We want to share some of our missionary experiences. There have been many already. We have met some wonderful members. Those that are actively involved have strong testimonies. They love their families. They are indeed Heavenly Father's children.
As to our specific calling in the Perpetual Education Fund, initially it was a little discouraging. There is so much that these people need and so many obstacles. The goverment here only educates through the sixth grade. After that the students need to pay for secondary schooling. And - they apply for the secondary program and are assigned to a school. The school could be anywhere in the country, on any of the islands. So - families or at least the mothers and the children have to move. There are some more expensive private schools here in Port Vila, but they are out of reach for most of the people. Consequently, many of the people have only a sixth grade education. Thus part of our dilemna!
Another frustration has been the number of older members that want schooling now. Some of them have been waiting for the PEF program to come to Vanuatu. They see it as an answer to their prayers. Again, these are dear people. However, the PEF only covers ages 18 to 30. There are some rare exceptions but not enough to begin to help all of these people. And - some of these older saints have even less education. For example, Beatrice is forty two years old. She has a third grade education. She has no teeth at all. (It is hard enough to understand these soft spoken people when they have teeth,) She wants to be a manager. Many of these people want to be managers in a store or hotel, etc. They see it as the avenue to a better life. Beatrice is coming to our Planning for Success workshops regularly and always has her homework done. What can we do for her?!
Here is Clyde working in our apartment.
What you see in the upper right hand corner is the extent of our kitchen. The large object under the counter edge is our filing cabinet. On the left of the picture is an extra single bed. The table and chairs we brought in off of the deck. Otherwise there was no place to work.
This is one of our bright hopes. This is Spencer. He is a recently returned missionary from Santa Rosa, California. He has grade twelve and wants to be a teacher. He wants to go to BYU Hawaii. There is a program called I-WORK that is available only for Pacific Islanders. First the student must get accepted to BYU-H and then they can apply for this grant. It pays for everything whle they are in school - tuition, books, housing, meals, etc. In return the student works at the Polynesian Cultural Center. This is funded by a group of private donors!
There are several other students that we have high hopes for their success. I will try to get more pictures and will post their stories as well. We know that we are where we are suppose to be. The gospel is true!