Archive for the ‘Vanuatu’ Category

Date with Sophie



After teaching for a whole week, James crashed over the weekend so I took Sophie out on my own to town!

 

It's really easy to get to town. There are these vans that they call "buses" here and you just have to flag them down and it costs 150 VT per person to get to anywhere one way. Children travel free. Pretty comfy but no seat belts tho. But they drive pretty safely here. 

 

 

First stop, the open market. Saturday must be the busiest day at the market. It opens 24 hrs through the week, closes on Sat by 2pm and it's closed on Sundays. In fact most of the shops in town are closed on Sundays. It's a religious observation for most because most go to church. During the week, the market stall owners sleep at their stall. You'll see mamas feeding babies, grandmas tending the stall, others sorting out the produce. It's generally the women who tend the stores. The men are the ones who harvest the produce in their land.

 

Sophie bought some peanuts. They are her favourite snack here. She's mastered how to crack the peanut herself this time! She used to bite the shell into pieces. I got myself some tapioca chips. My favourite snack here. I asked the mama at the store if I could take a picture and she raised her eyes and nodded her head. That's the local way of saying yes. After that she gave us a bunch of bananas! Actually she gave it to Sophie. So sweet ah… They really love children here. After that we got a pomelo. It's pomelo season and they are real yummy!

 

 

Next we went to the French pastry shop to get an ice-cream… actually to use the toilet… for customers…. so we got an ice-cream, the cheapest thing on the menu! :)

 

Finally we went to look for a princess dress for Sophie. The local chinese shops sell the ching chiong pink frilly ones complete with lace, sequins and ribbons… altogether. Managed to find one for her. It cost only 500 VT which is about S$7. She can just wear it casually and I don't have to worry about it ripping. :) The chinese lady at the shop gave us a discount! Sweet!

 

After that, we hopped into a bus and went home… in time for Levi's feed. :) Nice.

Hanging out at the base

 

We spent the whole of yesterday at the base. 

Sophie had so much fun! I hardly saw her.
 

Left: Sophie visiting the pigpen. Someone paid their staff fees with a pig. :)

Right: Piglets! They are really very cute and really squeal when you pick them up. 

 

She spent the morning cooking in the bush kitchen (this is just really the outdoor kitchen) with Rinette, feeding the pigs and watching Kalin making a nest for the chick he caught.
 

Left: A coup for the chick that Kalin caught. He made it out of coconut and chicken wire. Genius!

Right: Hanging out at the bush kitchen on the base. 

 

She spent the afternoon in the sun washing clothes with Rinette. She was getting all wet so Rinette hung her dress on the line too.
 

At the end of the day, she didn't want to leave. :)

Vanuatu Life



The fruits in Vanuatu are amazing! Truly organic and dropping at your doorstep. Past few days we've been awakened by mangos dropping on G & A's rooftop!
 

It's mango season! Apparently they only bear fruit twice a year. We're in luck!

 

A got the base staff to come collect the fruits. We experimented making mango jam. Maybe can sell them and raise funds for the base. A & I have been brainstorming names for the products and trying to think of ideas to help to develop an avenue for the base to disciple the staff through working and at the same time raise money for the base.

 

On a side note, it's really quite hard to run a base in a country where subsistence farming is the main way of life. Essentially when the kids come to do a DTS or be on staff, they have no money to pay staff fees (In YWAM, we serve as volunteers and we pay a monthly staff fees to our base). Instead, they "pay" their staff fees with produce e.g. coconuts, firewood, bananas, pigs etc! But still, the base needs money to pay for electricity and food etc. Visiting teams help to off set some of the costs but in the long run, the base needs to find ways to sustain the running of the base. They don't even have money to pay for visiting speakers. Each time we come, we come on our own support. It's really hard for them to invite visiting speakers for the DTS since they can't pay but somehow God just provides! :) So G & A are looking in the long run to develop a sustainable business model for the Ni-Vans to be able to learn new skills, be discipled and also support themselves.

 

Oh yes, if you would like to support their efforts financially in some way, please do let us know because we're aware of some projects that will require help. As of now, we know of a building project and a couple who are coming to do FMS next year that will need help. 

