Pentecost Island, Vanuatu
Pentecost Island in Vanuatu in the South Pacific
Some of the signs of revival we saw include a whole mountain ‘on fire’ (with nothing burned) during revival meetings at their Bible College, witchcraft items revealed then removed and destroyed by prayer teams, everyone prayed for in ‘custom’ villages healed, and angels filling a village church with songs in the night in a small village where the worship had been strong, lasting for many hours. Everyone prayed for in that village was healed and all unbelievers repented during the worship and many were baptized.
100 years ago the wife of the highest ranking Paramount Chief died soon after native missionaries brought the Gospel to Pentecost Island. After her body was wrapped in burial calico the calico began moving. Quickly they unwrapped the body and she sat up, told them all to leave their bad heathen ways and follow the good Christian way. Then she lay down and died again. They did what she said and moved from pagan villages to Christian villages on land offered by a Christian Chief who was the grandfather of Pastor Rolanson, our host.
Photo Report – Andrew and others on Mission in Vanuatu
Photo Report – Grant Shaw on Mission in Vanuatu
Photo Report – Joel Shaw and team on Mission in Vanuatu
Photo Report – Previous teams in Vanuatu
Photo Report – Penteost on Penteost Island
Part of this account is background information from my book South Pacific Revivals (in paperback and ebook).
Martyr for the Gospel
Tomas Tumtum had been an indentured worker on cane farms in Queensland, Australia. He was converted there and returned around 1901 to his village on South Pentecost Island with a new young disciple from a neighbouring island. They arrived when the village was taboo because a baby had died a few days earlier, so no one was allowed near the village. Ancient tradition dictated that anyone breaking taboo must be killed, so they were going to kill Tomas, but his friend Lulkon asked Tomas to tell them to kill him instead so that Tomas could live and evangelize his own people. Just before he was clubbed to death at a sacred Mele palm tree, Lulkon read John 3:16 then closed his eyes and prayed for them.
Tomas became the pioneer of the church in South Pentecost, establishing many Churches of Christ in the villages there.
The church on Pentecost Island was strongly evangelical, founded by native leaders converted by the Churches of Christ mission in Queensland. Many of their leaders became filled with the Spirit in a series of indigenous revivals in the 1980s.
Pastor Lewis Wari completed studies at the Bible College at Banmatmat and began preaching at revival meetings in the villages of South Pentecost in the 1980s. Revival spread in 1980-1981 with many people weeping, repenting, being reconciled and some people being healed. Lewis had strong revelations and words of knowledge for people. He also faced some strong opposition from traditional churches – common to revivals everywhere.
Pastor Wilson Bebe also led many revival meetings in South Pentecost in the 1980s and 1990s. He was a strong evangelist and revival leader. Prayer meetings multiplied in 1990-1991.
Pastor Lewis spoke at meetings in March 1995 at Panlimsi village on the west coast. The Country Women’s Fellowship (CWF) met there for a week to learn to use sewing machines and Lewis preached at the night crusade meetings. On the Friday night, 31 March 1995, the Spirit of God moved in a very strong way. Many people were crying, repenting and were filled with the Spirit.
Pastor Rolanson had just finished his studies at Banmatmat and was the young pastor at Panlimsi then. He led teams from his church in revival meetings with Pastor Lewis. God moved in a strong way at Ranwas village on the east coast with many people crying and repenting. The teams led revival meetings in many village churches in South Pentecost.
Revival spark in 2002
The Port Vila law students Christian Fellowship in the University of the South Pacific, experienced a strong move of God from 2002, with many converted and filled with the Spirit. [Graduation photos here of Jay, Simon, Calvin (with Kata and Samuel), Romulo and Pam.]
In May 2003 a team from the University of the South Pacific law school Christian Fellowship joined me on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu for a weekend of outreach meetings on South Pentecost. The national Vanuatu Churches of Christ Bible College stands near the site of the native Christian martyrdom there.
