24 August – 7 September, 2015 PORT VILA, ÉFATÉ, VANUATU – A PEOPLE OF PERSEVERANCE AND FAITH By Anne
Brave people, faithful people
After a challenging night standing off the lee shore in rough seas and high winds outside the entrance to Port Vila, Éfaté, Vanuatu, Joyful sailed into the protected approach to the customs anchorage, which was dedicated to yachts asking for free pratique. Joyful, like a few other yachts, was distinguished from others by their yellow Q flag flying from the starboard spreader flag halyard, displayed under the Vanuatu national courtesy flag. We were signaling to the customs officers that we had just arrived from a foreign country, our boat was healthy, and we were requesting to be allowed to officially enter the Republic of Vanuatu. We had to start taking our anti malaria tablets to try to keep from getting malaria while we were in this country. This is always an exciting time for Joyful, one filled with hopeful anticipation as to what the inhabitants will be like, what natural phenomena we will encounter, and how we might be of service to the locals and sailing community.
The locals in Vanuatu shed tears of horror, and tears of thankfulness: This lush South Pacific island of Éfaté, had been horribly ransacked by Cyclone Pam on March 12-14, 2015, only 5 months prior of our arrival. When Cyclone Pam made landfall onto Éfaté, winds of 155 miles per hour created much destruction of man made property and natural vegetation, but by the grace of God, nobody died! All of the locals we encountered spoke of the ordeal they suffered, where they were during the worst of the winds, and how they faired. Everyone, both men and women, old and young with whom we spoke, said because their humble houses were made of light weight wood and even found materials, they had to protect their families by lying down on top of their kids, grandparents, wives, and husbands, so everyone in the house was stacked on top of each other in a pile of terrified humanity on the floor of their houses! They had to stay on the floor piled up on each other for 5 hours, as their roofs and walls were blown away around them! They said nobody could stand up or everyone would be blown away! They said they didn’t know if they would live or die the next minute! Every human on Éfaté persevered through this hell on earth and by the grace of God, not one person died! Also, not only did these people have amazing perseverance, but they also had faith in the Creator. Every single person who described their experience, attributed the fact that their lives were saved to the grace of God. As they spoke to me, tears came to each person’s eyes, even the men’s eyes, and they told me comments like, “Jesus Christ saved my baby!” God saved my family!” God protected us from being blown away like our house was blown away around us!” “Without Jesus, we would have died!” As soon as the wind diminished, they started rebuilding their lives the best they could. Their faith sustained them, and they worked bravely through this challenging, but often repeated, time of their lives. Maria, one of the women in this article’s photo journey, was a local woman who was trying to earn enough money to replace the roof of her house. To help her, every day I brought Maria new and used items from Joyful. I would purchase new items for her. I bought things from her that she sold in her tiny shop, and the last day we were there, she gave me a beautiful little painting of Éfaté, so I might think of her from time to time! Maria was a beautiful sister in Christ, and we encouraged one another through speaking about the Word of God and how it was relevant to our personal lives.
COMMUNITY AND EDUCATION
Art lesson about Jesus to 141 children, Donation of 100 Art Supply Kits and 180 School Supply Kits to Tagabe Village Children:
I am always extremely thankful to the Holy Spirit that He makes good things happen so easily for Jeff and me! Every day, Jeff and I pray for the Lord to guide us to do work for Him at sea, and also when we reach a new landfall. He listens to our prayers. Vanuatu is another proof of the reliable love and power of Jesus Christ.
People we meet along this circumnavigation many times ask me how Jeff and I find ways to serve others in various islands and countries through music and art ministry events and humanitarian work. So I will tell you, too, in case you were wondering! It is simply amazing! I’ll give you a clue…its all about God. The first day we were in Vanuatu, we walked to the Australian Embassy in Port Vila, to obtain our Australian visas. While we were there, we met a man from Vanuatu named Willie, who worked at the embassy. I asked him, “Do you know of one person or more here in Vanuatu, who would like a free art lesson about Jesus?” He said, “YES! 180 children in my village!” I said “When?” He said, “Monday.” I said, “We’ll be there!” And that’s the way it happened that Jeff and I taught an art lesson about Jesus to 141 children, gave 100 art supply kits (we were told only 100 might attend the art lesson) to the children, and gave 180 children a school supply kit each, containing all they needed for school, as well as Biblical verses written in Bislama, their native language. We also gave Bibles in the Bislama language to the village. You see how God was involved? He made it happen just like that! All the glory goes to the Lord.
