MINISTRY HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH
There seem to be endless opportunities and invitations for ministry of all sorts in Vanuatu. There are a myriad of physical and spiritual needs here, so it is a place where people with various backgrounds and skills can use their gifts in very specific ways. There is a great need for people who are willing to work as discipleship trainers, advisors/technicians, and as support staff to our growing field.
For us (Brad & Amber Jones), God has uniquely blessed us with an opportunity to encourage scripture use among a people group located on one of Vanuatu’s many outer islands. A translation of the New Testament was published in 2005, and we have been invited by the community and in partnership with another mission organization here in Vanuatu to help the people learn to use their new Bibles! Our project goals include recording the New Testament for those that can’t read well; aiding in literacy; and teaching at Sunday services, small groups, family worship times, and anywhere else we are invited. Essentially, we get to spend all day learning the language of our friends and discussing matters of faith and the heart through a warm and open invitation. And all this takes place while enjoying incredible friendships in our beautiful--but very rustic--island home where we are free to live and experience some of the most amazing things on God’s earth.
To be fair, this place isn’t for everyone. Pictures don’t tell the whole story. There are elements of life here that are very hard and trying. The heat, the inconveniences, poor health and distance from home wear us down 3x faster than in the western world. Living here isn’t just a matter of being tough (‘cause we’re not)….it’s a matter of grace. And with that, we think we are pretty blessed!!!!
Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE LAND THAT HAS ALWAYS EXISTED
"The land that has always existed"...that's the meaning of the name Vanuatu. In July 1980, when this chain of 83 tropical island jewels in the South Pacific chose this name, it became an independent nation after 74 years of colonial rule. In spite of a growing tourist industry and many budding entrepreneurial endeavors, today Vanuatu is still finding its feet with infrastructure and services to its scattered islands a slow process in the making. Foreign governments and aid agencies assist this nation of 230,000 inhabitants in many sectors of public and commercial life. The friendly ni-Vanuatu are a people in flux, undergoing the challenges of technological advancement while clinging to traditional Melanesian values.
FAITH AND FEARS
Christianity arrived in Vanuatu in the m id-1800s splashed with the blood of cannibalized missionaries. Eventually the Christian message was spread throughout the archipelago by mostly Presbyterians and Anglicans. Denominational choices are much broader in 21st century Vanuatu, and almost any person in Vanuatu will be glad to tell you his church affiliation. It's almost as much a part of his identity as where he was born. But many ni-Vanuatu are Christians in name only; the reality of the Gospel has never penetrated their hearts and worldview. Behind the smiling brown faces are fears of the "clever" medicine man - who can cause sickness or even death with his black magic - or worry about bad omens when a certain bird flies overhead.
Outside the two major towns of Port Vila and Luganville, most of the population live as subsistence farmers and fishermen. Without electricity, running water, decent roads and proper medical care, life is hard. Churches still meet in almost every village, but both church leaders and congregation are in great need of the Gospel and grounding in the Scriptures. In many places churches are without any pastor, trained or otherwise.
BMW Vanuatu is prayerfully pursuing the means to address the deep spiritual needs of the people of Vanuatu. Adopting a multi-pronged approach to reach both the urban and rural sectors and using both the trade and indigenous languages, some team members are based in the capital and others are seeking opportunities in the more remote islands. The overall vision includes, but is not limited to, careful evangelism and discipleship, Bible translation, and leadership training.
BMW Vanuatu is seeking team members committed to life-long learning and servant-hearted spiritual labor. Flexibility and creativity will be valuable assets to any team member. People well-grounded in the Scriptures and solid doctrine are needed to counter the great religious confusion in this country. Possible ministry opportunities include: