Lelepa Church and Community survive Cyclone Pam

On Friday 13 March 2015, Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu and caused widespread damage. Given JUC's relationship with the Presbyterian Church on Lelepa there was natural concern for how the people of the island and the church itself fared.

A fundraising effort raised $5085 but getting the money to the people was the issue. After some consideration John Craig was dispatched to Vanuatu to assess the needs.

He spent 14 – 19 June on the island and talked to as many people as possible. He found that they had enough food (the government had given them big sacks of rice and their gardens were producing again) and most of the damaged houses had been repaired. What they needed most was help to repair their communal buildings. The women’s hall needed roofing iron and the church needed new louvre window fittings and glass. These items were purchased.

Discussions with Pastor Kalsakau and Pastor Brown from the Church revealed that a big issue for the people was the lack of lighting in the church. There is no electricity on the island and their daily 5am service is conducted by torchlight; and likewise any service or activity after dark. So it was decided to spend the remaining money on a solar energy system for the church.

John was impressed with the resilience of the Ni-Vanuatuans; their understanding of how to prepare for a cyclone; their ability to quickly clear the debris and replant their gardens. He enjoyed meeting up with old friends and returned with grateful messages for the congregation at JUC.

Some photos from John’s visit appear below:

 

The Women's hall suffered roof damage

 

The gardens were up and running again quickly

Trees came down but were tidied away

 

 

 

Some of the church louvres were damaged