Please take a look at the photos regarding this remarkably successful art ministry event. The captions tell the details, and the photos show what beautiful, good hearted people live in Tagabe Village, Éfaté, Vanuatu. You will see their courage and faith in their faces, and how they are family oriented, and kept positive attitudes even through extremely trying conditions. Praise the Lord for making this art ministry event happen for the people from the village, for the opportunity for us to serve others, and for His listening to our prayers! Maybe you, too, will want to try saying a prayer, He will listen!
Scientists at Cornell University’s Department of Ornithology are studying the migrations of birds from all over the world. We send them any photo of a bird we take during this circumnavigation, no matter how blurry it may be! They told us they can identify birds, even if the quality of the photo is poor. This a relief, because it is quite challenging to capture the image of birds as they are usually on the move, looking for insects or a sailboat to perch upon! The only birds we were able to photograph on Vanuatu, were an assortment of magpies, but they are interesting, beautiful aviators and worth observing!
Observing Other Marine Wildlife
There were many small dark colored fish living under the dinghy dock near Joyful, swimming in crystal clear aqua colored water. The color of the water would change throughout the day, always reflecting the sky and objects nearby. I was able to take a photo of this delight, which I hope, will give you an impression of the amazing sea around Vanuatu.
Monitoring Radiation Levels
One of the scientific projects with which Joyful is involved is that of recording the radiation levels that we experience along our sailing route. Radiation is a form of energy that comes from various sources (e.g. x-rays, radon gas, nuclear power plants, etc.), which, if the levels are too high, could cause a health hazard. On Joyful, we use a GQ Electronics GMC-320 Geiger Counter to take radiation level readings. The data we record is sent to the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center (NETC), a world wide volunteer radiation reporting site. NETC posts radiation readings from numerous sources, including the US Environmental Protection Agency and volunteer reporting sites, into a data base; the summary is shown on http://www.netc.com.
The levels from Panama all the way across the South Pacific Ocean to Tonga, ranged between 7 to 23 counts per minute (CPM). The range of counts per minute in Vanuatu was 6 to 21.
As many of our avid readers know, MissionJoyful’s goals are to:
Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
1 Peter 4:9-11 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”
To Serve Others: Art lesson about Jesus to 141 children, Donation of 100 Art Supply Kits and 180 School Supply Kits to Tagabe Village Children
I wrote about this Mission Joyful art ministry event in the section of this blog entry for Vanuatu in the area called, Community and Education. We believe this art ministry event spans the scope of community works, education, as well as ministry. Please read the “Community and Education” section of this article to learn about all this successful event. Also, please take a look at the many photos taken, and please read their captions to feel as if you were physically there with us! You were there in spirit for sure!
Artistic Inspirations from the Lord About this Landfall of Vanuatu –
When Jeff and I complete sailing around the world, around May or June, 2017, I intend to spend some dedicated time finishing a special book I have begun while on this circumnavigation, consisting of a series of paintings I am making depicting every passage at sea and every landfall we make on Joyful’s circumnavigation of the world. The paintings will show my artistic impression of these, as well as a verse from the Bible woven into the overall design. The actual verse chosen for each painting will be the one inspired by the Holy Spirit to be the special one for that passage or landfall. I will utilize media and techniques common to those who created illuminated manuscripts in medieval times in Europe. To create the images and calligraphy, in these works of art, I will use 24 carat gold and silver leaf which will augment finely ground Chinese ink in stick form and watercolor pigment.
The Bible verse which the Holy Spirit inspired me to use for my painting of this remarkable landfall of Vanuatu is Philippians 4:13 – “I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.” To me, this verse exemplifies the strong, resilient character that the people of Vanuatu have through Christ Jesus. They are a people who love the Lord, and are not broken by the destructive forces of nature which pummel their islands almost every year. Certainly, because the people from Vanuatu are humans, they do know fear. However, they know that Jesus said to fear not. Jesus stands by to give those who love Him the strength to persevere. The people of Vanuatu survived Cyclone Pam, and have become stronger for it, certainly in their faith of Jesus Christ. They also are not afraid to publicly voice their love for Jesus, to give their thanks to Him, and to give Him the glory of their survival.
Please look for the next edition of my blog regarding our passage from Vanuatu to Australia! The South Pacific Ocean between Vanuatu and Australia is going to be awesome! Get ready for some fun and sun!
May the Lord bless you and thanks for giving me a chance to share with you this glorious God given opportunity to serve the Lord as Jeff and I sail Joyful around the world! Australia, here we come! I hope those fun loving Aussies get the shrimp on the barbie and Lamingtons in the oven to welcome us!
