…this gave us a chance to relax, take stock AND most of all change out of our travel gear…
Grace House was the first chance to really discover what was in store for us…our team leaders (Josh and Jaci), had done a fantastic job of arranging accommodation with the opportunity to take some much needed rest and some first hand experience of island life and local etiquette. Marine Reach has done a fantastic job at setting up a base here at Vanuatu. In 2009, V2 Life was established and used as a base to run DTS groups and outreach opportunities. Grace House was born out of a vision to have a place for traveling groups (like us) to rest and re-group. After recovering from our travels and getting a feel for what might be in store, Sunday was upon us…International Christian church provided the first opportunity to submerge ourselves in island life; even if it was an English speaking church.
From this, two of our group members, Brandt and Emily, had the opportunity to get involved with leading a church service at one of the boarding schools here in Port Vila; sharing with the high school children their testimonies and praying in a small group setting. The culture here is extremely friendly and very, very hospitable. One of the areas we have been educated in, has been the interaction between the locals and the visitors. The local culture is so pleasing that even the way you phrase your questions need to be carefully constructed. This is because 90% of the time, regardless of what you say the answer will be YES!
The affects of the cyclone are still very visible in and around Port Vila, even V2 Life had been badly affected by this, with the total destruction of five of there buildings and badly damaging four others. Only three out of the twelve buildings survived…this will give us our next opportunity to serve here on the island as there is a DTS planned for August and quite a lot of work to be done to achieve this…to be continued!
Adam Spooner – DTS Student, April, 2015
It’s all about the small things. Dad has been doing some amazing heart work over here in Central Asia. to those watching us (which is pretty much everyone, all the time) our team looks like a group of students handing notes to random citizens, playing sports with university students, and looking lost 98% of the time. The first two things we do on purpose but the last is just an unfortunate reality. However, Dad has shown us all that He shows up in the small things and makes them big.
One of our team mottos has been doing small things with great love, like giving out notes of encouragement to those whom society passes over, or engaging with young people and just spending quality time with them. We have seen and done a lot of “little” things here: playing various sports (badminton, pingpong, soccer, basketball), teaching English in kindergartens, hanging out with locals, and talking a LOT with dad. This past week we were able to invite two of our friends over for dinner and really just love them by talking with them about their lives. We laughed a lot, ate mashed potatoes with chopsticks (the struggle was real), and felt incredibly blessed by their presence. We also recently handed out thankyou notes and snickers to all the street sweepers near us. Seeing their smiles and the somewhat bewildered looks on their faces showed us that it really is more blessed to give than to receive. It also made us realize that Dad will send you crazy places even if it’s just to hand some random person a thankyou note, because to Dad, that person isn’t random. On our last day of teaching English we waved goodbye to the kids and all of them got up and bombarded us with hugs, high fives and smiles. So all in all, we’ve been learning that it doesn’t matter how small the act may be, it can impact hearts and change lives. Dad has been using our small things to bless this place and these people in BIG ways, and he is also using the small things we receive to fill us up, no matter how much we pour out.
Abby Lake – DTS Student, January, 2015