God opened a wide door on Pentecost Island (1 Corinthians 16:8-9). The weekend with the CF team brought new unity among the competing village churches. The Sunday night service went from 6-11 p.m., although we ‘closed’ it three times after 10 p.m., with a closing prayer, then later a closing song, and then later a closing announcement. People just kept coming for prayer and singing.
Another team of four students from the law school CF returned to South Pentecost in June 2003 for 12 days of meetings in many villages. Again, the Spirit of God moved strongly. Leaders repented publicly of divisions and criticisms. Then youth began repenting of backsliding or unbelief. A great-grand-daughter of the pioneer Tomas Tumtum gave her life to God in the village near his grave at the Bible College.
We held evening rallies in four villages of South Pentecost each evening from 6 p.m. for 12 days, with teaching sessions on the Holy Spirit every morning in the main village church for a week. The team experienced a strong leading of the Spirit in the worship, drama, action songs with Pacific dance movements, and preaching and praying for people.
Mathias (in photo), a young man who repented deeply with over 15 minutes of tearful sobbing, became a main worship leader in revival meetings. When he was leading and speaking at a revival meeting at the national Bible College, a huge supernatural fire blazed in the hills directly opposite the Bible College chapel in 2005, but no bush was burned. They told us it was supernatural fire, with no smoke and nothing physical being consumed by the fire.
Pentecost Island Bible College
By 2004, the Churches of Christ national Bible College on Pentecost Island became a centre for revival teaching. Pastor Lewis Wari and his wife Marilyn hosted these gatherings at the Bible College, and later on Lewis spoke at many island churches as the President of the Churches of Christ. Lewis had been a leader in strong revival movements on South Pentecost as a young pastor from 1988, with many village revivals in [See last section of this article below].
Don and Helen Hill (in photo), friends from Brisbane, participated in some visits. Don repaired the electrical wiring at the Bible College and supplied needed portable generators and lawn mowers. Helen recorded the revival teaching sessions on DVD for international use by our friends in many nations who also experience revival.
Leaders’ seminars and youth conventions at the Bible College focused on God and revival. The college hosted regular courses and seminars on revival for a month at a time. Each day began with prayer together from 6 a.m. The early morning prayer meetings began even earlier, from 4.30 a.m., in the youth convention in December, 2004, as God’s Spirit moved on the youth leaders in that area.
Morning sessions continued from 8 a.m. to noon, with teaching and ministry. As the Spirit moved on the group, they continued to repent and seek God for further anointing and impartation of the Spirit in their lives. Afternoon sessions featured sharing and testimonies of what God is doing. Each evening became a revival meeting at the Bible College with worship, sharing, preaching, and powerful times of ministry to everyone seeking prayer.
Every weekend the teams from the college led revival meetings in village churches. Many of these village revival meetings went late as the Spirit moved on the people with deep repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness, and prayer for healing and empowering.
Another law student team from Port Vila, led by Seini Puamau, Vice President of the Christian Fellowship, had a strong impact at the High School on South Pentecost Island with big responses at all meetings. Almost the whole residential school of 300 responded for prayer at the final service on Sunday night October 17, 2004, after a powerful testimony from Joanna Kenilorea. The High School principal, Silas Buli, has prayed with some of his staff for many years from 4 a.m. each morning, praying for the school and nation.
The church arranged for more revival teaching at their national Bible College for church leaders. Teams from the college held mission meetings simultaneously in seven different villages. Every village saw strong responses, including a team that held their meeting in the ‘nakamal’, the chief’s meeting house of their village. The first person to respond for prayer in the nakamal was a fellow from the ‘custom’ traditional village called Bunlap.
Those Bible College sessions seemed like preparation for further revival. Every session led into ministry. Repentance went deep. Prayer began early in the mornings, and went late into the nights.
Village evangelism teams from South Pentecost continue to witness in the villages, and also visit other islands. Six people from these teams came to Brisbane and were then part of 15 from Pentecost Island on mission with me in the Solomon Islands in 2006.