1. Joyful’s Vanuatu courtesy and yellow quarantine flags flew from her starboard flag halyard as we approached Éfaté, Vanuatu. She had to fly the quarantine flag until she cleared into the country the next day.
2. Joyful at the Vanuatu customs anchorage before clearing customs. We had to stay there overnight, then immediately clear customs the next morning.
3. Joyful flew her yellow quarantine flag under her Vanuatu courtesy flag while anchored in the customs anchorage. We kept her fenders out in case the customs boat came alongside, but they never did, so we took her dinghy ashore to clear customs.
4. The next day, after clearing customs, we carefully motored Joyful through a tiny, very shallow unmarked path between the coral! A small motor boat guided us through the dangerous coral. Joyful is the middle boat.
5. When we went ashore from Joyful, we took her inflatable dinghy to the dinghy dock, and walked onto the land. Small fish lived under the dinghy dock in Port Vila.
6. Anne holding the Mission Joyful blanket that the Huntsville First United Methodist Church chapel members gave us. We had just arrived in Port Vila, Éfaté, Vanuatu.
7. Among Jeff and Anne’s goals as they sail around the world are to serve others and to spread the Gospel to all nations they visit.
8. Anne led a music ministry event on Joyful with Faith and Laura, two charming young sailing missionaries.
9. Willy, an employee of the Australian Embassy whom I asked the first day we were in Vanuatu, “Do you know one person or more, to whom Jeff and I may teach a free art lesson about Jesus?” He said, “YES PLEASE! 180 children in my village!”.
10. Jeff and Anne assembled 180 school supply kits and 100 art supply kits and gave them, along with Bible verses in both the Bislama and English languages, to the children in the Tagabe Village, Efété, Vanuatu. We also gave the village Bibles.
11. Jeff brought many bags full of art and school supply kits from Joyful to the dinghy dock the morning of the art lesson. Young Faith helped take the painter from Jeff.
12. Another sailing missionary family kindly helped us transport the art and school supplies from Joyful to land and helped us teach the Bible verses to the children of Tagabe Village.
13. The village was made of houses constructed of found materials. There was no toilet for the village (if you wish to help this village, please read how in the text). Cyclone Pam had caused extensive damage to the village.
14. These two beautiful children from Tagabe Village were among the 141 children who attended the art class. Bill took these extraordinary close up portraits of some of the villagers who attended the art lesson.
15. Here’s another magnificent face that can melt any hardened character’s heart! This young soul loved learning about Jesus.
16. Jesus loves the little children!
17. This little girl loves Jesus, loves art, and loved the lollie we gave her after the art lesson about Jesus!
18. This sweet baby held his mother’s hand as he clutched a lollie we gave him after the art lesson. Double sweet!
19. This wee lassie hugged her school supply kit that we just gave her. Children in Vanuatu must buy all their own school supplies, and many do not have enough money.
20. A little girl thanked Jeff and Anne for the art and school supplies. All good things come from above…thank you Jesus!
21. Every child and their parents thanked us and shook our hands after the art lesson, and after we gave them their school supply kits!
22. This little girl knows that Jesus loves her, and she loves Jesus!
23. This little girl wanted to learn about art and Jesus.
24. This young man loves life, and his village.
25. This woman has the love of Jesus in her heart. Her child is blessed to have her as her mother!
26. This Tagabe gentleman encouraged the children and stood by as we distributed the school supplies. Jeff is in the background helping to organize the children.
27. This elderly soul joined the rest of his village to learn about Jesus and art!
28. Juliette, the wife of Willy, helped the little ones in the art class. She also enjoyed a lollie after class! Every Sunday, she and Willie teach Sunday School in their home to the Tagabe children!
29. These blessed women followed Jesus’ command to bring the children to Him, and do not turn them away!
30. A few of the children that started to assemble for the art lesson. Willie recorded all their names to insure that all who attended received their art supply kit and all 180 children would receive their school supply kits we gave them.
31. Jesus said, “The first shall be last..” This young girl was the first to attend the class, and was the one who answered my last question about the Bible. She won the grand prize for quoting all of Matthew 22.37-40.
32. We sat with some of the kids before the art lesson began. We bought art supplies for 100, but the number of students rose from 70 to 141. They had to share their art supplies, but we had enough school supply kits for all 180 kids in the village.
