29.03.2009 30 °C
We have made it to the island of Espiritu Santo so far in our journey through Vanuatu. The path has been rough, but with many blessings and friends already made along the way. Dwaine and I arrived safely to Port Vila on Sunday only to have the airport shutting down behind us and no sign of anyone to meet us. The friendliness of the Ni-Van people emerged quickly as two different people asked if we needed to use their mobile phone to call our contact. We did indeed get a hold of someone….even though he wasn’t even on the same island as us! However, soon after a lady asked us if we were waiting for someone, and it turned out to be her! The Lord answered our prayers since the lady, named Leitare, didn’t know what plane we were coming in on and took a random guess as to what time we would arrive. The rest of the week we had the privilege of staying at Leitare’s house with about 7 other extended family members. We took the opportunity to explore Vila, get to know the culture a little bit, and even learned some Bislama (a pidgin type English with a French influence). The language is very interesting and it in many ways is English spoken exactly how the words look, instead of pronounced phonetically correct. Example:
Thank you ~ Tankyu
What is your name? ~ Wanem nem blong yu?
I like it very much ~ Mi likim tumas.
One day Dwaine and I treated ourselves to going to Hideway Island (a place recommended to us by someone we met on the plane from Sydney). It was a beautiful small island not very far from Vila. We took the day to relax in wonderful beach chairs, plus we snorkeled right off the beach with some amazing coral and tons of beautiful fish, including seeing Little Nemo poking out of a reef anemone and a very large and very bright blue starfish. We enjoyed our time with Leitare’s family even though the first few days we were missing the comforts of home terribly, such as air conditioning (or a good fan since we sweating as soon as we arrived), being able to drink water straight from the tap, and having the choice of how cold or hot the water temp should be for our shower (they only have one temp…cold!). However, we believe that whatever the Lord has for us here makes it worth leaving the comforts behind for a while. One of the girls even taught us how to open a coconut and grate out all the flesh so it could be squeezed to make coconut milk. Now that’s probably not something we could learn in Australia!
And now we are staying at Pastor Tensley’s house, which is also the Vanuatu Christian Church. We are also enjoying less noise than in Vila, since there were crazy dogs that barked seemingly all night! Instead the church in Santo is currently having a crusade every night this weekend, having the backyard filled with people here to glorify God. Dwaine & I arrived completely and utterly exhausted yesterday after a 12 hour boat ride from Port Vila to Santo. The waves were very rough and very big (like seeing only walls of blue around the boat) for a large part of the journey leaving everyone on board with stomachs in turmoil after only the first hour of our trip. We were thankful for the motion sickness patches we brought and the blessings of Dramamine to help us the rest of the way. Boy I have never taken so much Dramamine, but Dwaine & I didn’t end up ever getting sick, praise the Lord.
Please continue to pray for our health and safety, especially in regards to food and water (because hygiene standards are not what we are used to here for the most part) and mentally that the Lord would encourage us and help us find our purpose in being here. It has been difficult for us to not have a set plan or schedule…in our view it seems like wasting time, but here it is just normal life. We want to help, but we need God’s wisdom to know what to do. Pastor Eston (our main contact) is supposed to be coming on Monday, and maybe he will have a bit more direction for us. As for now we are doing our best to help those around us and show the love of Christ to them. Other prayer points for Vanutu are violence against women, since this is fairly prevalent in their culture, and for education, most people have stopped at year 6 because they can’t afford the school fees beyond this year. Thanks again for keeping us in your prayers and thoughts, and we will do our best to keep you informed as we continue along.