Graduation Day for the 32 students at the Balasuna Bible College was held in early September and the young couple Jonathan & Theresa Bodibo from the Porebada Village in Papua New Guinea (see earlier story) have now graduated and have returned home again.
Family visitors from PNG
Pastor Kaia of Porebada Church
Jonathan receives fish gift from neighbouring villages
Some of their family members had travelled over to Balasuna for the ceremony, so together with the Vanuatu students, a bunch of Aussies including the Oceania INC Chairman Pastor Ross Abraham, there was an international flavour to the Graduation service and the Solomon Islands National Pastors Conference which was also in session.
Martin Kama from PNG
Samuel Jack from Vanuatu
While the seven students from Vanuatu and Papua New New Guinea have flown home, the remainder of the Solomon students have also returned home to their villages mostly by truck or by boat. One couple will be pastoring a church on one of the man made islands at the far northern end of the island of Malaita. Others will be trying to catch a flight back to the far flung islands of Santa Cruz which are almost to Vanuatu….unless they can catch a boat that only travels once a month.
Some of the Australians present were from the INC Elevation Church on the Gold Coast. Led by Andy Backhouse the Global Care Director of the church, teams from this church have been instrumental in helping with the renovations and building work around the College over the past year. So it was a time for them to join in the celebrations and also minister in the local Balasuna Christian School down the road.
Balasuna Christian School
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Following a previous missions trip to Vanuatu when outreach meetings were held and many age including the villager chief came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, a relationship has been established between the mission team members of the Shellharbour Community Church and the village of Olan Nambuga, which is essentially a slum area only 10 minutes away from the centre of Port Vila in Vanuatu. The living standards for most people in the village are quite low and unemployment is high. Many children can’t afford to go to the regular schools.
Desiring to further this relationship in a practical way, a team of 10 people from the INC church at Shellharbour ages ranging from 16 to 70 followed up with another visit in July 2017. The aim of the visit was to build a marketplace in the village. The vision is that this market would bring tourism, provide employment, create a central space for purchasing goods for those in the village and would create income that will send local children to school.
According to team members Rachel and David Imisides : “ God really took care of the team over the trip and we saw His hand in so many things! God led us to unexpected ministry and missions opportunities. The team worked very hard over very long hours and the market place went up successfully in just 6 days! We built an open market, an office and a store room. The villagers were so pleased with the market and many of them expressed what a difference it would make in their community.”
God opened up an opportunity for the three women in the team to start a Scabies Clinic in the village. Many children in the village are affected by this horribly uncomfortable disease that leads to open sores on different parts of the body. Over 50 children and adults were treated as well as teaching them some basic health principles such as the importance of cleaning and covering wounds to avoid infection and much improvement in the patients.
The medical equipment was left with a local teacher who will continue the work. Rachel writes, “We also had a language student on our team who was able to translate into the local language the process for treating the disease. They were so impressed by the accuracy of the translation! We put the poster up around the village to facilitate ongoing treatment of the disease. We are hoping and praying it will make a big impact in the village.”