34. More and more children walked up to attend the art class about Jesus. Many adults stood nearby to learn as well.
35. The children and their parents all were excellent students who wanted to learn about art and Jesus. One woman held her 6 month old baby on her lap and helped the baby scribble on the paper!
36. A sailing missionary family from Australia, Faith, Laura, & their parents, Margaret & John, loved serving others. They worked for a company that records Bible scripture & songs in various languages. The girls were a great help with this art lesson.
37. I wrote out the Bible verses John 3.16 and Matthew 22.37-40 in both Bislama and English. Faith, Laura, and I read the children both Bible verses in both languages. Bislama is easy to pronounce, but takes a while to understand.
38. Two Australian missionary children, Faith and Laura, helped read the Bible verses in Bislama to the Vanuatu village children, as well as to distribute prizes for kids who answered questions about the Bible verses they learned.
39. Anne and Faith read John 3.16 in Bislama and English to the children. Anne read Matthiew 22.37-40 to them in Bislama and English. Willy sometimes used hand symbols to help communicate in Bislama.
40. Laura, the little girl in the flowered hat in the left side of this photo, is a powerful evangelist at this young age, just like her sister, mother and father. She was always ready to help translate or distribute prizes during the art lesson. She learned to serve others & obey the Lord when she was quite young, and is continuing now as she grows. Other parents observed this and, hopefully, with help their kids to do the same.
41. I taught the children Matthiew 22.37-40. The first child to answer, “Who does Jesus want you to love?” won a prize. The answers are, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, and “Love the Lord your God”.
42. Anne taught the children how they can draw anything by using a dot, a straight line, or a curved line. The Bible verses are displayed on the wall. The children learned both Bible verses during the art class.
43. The children concentrate on basic drawing techniques Anne taught them.
44. The children held up their pens to show they chose the correct color for the art lesson. They were perfectly behaved throughout the 4 hour art lesson!
45. Willy, a leader in Tagabe Village, helped translate into Bislama while Anne taught about Jesus through an art lesson to 141 children. Jeff assisted by purchasing and assembling the art and school supply kits (280 total) and by taking photos.
46. The children of Tagabe Village learned to love their neighbor as themselves through an art lesson. These children were extraordinarily well behaved!
47. One of the art projects Anne taught 141 children in Tagabe was to make a large cross constructed only with verses from the Bible. Art such as this can spread the Word of God to all ages, all nationalities.
49. The children proudly held up their drawings of a dog to show me. This is the first time some of them had ever used a piece of paper or pen.
50. I asked the question many times throughout the lesson. The children answered correctly…who does Jesus want them to love? Their God, their neighbor, themselves!
51. The children learn how to draw an animal as Willy translates into Bislama. Even the youngest child learned skills to draw anythiing they wished. All ages loved drawing animals and learning about Jesus at the same time!.
52. There was no space for me to walk amongst the children to help them with their drawings! But they all did very well, and made really cute drawings of pigs, dogs, and other favorites!
53. Faith, a young sailing missionary, delighted in obeying Christ by serving others through art and by using her God given gifts of language, encouragemet, and music.
54. Margaret, the mother of Laura and Faith, encouraged young children to serve others. By doing so, she brought her children to know more about Christ.
55. In Tagabe Village, Jeff and Anne taught 141 village children how to draw as well as the Bible verse of John 3.16, and Jesus’ commandments in Matthew 22.37-40.
56. They held up their hands to answer the question, “Who does Jesus want you to love?” The correct answer was, “God and your neighbor as yourself.” The first one to answer correctly won a prize.
57. The children held up their drawings for me to see! They did a great job!.
58. Jeff and Anne donated Bibles in Bislama and English to the Tagabe village. Willie, Laura, and Faith stood by to translate what I said into Bislama. Young Laura and Faith also helped distribute prizes to the children.
59. Faith, Anne, and Laura distribute school supplie kits and lollies to 180 children in Tagabe.
60. Tagabe villagers patiently await the distribution of the school supplies after the art lesson was over.
61. Immediately after the art lesson Jeff and I gave 180 village children school supplie kits with a print of Matthiew 22 37-40 and John 3 16 on the cover in both Bislama and English.
62. Here, Willy called out and recorded names to make sure each of the 180 children received their school supply kit.
63. Some of the 141 children await their school supply kits. All 180 children in the village received kits.
64. Faith, Laura, and I distributed school supply kits to the children after the art lesson.
65. These are some of the 141 children out of 180 village children who lined up to receive school supply kits after their art lesson.
