A Brief Summary Of Our Vanuatu Trip
I went to Vanuatu with a team of Life Runners recently on 26th April and returned on 1st May 2017….just 6 days. But those 6 days were a huge blessing in more ways than one.
We were not really sure what was going to happen but we had prayed up, paid up and prepped up for this mission. We were ready. Our team leaders were Ryan and Karen Patnaude and there was Bui (my wife), myself, Rozina and Ella Mae, the Patnaudes’ daughter of 7 years old.
Our first day of arrival was spent relaxing and then getting ready for the evening meeting at the Ekoftau AOG Family Worship Centre (EFWC) that is led by Pastor Fong and his wife, Wati Fong.
Rozina spoke that night and represented the Raising Sisters as a sort of follow-up from last year’s Conference in October 2016 in Vila. Her message was powerful and simple as she challenged the ladies at the meeting to arise to their destinies using the story about the Shunamite woman and the prophet Elisha in 2 Kings.
There was a huge response and most of the ladies flocked to the altar to get prayed for. That night the church hosted a fundraising dinner for ladies wanting to attend the Raising Sisters Conference in Fiji in June and we picked up a few packs to take back to the hotel. I thoroughly enjoyed the beef chop-suey.
The next meeting was at the Apostolic Church at night. This church is pastored by Pastor Allan and his wife, Sister Karen. Our team leader, Karen Patnaude spoke at this meeting highlighting that the church needs to embrace ladies who had unplanned pregnancies. The church needed to show compassion and understanding and open their arms to support and embrace these women to keep their babies until full-term and delivery.
Some great relationships were formed at this meeting and many ladies signed up to become Life Runners.
Three of the team members, Bui, myself and Rozina were picked up at about 10am at the hotel by my cousin, Jessie Hatch. Jessie is better known as “Chooky” and has been living in Vila for the last 42 years.
We were taken for a tour of Mele Village and parts of Vila. Mele is the village of our great grandmother and so it was surreal driving through the village and shouting out greetings from the vehicle.
After lunch, we went to Chooky’s home and then returned to the hotel to rest and prepare for the evening meeting.
Karen again spoke at EFWC Church the next evening on Friday. This time she conducted a training session for interested people in helping women to change their minds about aborting their babies.
The next morning, there were a good number of ladies who walked with us as Life Runners for the first time. We walked from the Kaiviti Hotel to the nice little park at the waterfront in Town. We walked and prayed for the people of Vila and Vanuatu. We prayed for the unborn and for the churches. Our group then took photos and the Vanuatu Life Runners Committee joined us at the hotel to discuss administrative matters for the Vanuatu Chapter.
Merilyn Malas, Hannah, Harriett, Karen Bani, Chang and others along with Pastor Fong and Pastor Allan played an instrumental part in ensuring that our meetings were arranged. For that, we thank them and give praise to God.
After serious discussions and prayer and a lot of laughter, we ended the meeting. That evening we were invited to join a lovely couple and their family for dinner. Damien and Sally’s family hosted the team to a night of prayer, praise, sharing, eating and laughter. In my humble opinion, I would rank Damien’s cooking somewhere in the top 10 anywhere in Fiji.
The next morning, we attended the EFWC Church. After arrival, I was invited to speak in their adults Sunday school and also in the main service. After the service the team was treated to a sumptuous lunch that included a main course, tea and cakes and ice cream. We had to almost drag ourselves back to the hotel. Come to think of it, maybe we have to repent of eating too much.
If that was not enough, Bui, myself and Rozina were blessed to be invited to dinner by one of the deacons of EFWC Church. At a hotel’s restaurant, we were treated to a wonderful dinner of lamb and vegetables with roasted potatoes. Over dinner, we shared about our spiritual journeys and how God had impacted us in unique ways. This leader struck me as a God fearing and humble person. He is a Fijian serving in Vanuatu.
Our last day on Monday was spent having lunch with Pastor Fong and Sister Wati along with Damien and his family. Then we went to the airport and after saying goodbye to our Vanuatu friends, we flew home.
Mission accomplished for the children of Vanuatu.