Vanuatu Life

 

Vanuatu has been invaded by Chinese people (ok… as with everywhere else in the world). The Chinese (mostly from China or Hong Kong) own most of the stores around and the Ni-Vans work for them. This has caused some sort of discrimination both ways. 

 

It is really quite unfortunate I feel because they don't realise how similar they both are culture wise because of the language barrier. Of course when we walk around, the Ni-Vans who don't know us automatically link us to the local Chinese people. The kids on the streets call us "chineese! chineese!" which we laugh about and repeat it back to them in the way they say it but we know there is an underlying discrimination of sorts.
 

It's funny how God brought us here. We've made friends on both sides. There's a Chinese guy in town whose family owns some shops who calls James "bro" on FB. We also enjoying chatting with the aunties in the shops.
 

P/s We chanced upon this Chinese takeout. They serve one of the cheapest meals around and food taste like home. The setting looks like S'p in the 60s. Tres retro!

What we’ve been up to

 

Sorry for the slow down in updates while we've been here. 

 

James has been teaching since Monday and it's been going well! It's a small class of 5 students and 3 staff. It's been cool to see how God works differently each time. James' been learning how to not teach the same things but to really press in and hear God for the specifics each time. He decided not to email everyone daily like the last time but I'll leave him to do that when he is ready.
 

We accompanied him on the first day to the base but after that, I decided to stay home with the kids instead. I would love to be at the base to hang out and catch up with people but it was just too stressful managing both kids and trying to keep the flies off Levi. It was much easier being at G & A's place. Much cooler with the fan too. But Sophie really enjoys being at the base. I think it's because it's familiar to her. Each time we've been to Vanuatu, we've stayed at the base. This is the first time we are staying off base. She enjoys running around and having the company of the che ches and kor kors.
 

Tomorrow is the last day of the teaching and we'll go to the base again with James.
 

Pls continue to pray with us for open heavens. For the students to experience a breakthrough in their struggles and in their relationship with God. To come to know God as their loving Father and to feel safe enough to completely surrender to Jesus as the Lord of their lives.

Friends

 
From Left: Clement from previous DTS, Sophie & Leiana, Nico & Krisma, Dinner at Geoff & Amanda's home

 

It's good to catch up with our friends here again.

Vanuatu

 

 

We are in Vanuatu. 

 

We are staying with Geoff and Amanda, the YWAM base directors here. James only starts teaching next Monday so we're adapting into island culture, relaxing and enjoying the company of our dear friends.
 

The kids normally takes a day or two to settle in. Since Tues, Levi's been quite erratic in his feeding and sleeping. He's only starting to feed better and seem more relaxed today. Sophie's happy to have a play mate Leiana (Geoff and Amanda's 4 yr old daughter) and they even slept in the same room the first night. Our days starts real early coz the cocks start crowing real early and the room is not completely blacked out.
 

The beach is opposite the house and mangos keep dropping on the roof from tree next to the house. I'm in heaven. :) Except my heaven will have no stray dogs. :)

Love Vanuatu DTS


 

This is the class that James is teaching this week! Everything is going great and God is moving in amazing ways. Praise God!

 

Keep on praying pls, two more days!

Trip to Rotorua with the Ni-Vans


L: Sophie and Leanna, check out how they picked up the same drink.
R: Me feeling the heat from the thermal pool. It’s boiling!

 

We spent Saturday in Rotorua with our friends from Vanuatu.

 

Rotorua is only about slightly more than 1 hr from Matamata where we are. It’s famous for its smell. You’ll smell sulfur as soon as you drive in. There is a lot of thermal activity everywhere. We went to an open park and you really walk at your own risk! Sophie was really fascinated with the bubbling mud pools and smoke. Ooo the smell!

 

Spending time with the Ni-Vans is always wonderful, always relaxing. You see the wonderful provision of the Lord everywhere they go and travelling with them, we get to experience that as well! They managed to borrow enough vehicles to take the entire team, someone arranged a BBQ lunch for them, free parks and free culture tours! It was so cool. Gonna miss them when they return and I’m hoping that we’ll get to go back to Vanuatu sometime this year. Maybe after baby is born.