Revival meetings on Pentecost
Grant Shaw joined me on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu in September-October 2006. Grant grew up with missionary parents in China, saw many persecutions and miracles, and had his dad recounting miraculous answers to prayer as a daily routine. They often needed to pray for miracles, and miracles happened often. From 14 years of age Grant participated in mission teams travelling internationally in Asia. Then he attended a youth camp at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship which has seen revival since 1994. He worked there as an associate youth pastor for 18 months before studying at Bible College in Brisbane and then being a youth pastor in a large Brisbane church. So he is used to revival – all his life! In Vanuatu he had clear words of knowledge, and saw people healed daily in meetings and in the villages. That inspired and challenged everyone.
Raised from the dead
In Port Vila the capital, on our way to Pentecost Island in 2006 with Grant Shaw we attended the Sunday service at the Upper Room church. At sharing time in the service Leah Waqa, a nurse, told how she had been on duty that week when parents brought in their young daughter who had been badly hit in a car accident, and showed no signs of life – the monitor registered zero – no pulse. Leah felt unusual boldness, so commanded the girl to live, and prayed for her for an hour, mostly in tongues. After an hour the monitor started beeping and the girl recovered.
Our revival mission trip on South Pentecost Island was based in the village of Panlimsi near Pangi on the south west coast. Mathias was then the young pastor there. The Spirit moved strongly in all the meetings. Repentance. Reconciliations. Confessions. Anointing. Healings every day. The healings included Pastor Rolanson’s young son able to hear clearly after being partially deaf from birth. Rolanson leads evangelism teams, and helped to lead this mission.
South Pentecost attracts tourists with its land diving – men jumping from high bamboo towers with vines attached to their ankles. Grant prayed for a jumper who had hurt his neck, and the neck crackled back into place. An elderly man no longer needed his walking stick to come up the hill to the meetings. Grant prayed for a son of the paramount chief of South Pentecost from Bunlap, a ‘custom’ village. He was healed from a painful leg and later he invited the team to come to his village to pray for the sick. No white people had been invited there to minister previously.
The revival team, including the two of us from Australia, trekked for a week into mountain villages. We literally obeyed Luke 10 – most going with no extra shirt, no sandals, and no money. The trek began with a five hour climb across the island to Ranwas on the eastern side. Mathias led worship, and strong moves of the Spirit touched everyone. We prayed for people many times in each meeting. At one point I spat on the dirt floor, making mud to show what Jesus did once. Marilyn Wari, wife of the President of the Churches of Christ, then jumped up asking for prayer for her eyes, using the mud. Later she testified that the Lord told her to do that, and then she found she could read her small pocket Bible without glasses. So she read to us all. Meetings continued like that each night.
We then trekked through the ‘custom’ heathen village where the paramount chief lived, and prayed for more sick people. Some had pain leave immediately, and people there became more open to the gospel. Then the team trekked for seven hours to Ponra, a remote village further north.
Glory in a remote village
Revival meetings erupted at Ponra. The Spirit just took over. Visions. Revelations. Reconciliations. Healings. People drunk in the Spirit. Many resting on the floor getting blessed in various ways. When they heard about healing through ‘mud in the eye’ at Ranwas some wanted mud packs also! Children often slept on the floor in the long revival meetings.
One of the girls in the team had a vision of the village children there paddling in a pure sea, crystal clear. They were like that – so pure. Not polluted at all by TV, DVDs, videos, movies, magazines, and worldliness. Their lives were so clean and holy. Just pure love for the Lord, especially among the young. Youth often lead in revival.
The sound of angels singing filled the air about 3 a.m. It sounded as though the village church was packed. The harmonies in high descant declared “For You are great and You do wondrous things. You are God alone” and then harmonies, without words until words again for “I will praise You O Lord my God with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name for evermore” with long, long harmonies on “forever more”. Just worship. Pure, awesome and majestic.
The team stayed two extra days there – everyone received prayer, and many people surrendered to the Lord both morning and night. Everyone repented, including us, as the Spirit moved on everyone.
