On May 29, 2013, three couples along with 16-year-old Kelsie, the granddaughter of Ron and Sheila, embarked on a flight to the Pacific Islands. Teena and I considered ourselves privileged to participate in this once in a lifetime experience.
This trip could be likened to hunting, hiking in the woods or simply being out in nature. We experienced a plethora of scents from fresh air to fragrant roses and unpleasant latrines. We enjoyed all manner of flora and fauna: trees, fruits and vegetables, dogs, hogs, chickens, birds and insects.
Women washed their clothes in running streams of water and cooked food on dirt or brick stoves. Children played on the dirty ground, some naked and others half covered. Men and women appeared in bare feet, normal and natural in this setting of outdoor living with its wooden benches and clotheslines. Many families lived together on farms separated by zinc sheets or pieces of plastic or bed sheets.
Vanuatu people seem happy, relaxed and content. A soft, quiet, friendly people, they welcomed us with open hearts onto their yards—after we passed their barking dogs. We spent quality time with these unhurried people, sharing the gospel message with each family and praying for needs or healing.
As we journeyed throughout the day, our volunteers helped with a joyous spirit. We faced many issues and complications, but no problems.
We contended with a 15-hour time difference, barking dogs, growling animals and unknown creatures moving on the roof at night. Lizards lived on the ceiling and creeping insects crawled up the walls and across the floor. Early in the morning, birds chirped way too loudly.
Put to the test, we passed with flying colours. Our meaningful trip felt as alive and real as in the Book of Acts when the Apostle Paul went house to house sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It proved to be a hectic and tiring two weeks of walking in the sun, rain, mud, and brick roads. Sometimes we pushed Bibles in wheelbarrows on narrow pathways through jungle-like conditions, but we cherished and enjoyed every second of it.
Why? Because we were on the greatest assignment on planet earth for the kingdom of God—the Lord Jesus leading the way and the Holy Spirit winning souls through us!