HOW THINGS WORKED OUT ON TANNA (VANUATU)
Five weeks ago, I put a report on this website about how a small group of Christians, on one of the islands in the Pacific nation of Vanuatu, had been affected by the deadly cyclone “Pam”. A week later, I was able to explain that a fund, accessible online, had been set up in New Zealand, whereby these brothers and sisters of ours could be helped. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s all in the two short articles below. The second of those two articles was, of course, written first – so that’s the best one to start with.)
The cyclone that caused such havoc in the area became an internationally recognised disaster. This month, we have all become very aware of the disaster that has stricken Nepal, but I am sure that readers of this website haven’t forgotten what I wrote about Tanna. So I thought I would give a brief account of how things worked out there.
Adam – whose family had been responsible for introducing the villagers to the Lord – was able to “drop everything” and go over to Tanna for about three weeks. His water-pumps had almost all survived, and he only had to replace one of them. However, there were three outstanding problems:
International Food-Aid was not getting through to their particular part of the island – due to either mismanagement or some corrupt practices (or both). Adam was able to buy some food privately, which was an immediate help, and, in due course, the Food-Aid became available to everyone. So, already, the prayers, and the giving, of Christians elsewhere were beginning to have an effect. The New Zealand family passed on this scripture to the Christians: “Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned, or their children begging for bread. The godly always give generous loans to others and their children are a blessing.” (Psalm 37:5,25,26.) An encouragement and a challenge!
There was no Housing (except for George’s concrete house, into which all the Christians were crowded!) An Aid Organisation called “Care International” distributed tarpaulins, which were helpful for the construction of temporary accommodation. However, the fund in NZ has now reached over 5000 NZ Dollars, so that is available for the purchase of suitable building materials, once things settle down. Adam, who has a lot of skill and experience in engineering and construction matters, will be able to return to Tanna in two months time, and help with the building. (Incidentally, the NZ folks want me to warmly thank those in several parts of the world who gave as a result of reading the articles here. The “Give a Little” fund remains open till 30th June – NZ time. People elsewhere should probably think of a 29th June deadline!)
Crops will take a long time to grow. Bananas and vegetables won’t come up again for another year. Imported food will need to be bought during that time. More seriously, probably, is the fact that coffee (the villagers main source of actual income) will take three to four years to be available for sale! There is an Israeli aid-team that seem able to give advice on produce that would grow more quickly – so pray that they (or someone else) will come up with something practical.
In spite of all these major difficulties, the New Zealanders report that the Christian group on Tanna are full of gratitude to the Lord for the sparing of their lives, and are confident that He will definitely “work all things together for good” in the long run.
NO DOUBT YOU HAVE MANY OTHER CALLS ON YOUR CARE AND CONCERN. NEVERTHELESS, PLEASE CONTINUE TO KEEP THESE DEAR FOLKS ON TANNA IN MIND – AND ALSO THAT NEW ZEALAND FAMILY, AS THEY MAKE SUCH EFFORTS TO SUPPORT THEM.