Grant’s legs, cut and sore from the long trek, saved the team from another long trek back across the island. The villagers arranged a boat ride back around the island from the east to the west for the team’s return. Revival meetings continued back at the host village, Panlimsi, led mainly in worship by Mathias, with Pastor Rolanson organising things. Also at two other villages the Spirit moved powerfully as the team ministered, with much reconciliation and dancing in worship.
Some people in the host village heard angels singing there also. At first they too thought it was the church full of people but the harmonies were more wonderful than we can sing. Repentance and healings continued in the meetings and in the villages.
Weekend with Anglicans
Most of our mission work has been with the Churches of Christ villages but we also visit ‘custom’ pagan villages and other denominations.
We made history in 2010 by trekking three to four hours to the Anglican village of Point Cross on the southern tip of Pentecost Island, at their invitation. This was the first combined churches meetings ever held there. I taught on the Holy Spirit and transformation in their beautiful cement church, painted white with a majestic spire, visible for kilometres all around. It contains dramatic paintings of Jesus painted on the walls by a Pentecost Island man (see photo). We also met in the chief’s meeting house. At all meetings there we prayed with large numbers of people, including prayer for healings and to be filled with the Spirit. The helpful MP there provided us with a free boat trip back to our base village in his outboard canoe.
Church life had changed in the years I have been visiting Pentecost Island. Now all the churches we work with, including the Anglican youth, have revival style meetings with revival choruses and personal prayer for those responding.
One of their revival songs has this chorus:
There’s gonna be a great awakening
There’s gonna be a great revival in our land
There’s gonna be a great awakening
And everyone who calls on Jesus
They will be saved.
Adventures with Andrew
Andrew Chee from Hawaii lived to surf. Now he lives to serve God [Photo: Andrew surfing].
See more photos on the Facebook Album
21 year old Andrew came with me on a three week mission to Vanuatu in June-July 2012, again in July 2014, then in July 2015 with Ben Gray and Noel Missingham, then in June-July 2016 with Noel and Dante. A great way to escape winter! We saw God’s blessing and many miracles.
Andrew sensed God telling him to go on the trip, and he booked his flights only one week before we left when flights were full because of school holidays. At first he was wait-listed but the next day a seat became available on all my four flights!
His cousin Grant Shaw came with me to Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands in 2006 when he was 22. See photos on the Facebook Album
Grant founded Kingdom Culture Church on the north side of Brisbane. He encouraged Andrew to join me [Photo: Andrew and Grant].
Grant hit the news in 2012 with a front page article in the Sunday Mail and guest appearances on TV shows because they take keen young people to nearby shopping malls and pray for the sick and for anyone wanting prayer. Grant’s brother Joel, also a pastor, began doing this kind of outreach some years previously. Joel and Grant saw God heal hundreds of people, especially non-Christians. Many of those prayed for are now keen Christians also.
Andrew loves praying for the sick because he sees God constantly taking away pain and healing people. He has strong faith in God’s Word, such as Mark 16:17-18. Jesus said, “these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; … they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
We saw all that in Vanuatu, literally. Daily. Both in 2012 and 2014 with Andrew, as well as in 2006 with Grant and 2013 with his brother Joel and his team from Glory City Church in Brisbane – see Photo Reports listed above.
See photos and maps on the Facebook Album. Huge numbers were healed, and leaders challenged and helped.
Port Vila, the capital
We flew into Port Vila late on a Friday night and stayed at the Churches of Christ transit house above the church there. Next morning at 6am we heard young people worshiping in their beautiful island harmonies, so joined them. They welcomed us and invited us to speak briefly and pray for anyone sick. Andrew had words of knowledge about people with pain who then came out for prayer. Our praying continued for everyone wanting prayer after the closing prayer. Nice fast start to mission!
That morning we flew for an hour in a very small plane on the windy trip to Pentecost Island – the bumpiest I have had on my dozen visits there. Fortunately we only had time for one bread roll at the airport before leaving, so did not get sick!
