A glimpse into some of the amazing developments in the Adventist Church in Vanuatu.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Vanuatu recently held evangelistic meetings across that South Pacific nation, which covers more than 80 islands. After most of the meetings had wrapped up at the end of July, church leaders and members reported stories of how residents of the island communities opened up and accepted Bible truth, with dozens eventually deciding to join the Adventist Church. Below are some of their stories. — Editors
If You Preach It, They Will Come
For the first week of meetings in Emua on Efate, Vanuatu Mission secretary Charley Jimmy preached to an empty field. Sometimes he asked, “God, what am I doing here? Is this Your will for us to have this program here?”
Nos Terry Mailalong, president of Vanuatu Mission, baptizes an inmate at Port Vila’s minimum-security prison on July 28, 2018. Twelve inmates surrendered their lives to Christ. [Photo: Jean-Pierre Niptick, Adventist Record]
On the right, some of the inmates baptized at Port Vila’s minimum-security prison on July 28, 2018. It was the first baptismal ceremony at a prison in Vanuatu and was attended by national officials and police officers. [Photo: Jean-Pierre Niptick, Adventist Record]
During the second week, however, people started to attend, and by the final Sabbath (Saturday) of the program, 13 people had decided to be baptized. Among them were a pastor of another Christian faith and his wife. The evangelistic series not only brought them and their daughter into the Adventist family, but it also brought the couple back together after seven years of separation.
On the change that took place in Emua over the three weeks of the series, Jimmy said, “It’s indeed a miracle. I just did my best, and God did the rest.”
Beauty From Ashes
Wala is an islet off the northeastern coast of Malakula and a community where most residents follow another Christian faith. Despite this fact, the local chief offered the Seventh-day Adventist Church a place to conduct evangelistic meetings in July 2018.
Having welcomed everyone during the opening ceremony, the chief and his family stayed for the meeting. They returned home to find that their house had burned to the ground. Although very upset, the chief and his family continued to attend the meetings.
On the final Sabbath of the program, five people, including the chief’s wife and son, gave their lives to Jesus in what was the first Adventist baptism ever held on Wala. Others, including the chief, wanted to be baptized but hesitated after receiving threats from the local community. The Vanuatu Mission is now organizing Bible studies for these individuals.
Baptism Behind Bars
In a first for the Vanuatu Mission, a baptism was held at Port Vila’s minimum-security prison on July 28, 2018, with 12 inmates surrendering their lives to Christ. Baptisms were conducted by Nos Terry Mailalong, president of Vanuatu Mission, with Member of Parliament Ralph Regenvanu and other government dignitaries and police officers also attending the ceremony.
Half of the prison’s inmates are continuing to study the Bible with the help of members from the nearby Epauto Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Not Preaching but Still Reaching
Anyone who has moved to another country and not known anyone or how to speak the local language knows that it can be incredibly isolating. This was the case for Jung Wang, a Chinese woman who recently moved to Vanuatu with her family.
“When she came to the community, she had no other friends,” said Johhny Koanapo Rasou, parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister’s office and a member of Etas Seventh-day Adventist Church. “She found friendship with the mothers from our church.”
Wang began to attend Sabbath programs and worship services at the Etas church. Then, at the end of July’s evangelistic series, she and her two daughters were baptized and became members of the Adventist Church family.
Local church leaders reported that Wang’s husband, a local businessman, did not attend the meetings but supported his wife and daughters in their decision.