Birthday Boy

 

James turned 37 last week! Happy Birthday to the most amazing and humble guy I know :)

 

For his birthday treat, he went deep sea fishing with some locals. He’s been wanting to do that for the longest time. See how happy he was? They caught 20 kg worth of tuna and sold it to the base for food. :)

 

We also went to the only Jap restaurant in town for dinner at night. It was so nice to have sushi for a change and Sophie really enjoyed herself. It was past bed time for her but she was totally enjoying the moment – a glass of juice just for her, sushi, company and singing Happy Birthday to her daddy.

Outreach Week 6 – Cleaning up the house

 

It never fails to amaze me how prayer & fasting always brings about the breakthrough that we long to see. Last Tuesday was a great testimony to that. If you need a breakthrough in your life, get on your knees, seek the face of God, pray and fast and you’ll see God move in an amazing way.

 

Our day started at 6am in the morning and we ended with a big feast at 7pm. It was a corporate compulsory fast so there was no cooking until the evening. With exception of the pregnant women and children.

 

We gathered for corporate prayer at the prayer house at 8am. We worshipped, prayed for each other and the base leaders shared their hearts. At 10am, some of us returned with the children. We set up the creative worship table where the kids drew pictures for Jesus. James stayed behind at the prayer house to pray and some worked on cleaning up the prayer house.

 

The prayer house has not been well kept and needed to be cleaned. It was symbolic of the state of prayer on the base. The Lord was calling the base to return to prayer.
Through the day, people signed up to pray.

 

At 3pm, we gathered again to share and feedback on what the Lord was showing us. A few shared and it was an amazing time where everyone confessed their sins and area of repentance. For some it was a time of reconciliation. A lot of walls were broken down that day.

 

After that some of us took the newly made cross and carried it and worshipped around the village. Some proceeded to prepare the feast. Others helped with the decorations for the feast. Some continued praying.

 

At 7pm, we gathered for a time of communion and ended with a feast and prayer for each other. The base also showed a video of thanksgiving for what the Lord had done over this year. God has really been so good to them despite of the many challenges.

 

Rest of the week, we went to Blacksands twice where Sue & Em taught and Jim preached, to the preschool, Gin led worship during the open meeting and James preached. We also organized a kids farewell party for the older kids that have been coming regularly on Thursday afternoons. This weekend we are preparing for a wedding for a couple on the base. In fact, we’re just preparing and cooking in a bit! We’re making samosas, chicken wings and fruit kebabs. Yums!

Outreach Week 5

 

Last week we felt the Lord leading us back to Him.

 

We stopped everything the previous Saturday and just spent time sharing and praying. In order to do that, we had to reshuffle a few responsibilities. Thank God that Geoff and Amanda (base leaders) were very understanding and accommodating towards us. As we shared with them, they confirmed that God has also been speaking to them about returning to prayer and worship as the foundation of the base. That was the affirmation we needed to press on.

 

As a team, we felt that God is calling us to repentance, communion, prayer and fasting. A relook at why we are doing what we are doing. A relook at our hearts and attitudes.

 

So, we set aside yesterday (Saturday) to pray as team and the upcoming Tuesday as a base to pray and fast and turn our eyes back to God. On Tuesday, we will break fast at 7pm (Vanuatu time) for a village and base celebration. Part of the plan is also to restore the prayer house which hasn’t been in great shape. Also we are going to reinstate the cross on the base and the prayer house.

 

As we began to once again turn our eyes towards the Lord (which is also repentance – turning away from ourselves and things around us and turning towards Him) and return to the DTS/Lordship day moment, several things began to fall in place. We began to see the team functioning in their giftedness and passion. We began to hear from the Lord like never before and had many words of confirmation from each other. Divine appointments also increased.

 

However, the attacks have also been fast and furious. With emotional despair and discouragement to physical sickness – Eli is having hand food mouth disease with ulcers on his hands and mouth, Gin pretty worn out from having to look after two kids on her own and she is also down with a stomach flu, and so on and so forth. It reached a peak yesterday morning when we started to fast and pray. That was when we realized that Eli was sick and Gin’s stomach flu got worse. The pressure was also building up and there was some tension but thank God it was quickly resolved.

 

Please do keep us in prayer as we make a stand to put God first in our lives and on behalf of the base and land. We believe that Tuesday is going to be a pivotal point in our lives as well as for the base so we would appreciate that you partner us in praying, not just for us but for the Love Vanuatu base and for Vanuatu. God is at work and we are excited to be part of it.