I went to Pentecost Island first in 2003 to see their famous land diving, when men dive from 20-30 meter towers with only vines tied to their ankles. Chief Willie (photo), my host, invited me to return with teams of young people from the Law School Christian Fellowship of the University of the South Pacific. I had met them in 2002 and hosted a month’s mission trip they had with me in Australia in November of that year.
So now I was returning again, with another keen young firebrand for God.
This long, narrow island sighted and named on the Day of Pentecost, 1764, by explorer Bougainville, was also seen by Captain Cook in 1774.
Pastor Rolanson met us at the airstrip and we walked 300 meters to the beach to ride for half an hour in the outboard canoe 10k south to Pangi village. There Rolanson’s sons met us to carry our bags along the muddy track half a kilometer inland to their village, Panlimsi.
I stayed there many times, including with Grant in the bush house behind Andrew and Rolanson in this photo. Rolanson, pastor and evangelist, keeps asking us to return to encourage revival, pray for people, and help him train leaders.
We had our first meeting there that Saturday night in the village church, partially lit by a couple of old fluorescent lights when the generator was started, usually after everyone has arrived – to save fuel. So most meetings begin in the dark with torch light or candles.
Early in the worship Andrew again had words of knowledge about people’s pain so worship included praying for the sick. Their pain left. After we both spoke that night, we prayed for many more.
So began a week night meetings at Panlimsi. During the day we rested, recovered, washed in the nearby river where water taro grew abundantly, and usually walked back to Pangi to swim in the ocean. Every time we went out into the villages people asked for healing prayer.
So, like Jesus sending out the 12 and 70 (Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1) in pairs, we too went through the towns and villages proclaiming the kingdom of God, healing the sick and casting out spirits. Many illnesses there result from curses or witchcraft. Often we had to break curses, bind afflicting spirits and cast them out in Jesus’ name.
The first time I went there, in 2003, my host Chief Willie asked me to throw out an afflicting spirit giving him a headache, literally. He said that ‘enemies’ had cursed him. So we prayed together, bound and cast out attacking spirits, and he felt fine.
At other times people asked me to help them get rid of strong invading spirits such as one that haunted a house by ‘jumping’ onto the stones on the floor at night. We prayed and it was gone after that. However, that impudent one ‘jumped’ on the stone floor in my bungalow that night, so I had to cast it out in Jesus’ name, and it never returned. Rather weird to hear someone/something ‘jump’ into your dark room at night!
This time we experienced strong witchcraft. On our last day there, when Andrew and I were weary, Andrew was hit by severe aches and headache. That night I saw a strange dull light, like a reddish torch light, moving horizontally just outside our village hut. We began praying against powerful spirits. God’s Spirit reminded Andrew to bless those who curse you and pray for your enemies. He did. The strange spiritual connection was immediately broken, and pain started easing off. It took a day to recover from that one. “All hail the power of Jesus’ name …”
Every first Sunday of the month the Churches of Christ have a combined service for all their churches in South Pentecost. We shared in one in the packed Panlimsi church. Before the service Andrew had words of knowledge about pain in a man’s shoulders and the right side of a woman’s face. Both came for prayer as people were gathering in the church. It turned out that the man was the leader of the service and the woman preached that day! Many times, the words of knowledge Andrew received, we discovered later, were for pastors and leaders, and then later we prayed for others.
At that Sunday service I was strongly led to call people out for prayer during communion. That was a first for them. It never happened in communion before. A large number came for prayer and healings were fast and strong.
One night Andrew felt led to wash everyone’s feet. That took the whole service! We put a bucket of water near the door (regularly refilled) and Andrew washed everyone’s feet as they arrived while we worshiped, prayed, spoke and called people out for healing and empowering prayer. One lady, Alice, told us later that while Andrew in obedience washed her feet the Lord healed her legs! Alice was also healed another year while she was bringing a friend to the front for healing prayer! I was led to wash the leaders’ feet that night also [Photo: Andrew washes the chief’s feet]. That happened many times through the years – following Jesus’ example.