66. Laura and Faith’s mother taught her children to obey Christ by allowing them to serve others at this event.
67. Faith and Laura learn about giving to others and loved serving others. I liked to see how they thought of others more than only themselves.
68. After the art lesson was finished, the village children received their school supply kits; Jeff was so helpful, he assisted as needed!
69. Jeff, in the back of the group, helped distribute school supplies to those not in line.
70. Jeff and I gave 180 village children school supply kits (containing pencil, pen, eraser, pencil sharpener, excercise books, and colored pencils) with Matthiew 22 37-40 and John 3 16 written in their language, Bislama, on the cover.
71. The little kids loved their school supply kits, but they really liked those lollies!
72. I love this photo! The little children show their drawings to their proud father. It was wonderful to see supportive parents at the lesson!
73. Some of the children, Willy, Juliette, Margaret, Faith, Laura, Jeff, and I stood together to wave at you! If you kindly wish to help, Tagabe village’s needs include an extension to this house, so more children can attend Sunday school there.
74. Every day, when we returned to Joyful after works on land, we were greated with this spectacular image!
75. Cornell Sailing Events is the organizer of the Blue Planet Odyssey.
76. The Blue Planet Odyssey is an example of how international organizations, governmental bodies, and private citizens can work together as one unit to do good throughout the world.
77. The Caribbean island of Martinique partnered with the BPO.
78. The WMO, the World Meteorological Organization partnered with the BPO.
79. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission is a sponsor of the BPO.
80. JCOMMOPS is a sponsor of the BPO and is part of its scientific endeavors.
81. UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, partnered with the BPO.
82. Flat Mr. Davis at the Port Vila marketplace, Éfaté, Vanuatu.
83. Flat Mr. Davis got stuck in heavy traffic in Port Vila.
84. Maria, the owner of an artifact store in Port Vila, became my local friend while in Vanuatu. Although her house was damaged, she and her family survived Cyclone Pam by the grace of God.
85. Luc, Anne, Jeff, and Bill in Vanuatu. Luc gave us Jimmy’s excellent information regarding Australian and Indonesion customs, etc.
86. This bird liked to perch here every day on top of a thatched roof. I think this is one of the types of mynas found in Vanuatu, but one type is an invasive species.
87. We saw this friendly wild bird almost every day near Joyful in Vanuatu. It is a type of myna, but might be the invasive species type.
88. Mynas added to the beautiful scenery in Vanuatu.
89. This statue, in front of Vanuatu’s parliment building, signifies to Vanuatu’s citizens how important the complete traditional family unit is for a healthy, long lived nation.
90. Palm trees and flowers were everywhere in this beautiful tropical paradise. These brilliant red bougainvillea reminded me of my youth in Southern California and how I used to grind them up and add them to my mother’s perfume to make it a beautiful color!
91. Anne standing in front of the Presbyterian church in Port Vila. This church held services in both English and Bislama.
92. The Presbyterian Church in Vanuatu held part of the service for children. Choir ladies wore their pink choir dresses.
93. Bright fresh flowers from Vanuatu were displayed by the alter of the church.
94. Choir members at the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu sang like angels!
95. There is a lovely tradition of harmonic singing in Vanuatu, and this is demonstrated in the best way possile by going to church!
96. We believe this woman and another were possibly competing with their extraordinary a cappella renditions of Gospe hymns The church service was in the Bislama language.
97. We attended the holy baptism of two babies in Vanuatu.
98. Traditional French pastries in a French pastry shop in Vanuatu.
99. There were always a variety of delectable French pastries in this French pastry shop in Vanuatu.
100. Delicious French pastries in a French pastry shop in Vanuatu gleam to show their freshness. The baker kindly made whole wheat bread for Joyful for us to eat on the passage to Australia per our request.
101. Jimmy Cornell awarded the owner of Au Pêché Mignon the Blue Planet Odyssey Un Ocean Un Futur plaque for his involvement.
102. Bill enjoyed his computer at the French cafe, Au Pêché Mignon, in Éfaté.
103. A roof made of woven leaves framed this photo of Joyful on a mooring in Vanuatu.
104. Joyful in Éfaté, Vanuatu. There were sunken and wrecked yachts and ships here and there on the shoreline, reminders that Cyclone Pam had been there five months earlier.
105. Flat Mr. Davis helped refuel Joyful with diesel fuel in Port Vila, Éfaté, Vanuatu before we set sail to Australia. This is always a thrill to prepare for the next passage to another landfall over the horizon! I wonder what the Lord has in store for us! Whatever it is, as the Bible says, it’s for the good!