Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Missionary Zone and District Conferences

      There have been three districts in Vanuatu  -  Port Vila, Santo, and Malakula.  Now we are experiencing growth and a real need for change.  The Port Vila District, the original district, is no longer.  The Efate District now includes all of Efate Island, but not Tanna Island any more.  Tanna is a separate district.  This latest district conference was only the missionaries serving here on Efate. This group is plenty large enough.
      Every district conference includes training sessions and instruction from President and Sister Brewer.  They are both wonderful speakers.  The missionaries present as well.  There is one big luncheon together.  And  -  the missionaries all have their individual interviews with the president. We love the missionaries that we serve with.  Some are from the USA and Canada.  Some are from Australia and New Zealand.  Some are from the other island nations around here - Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, etc.  Some are from right here in Vanuatu.  One young elder is from Malaysia, but since he left home, his family has moved to Tennessee.  They are all wonderful.

Furniture for the Cumorah Kindy School in Etas!

     Clyde has been very busy with the Etas school project.  After hunting all over Port Vila, they discovered that there simply is not any school furniture here.  So - Clyde drew up some plans (designs), and they took them to a lumber company.  Oh my!  The cost was completely out of consideration.  The only choice was to build all of the furniture from scratch.  Clyde and Donald Hilliman (from the Cumorah School Committee) went allover town again.  They needed to get cost estimates for the project.  One thing was here and another there.  Last week the building began!

They started with building all of the benches for the classroom. Each bench will hold two pikininis.  Yes, I was very concerned with using the word pikinini when we arrived in Vanuatu.  I was taught that it was a derogatory term as I was growing up.  However, in Vanuatu children are pikininis!!!!!
      Next they built the tables for the students.  Clyde made sure that everything was built with sturdiness and stability.  They really look great!

      They also built easels and the blackboards and four large storage cabinets.  The cabinets will  lock.  They will hold all of the supply bins for the school.  Everything that has been constructed is being delivered to the school- by Clyde and Donald.  Donald is the motivating force that has kept things moving along in the Etas community for this project.

      Next all of the school supplies from many, many stores need to be gathered and delivered.  All of this takes a while with only one pickup truck.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Working with our Coordinator from Auckland - Arama

      Arama is a native Mauri.  His family have been members for five generations.  His family was converted in the large group that joined the church in the 1840's.  The missionaries arrived and entire villages were converted.  He is a wonderful, dedicated member and an excellent manager. 
Arama visited us here in Port Vila for three days. We were able to accomplish so much while he was here.  He learned more about our situation here  -  what our difficulties and constraints are.  We learned a great deal from him.  Arama has just recently started working for the church.  He is well educated and has been successful in other endeavors.  He has a positive approach to problem solving!
       This evening we held a meeting for all of the parents of the students that are currently attending the church school in Samoa.  We were very excited that he stated that the opportunity would be expanded this next year.  We will be able to open the opportunity to the member students on other islands.  Frazier is the young man front and center here.  He has been a member for six months.  He is the only member of his family that is a member.  He is very dedicated to his callings in the branch.  He really wants to try and go to Samoa next year.
       Arama attended our monthly Vanuatu Education Committee Meeting.  He presented the new church Self Reliance Program to everyone.  This will be a great step forward throughout the world.

       We took Arama to some of the schools that we have developed a good working relationship with.  The schools were very complimentary of our efforts to build partnerships with the schools.  The director at the Hospitality School said that we are the first church group that has ever made that effort to work together for the people of Vanuatu.

   We also met with President Brewer to discuss some of the big issues that face the returned missionaries here in Vanuatu.  The missionaries want to improve their situation.  Many of them have no financial support from home.  The families are mainly subsistence living and simply can't  help there young people.  This is especially true of those that are from other islands.  We need to find a way for them to live here and go to school and stay active in the church and survive!!!!

Self Reliance!