Our adventures included another outboard motor canoe trip an hour north for a combined churches youth rally on the beach with a large campfire at the end of the meeting. We joined forces with another mission team from Gladstone (in Queensland, Australia). That night we also prayed for many people after the service. Healings were the fastest and strongest we had seen till then.
The ‘custom’ village of Bunlap on the east coast is famous as the spiritual base for native witchcraft and curses.
I went there in 2006 with Grant on a five hour trek across to Ranwas village and then via Bunlap on a seven hour trek to Ponra village where we saw the power of God at every meeting and I head angels singing in the night, like the church was full, although no people were there.
Grant had prayed for the paramount chief’s son whose groin was healed at Pangi village, so we offered to go to Bunlap and pray for the sick. A couple of days later we heard that the chief had invited us to come and pray – the first white people to ever be invited to pray for people there.
This time Andrew and I were swimming off the jetty near Pangi when one of chief’s sons from Bunlap and his friends wandered onto the jetty. Two of those young men had pain so Andrew prayed for them and the pain left. The chief’s son told us they would be there when we came to Bunlap the following Saturday to pray for sick people again.
This year we enjoyed the luxury of a four-wheel truck trip across the island through the dense green mountains. We had three nights of meetings at Ranwas village, Friday to Sunday, including the Sunday morning service there. On Saturday we trekked half an hour through the jungle to Bunlap.
People were even more welcoming this time at Bunlap. We prayed for dozens of people, and their pain left. We talked about the kingdom of God and how Jesus saves and heals. Some of the people told us they believed that and when the chief allowed it they would be part of a church there.
The paramount chief once burned a Bible given to him by a revival team from the Christian villages. Now he is willing for a church to be built on the ground where he burned the Bible. Hallelujah – what a testimony to God’s grace and glory.
For the first time ever that paramount chief asked for prayer. He wanted healing from head pain. Andrew placed his hands on the sides of the chief’s head and we prayed for him in Jesus’ name. The pain left.
Pastors Willy, Gordon, Rolanson and his son David with Andrew and the paramount chief (seated)
Then another chief there prepared lunch for us so the pastors in the team and Andrew and I ate in his house – again the first time ever for white people on mission eating with him there.
Like Jesus’ disciples, we returned to Ranwas church rejoicing that afflicting spirits were cast out, people were healed in Jesus’ name, some believed in Jesus, and they now plan to have a church there someday. Our host chief told Rolanson he can bring his guitar and have meetings in the chief’s house anytime.
Some Christians at Ranwas were amazed to hear the reports. They have endured witchcraft and curses from Bunlap for a century. Again, during communion on Sunday large numbers came for prayer for healing, and healings were fast and strong. They also had never done that in communion before. At all the meetings Andrew had specific words of knowledge about healings, and pain left quickly. In the beginning of our trip we had to pray for some people two or three times before the pain left, but as the weeks passed and faith rose, healings were much quicker and stronger. By the end of the mission trip people in the congregation were praying for each other in faith and seeing God touch their friends. We really encourage them to keep doing that.
Andrew especially encouraged leaders to pray with him for people’s healings, just as he had learned from leaders in his church. Soon those village leaders and others were praying more strongly in faith. Many of them do that constantly anyway, so we were just encouraging them to believe and take authority in Jesus’ name even more fully.
We returned to Ranwas village, and Bunlap village in 2014, with similar results. The sick were healed. Hearts were opened to faith in Jesus.
In 2014 we also spoke and prayed with many people at the Independence Celebrations held every 24th July for a week. Many responded, and many youth came for prayer during our time there. We slept one night with a local football team and woke up to them singing:
For I was made in His likeness
Created in His image
For I was born to serve the Lord
And I can’t deny Him
And I will always walk beside Him
For I was born to serve the Lord.
I challenged them all to live fully this way and the whole team responded in prayer.
