Vanuatu update June 2006

At the request of the Vanuatu Fundraising Committee I went up to Vanuatu on Saturday 10 June 2006 and returned on Wednesday 14 June. It was a privilege to represent you and discuss matters with our friends on Lelepa. The new Church looks huge inside with the roof on. After meeting with the Finance & Building committees on the island we have agreed to fund the guttering for the building at a cost of just under $3600. The funds are in hand.

The committees also wish to paint the exterior and install window louvers. One of the islanders have agreed to donate the glass and the louvers will probably be paid by a donation from the Korean Church in Auckland through Rev Kim who has agreed to fund 300,000 vt with 200,000 vt paid already. About $4000.

Then there are doors, ceiling, chairs and floor tiles. I advised them that we can only currently fund the guttering and may have a little bit more for the paint.

Some detail of he Church

I also called and saw Alain Lew at Port Vila Hardware to discuss some of the items that still need to be supplied and quoted for.


The Church

The village and people seemed more prosperous than at our earlier visit. This was due to their hosting 20 Peace Corps volunteers to gain experience into a typical Vanuatuan village and also learn Bislama before they are posted elsewhere in Vanuatu to remote villages. The villagers are being paid for this. The reality TV programme ‘Survivor’ is also being filmed nearby and is using village help. Also the nearby World Heritage Site should be confirmed early next year and has recently received many important visitors. This will be an ongoing source of revenue as long as it does not displace the normal living conditions in the village.

I took best wishes from Johnsonville Uniting Church and presented them at the service last Sunday. I then accepted good wishes from the church on Lelepa Island and was asked to pass them on to Johnsonville. I also took about 5 kilos of Sunday School material.


Sunday School children

Sunday School teachers

I also mentioned the cartons of goods donated by you all and assembled and packed by Delwyn.I thought that the cartons had arrived 2 weeks earlier but no-one could find any trace of them. Advice was received on 16 June that they have now been received.It was important to go to cement the relationship. The villagers are very friendly and very very generous with their time and meager possessions.

Pastor Chilia is having a great impression on the Island. He is a real people person and is always around the village. He wants to have the Church building finished before it is used. It looks as though the opening will be towards the end of the year.

John Craig

June 2006