The Vanuatu team is finally reaching that “settled in” stage, where our things are somewhat organized and our schedule is beginning to gel. We certainly have not been at a lack for work, and I’m amazed every day by just how hard and how willingly this team tackles the tasks set before it. We’re actually staying right in Waterfall village. Several of the girls are staying with Linda Evans in the women’s community center which also houses the kitchen, the guys are all with me in Silas Buli’s house just next door, and the rest of the girls are with Codah in Silas’s guesthouse nearby. Our main project is building a Training Center, the goal of which is to train young people who drop out of school and equip them with basic occupational skills. The Training Center will be in a very convenient location, situated just between Silas’s house and guesthouse. It really is an ideal setup. So far, we have spent the majority of our time building trusses and pouring concrete, so several of the skills learned at Boot Camp have proved invaluable. We also replaced a rusty roof on the Ranmawot Health Center, just down the road and were treated to a lovely morning and afternoon tea by the staff there. On Sunday we attended church at the Ranwadi College, a Church of Christ Bible School just north of Waterfall Village. The team members were able to give their entire presentation there to a crowd of nearly 300, including a church team from Australia that is also helping out in the area. Testimonies were shared by Allie Snyder and Ethan Seevers, and they were quite powerful, moving several in the congregation to tears. Joshua Stiffler gave a short gospel presentation, and afterwards we partook of communion. We got to enjoy some much-needed free time by taking a ten minute hike to the nearby 100 foot gorgeous waterfall for which the village is named, and swam there for some time. The lady leaders have truly outdone themselves, especially considering the rather limited choices of food available to them. Their creativity in menu planning has really shone through, and with Linda Evans’s wealth of experience, the team is in good hands. Becky Gold led our team devotions last night and shared from Jude, encouraging everyone to persevere through the various trials they face. The team is bonding extraordinarily well, and we have been blessed beyond measure by the warm hospitality of the locals.
The hardest part of getting here was the time change and the long time it took to travel. The most humbling thing is the fact that these people have almost nothing, yet they give us the best they have. The beauty here is awe-inspiring and the people here are the kindest and most welcoming people I think I will ever meet – Joshua Stiffler
In the midst of our exciting schedule, God has been teaching me a lot. After being away from technology, friends, family, and simple things that make my life easier, I have realized how much those cares of the world can cloud my relationship with God. Without Him we wouldn’t have any of those things and He is the ONLY thing that matters. I was struck by this concept after losing my wallet in the airport. The message matters more than the money. I miss my family and friends a lot, but I am reminded constantly by God why I am here in Vanuatu – Joel Harbin