I’m just back from a good time in Vanuatu, though tiring – reminds me I’m approaching 80! Great to have 3 young fellows full of energy and zeal, Andrew Chee (3rd time there, and he was with me in Nepal and Thailand last year), his friend Ben Gray, and my nephew-in-law Noel Missingham – see the Facebook Album. Pastor Rolanson has been the main organizer of my visits to Pentecost Island for over 12 years and I often stay in his village. This time Rolanson came to Vila the first week we were there so we stayed in Vila a week with contacts given to Noel. We joined with a new church group there and had free accommodation as well. The boys loved praying for people in the streets and seeing immediate healings, and we were taken out by church people on 3 days to pray for many, including the Paramount Chief of Port Vila and many of his people in his island village.
We had a good week on Pentecost staying with Elder Jackson and wife Annette (who worked in a bank branch there) in their house near the beach at Pangi as Rolanson stayed on in Vila with government stuff. The team prayed for healings every day and in all the night meetings. Night meetings in four different villages: Panlimsa, Hotwater, Wali and Pange, were all strong with personal prayers for healings, anointing, empowering and mission. See South Pentecost map on the Facebook album:
It was a time of building them up again. Everyone who was prayed for about their healing reported that the pain had gone – quickly. I left some of the treks into the mountains to the young men this time, and Andrew and Noel returned and prayed for the ‘custom’ paramount chief not only for healings in the village but for his salvation. He indicated that he wanted to give his life to God and open all the ‘custom’ villages to evanglism. Two ‘custom’ chiefs opened their villages for healing prayers and evangelism.
We had a few days at Santo Island on our return. Pastor Lewis (who hosted my time teaching at the Bible College in 2004-5) is there in the main office as director of mission. We had a few days to relax on Sunny Santo.
Noel Missingham returned to Pentecost Island many times in 2015-16 including two visits with his family of four young children. Here is their report in June 2016.
Greetings to our friends and partners,
It has been an exciting time for us over the last few months. Looking back, our word from the Lord was simply ‘come and follow Me,’ so we found ourselves stepping into the mission field on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu.
In being obedient to this word we have seen the Lord do amazing things and it feels like we have just been along for the ride. We have seen the Lord open deaf ears, make the blind see, heal backs, knees, ankles, broken bones and headaches.
The Lord has brought us before people great and small. He has created divine connections with leaders in Vanuatu and has given us ‘standing before kings’. In the small time we have been spending there, we have seen impossible situations made possible, broken relationships restored and enormous favour for the Lord’s work. We have seen people baptised in water and be completely overwhelmed after being touched by the Holy Spirit. We never anticipated the Lord would use us in such a way.
Out of everything we have witnessed so far, we’ve found that nothing quite compares to the miracle of salvation; seeing a repentant heart weeping in the Father’s love. A story that comes to mind is when a man approached us after a service. It had been some time since he last stepped into a church building, but something told him he should go this morning. As he listened from outside, the Lord touched him and he came forward and shared how he had been involved in adultery. Wow what a scene as he completely broke down and gave the Lord everything and when we are willing to give everything to Jesus, He is willing to take EVERYTHING from us. He makes us clean, puts a robe and ring on us and calls us ‘faithful and beloved’… When the time for church announcements came, this man took the microphone and with tears in his eyes he apologized to the church and individual leaders and people he hurt. The leaders in turn forgave him, and restored him to the place he was formally serving, on the worship team. A son restored!
One of the ‘impossible made possible’ situations has been the restoration of the Banmatmat Bible College. As Noel hiked around the island to take the gospel to distant villages, one of the things he felt was that it could be more effective. While we are seeing divine favour, signs and wonders, healing and salvations and clear open doors, to do it by ourselves or with a small group of people is not as effective as it could be.
We feel the need for multiple teams of people, and strategic planning so that we can really take Pentecost Island, and all the islands of Vanuatu for the Lord, and then go beyond there to other nations. Of course the Lord had a solution already in the pipeline: The Banmatmat Bible College.
