A Life-Changing Opportunity
An INC Giving Volunteer Shares Her Experience in Vanuatu
I remember watching the weather forecast for Port Vila, the harborside capital and main hub of the small South Pacific nation of Vanuatu, and constantly being reminded to prepare for wet weather conditions, as it was forecasted to rain. But, from the moment we arrived, the rain halted till the day we left the island.
During the first two days of my arrival, along with the other four sisters I traveled with, we made it our mission to invite people in town to our worship services and evangelical missions.
We did not have physical copies of invitations, so we improvised using technology and showing invitations on our phones. That afternoon, we attended a worship service at Blacksands Group Worship Services in Port Vila. That was the first opportunity I had to perform my duty as a choir member in Vanuatu. We not only worshiped with fellow members of the Church, but also with the many guests that arrived to listen to the words of God that afternoon.
The next day, we arrived at nearby Laken Village, where we held the Children’s worship service, an adult’s worship service, as well as a baptism consecutively on this day. The children were so excited about the worship service, and they listened when the Children’s Worship Service Teachers began teaching them the words of God.
I remember Brother Lucky, a minister of the gospel, telling the children that they have hope in their life, that they have something to look forward to and they’ll be blessed with a bright future because they are now the children of God, and the look of hope and happiness that came from these children is something I could never forget.
This day, we also witnessed 10 brethren receive the holy baptism. This was a special experience as choir members, because unlike back home, in Sydney, we sang hymns of praises on the banks of the lake while curious onlookers from the village looked on as we worshipped God. After this event, I was able to speak to a couple of youth members from this Group Worship Service (GWS), who told us that after watching the choir in the worship services, they were inspired to also become choir members. I felt joyful and hope that God willing, this GWS would call more members and officers and that one day, they too would have choir members singing in their worship services.
Later that day, we traveled to Prima Village, where we were confronted by not only the poor living conditions of the people but the challenging walk through narrow paths, muddy walkways, and slopes that would lead us to the place where we held the evangelical mission and the medical mission.
Most of the brethren who traveled to Vanuatu were practicing health care workers, such as nurses and doctors. As a registered trauma nurse back in Australia, I got the chance to help provide the villagers with basic medical attention, medication, as well as consultations with doctors. I encountered many children who required treatment.
One particular case I managed was a one-year-old baby who had boiling water accidentally spilled onto one of his legs causing second-degree burns. This was left untreated and exposed for over a week. I recall the baby being in great pain and the wound being so dirty, but we were able to dress the wound, give extra medical supplies but most importantly, educate the mother on how to care for the injury. At times we all struggled giving help, due to our different languages, but thebrethren from the different GWS were able to help us translate and overcome this obstacle.
This medical mission really opened my view on the reality of poverty, that simple treatment and education, which is a basic necessity back home, is something that these people cannot easily access.
The following day we dedicated the village chapel in Teouma. Though this was a quite a distance from The chapel overflowed with brethren from Blacksands, Prima Village and Laken Village, with many listening from outside, under marquees. You could truly see the joy of the brethren, blessed with a place they can use to worship Our Lord God.
Members of the Church Of Christ make their way to the newly constructed village worship building in Teouma.
To accommodate a large number of attendees a tent was set up for the dedication.
That afternoon, we then traveled to Seaside markets, to hold another evangelical mission. Many guests arrived and people gathered around the venue wandered in, curious to see what we were doing. They listened to the hymn singing, and to the preaching of God’s words, led by Brother Raul Adalla, and then a video was shown, that displayed the many victories that the Iglesia Ni Cristo has achieved. This followed with the giving of goodwill bags, that brethren from the other GWS had helped give out. At this time, we were also signing up the names of the villagers who voluntarily wanted to become bible students. It was very overwhelming, we continuously.
This opportunity I was given, to visit the Republic of Vanuatu, certainly served as an inspiration to continue to work harder and become ever stronger in my faith.
To witness the rapid growth of membership, and the warm welcome of the people in this part of the world, truly shows that God will always bless his people with the many victories in the Church.
We were able to show unity with other brethren that came from different places in our district, and together we were able to fulfill the commandment of God that “Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it.”
Written by Janelle Javier
Janelle Javier is a trauma nurse from Seven Hills, Australia. She was able to travel to Vanuatu to help as a choir member and during the outreach events as a medical professional. Watch the full story on the INC Giving Show.
Photos were contributed by volunteers from the Multimedia Bureau of Australia.