The Lord brought Banmatmat to our attention on one of our previous trips. It lies in the south of the island, a remote part only accessible by hiking or boat. It now lies in ruins and disrepair, however in times gone past it was regarded by locals as a paradise, and a valuable source of training and equipping for many pastors serving there and in surrounding islands.
We learned that the people dedicated the land where the college is located to God, a few generations after one of the first Christians was martyred (and eaten) near the site. The Church of Christ college was built on that location in 1964. It lasted up until 2004 when the college closed for various reasons.
As a result, there are a great number of buildings in that place, which have been damaged and are in massive disrepair. A lot of the roofs have caved in but most of the walls are made from brick and have survived.
During this last trip, the Lord impressed our hearts to rebuild this place. We received tremendous favour from the landowners to do this. They gave us their approval and the blessing to make steps toward clearing and rebuilding the college to make way for what the Lord wants to do there.
The vision the Lord has given us is a South Pentecost Revival Centre which will be an interdenominational college based around Holy Spirit led teaching and missions. Many people are excited and ignited by the vision to rebuild Banmatmat in a different light, and see it as miracle – the Lord making the impossible possible. They are expectant to see what the Lord is going to do there.
On one of the final days of Noel’s last trip (June 14th), the landowners and a number of local leaders and pastors went with Noel to Banmatmat and started clearing around buildings in preparation for what we believe God wants to do there. The thing that gripped Noel the most this day was both the enormity and the natural beauty of this block of land. Its frontage is on a beach with a beautiful conservation reef making it quite an amazing place. As he looked at the place, the word that struck his heart was ‘launch pad’. If we want to launch a small rocket, we need a small launch pad. But this was a big launch pad, and we believe the impact it will have, both in the teams going out from there doing mission and through the training of pastors and leaders, will be enormous.
We are pressing ahead with what we feel God wants to do there as Noel returns again this week (June 24) for three weeks. Stan Beattie (Jude’s dad) will be accompanying him for part of the trip. Stan is excited by the Banmatmat project, and is being led to put together some sort of costing so as to get an idea of the size and scope of the rebuilding work that lies ahead. At the same time, we continue with negotiations with landowners and work through government processes to make this happen.
The other thing that the Lord opened up on the last trip was different connections with church leaders around the island (from Anglican, Catholic, Seven Day Adventists and Churches of Christ). These are divine connections with brothers and sisters who know Him and love Him and just want to see the King glorified regardless of denominational boundaries.
On Noel’s return these key people are all going to join him in the south of the island along with Pastor Geoff Waugh and his team who are going to spend some time ministering and teaching and then go and do outreach mission as one group to the north of the island. This is another miracle – never before has this island seen combined outreach work, and we believe it will be the beginning of an annual event.
In closing out this update letter, we want to personally thank each of you for partnering with us in the work the Lord has us doing in Vanuatu. We pray that our Lord continues to richly bless you as we labour together in his work. Remember we are partnering together! On this note if you have any prayer requests, or if you would like to join us on outreach sometime please let us know. We have enclosed our bank details if you feel led to give. Please continue to hold us in your prayers, as we do you.
Noel and Jude Missingham and family.
Bank Details: NR & J Missingham, BSB 083832, ACC 151536443
Pioneer chief dies at 111
Paramount chief Morris lived to 111. He died in Panlimsi village on 1st July 2016 when we were there so we have the honour of being involved at the graveside and in the combined churches memorial service on Sunday 3 July.
Come to Me … I will give you rest … My yoke is easy and and my burden is light … (Matthew 11:28-20).
Go and make disciples of all nations … I am with you always even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).
Now we encourage and support revival leaders on Pentecost Island regularly. That includes providing revival books and resources, Bibles, and helping pastors with high school fees for their children. We will be investing into restoring the Bible College buildings and facilities as a revival base to help equip them for revival team ministries.
If you would like to help financially my Australian mission account is:
Geoffrey Waugh, BSB 014249, Ac. 5647 11123.
ANZ Swift Code is ANZBAU3M