The following is a daily diary from our recent short-term mission trip to support the work that Matt & Lydia Meads are doing in the Karia Community on Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu.
Jono Meads [Team Leader] Ross Fountain Gillian McIntyre Emily Birkin Maria Lucia Camargo Afonso Bower Joel Lauder Kerry Rickard
THE AIMS OF THE TRIP… Support the mission work in Vanuatu. Run medical clinic’s Undertake building projects as required Support the already established church plant. Identify ways we can support Matt & Lydia longer term. Establish regular short-term mission trip for the future.
Wednesday 9 Nov 2016
A full day of travel today. We left Palmerston North at 8:30am to fly to Auckland. After a couple of hours waiting we flew from Auckland to Port Villa. Our first experience of the heat we will be facing as we had a couple of hours stop over in Port Villa. We were blessed to be visited at the airport by Rob Early who gave us a greater insight into the Bible translation work happening on Vanuatu. The final leg of our trip, Port Villa to Luganville saw meet by Matt, Lydia and Rachel at the airport at 7pm. After a wonderful meat and time to settle in, it was an early night for everyone. Praise God, we are here!
Thursday 10 Nov 2016
With an early sunrise (5am) it was an early start. We visited Camp Shining Light in the first part of the morning, where a number of missionaries who Matt & Lydia partner with are situated.
After the visit, the Medical Team joined Rachel in attending a local clinic while the construction team started a days work on the Mead's guest house which required some internal walls erected, jibbing and plastering.
After lunch the Medical Team were engaged in a second clinic for the day.
A full and profitable first day of serving.
Friday 11 Nov 2016
As the temperature and humidity continues to rise, day two saw our medical team involved in another 2 clinics which involved a range of bumps, abrasions and growths to deal with. The construction team continued with their work on the guest house as well as a start was made to painting the outside of the Mead's residence. We were blessed to have a break and lunch at the local "Blue Lagoon" a lovely swimming hole. In the evening, Joel and Jono were invited to join in the Youth Progamme at Luganville Baptist Church. Joel spoke and they both enjoyed a chance to catch up with past friends.
Saturday 12 Nov 2016
After a quick trip into downtown Luganville we leave, Vanuatu style, by truck 3 hours South-East to the Karia community. The road progressed from sealed (sort of) to dirt and after fording 4 creeks we then turned off onto a fwd track and continued deeper and deeper into the jungle. There are numerous small villages around but we are staying in the communities "centre" where there is a schoolhouse, cookhouse, church building and Matt and Lydias house. We all have a small tent each. We were warmly welcomed and are excited to serve! All in bed by about 7:30pm.
Sunday 13 Nov 2016
We had heavy rain overnight, but only Jono evacuated for the cook house! This morning it was light by about 4:30am! We were blessed to share in a church service at 9:30am at Karia Baptist Church. Ross spoke on talking to God and getting to know Him through the word.
This afternoon took a walk up to the gardens of Karia (all of us in jandals!). Then the medics went down a long hill (in boots this time) to a village called Charakouru where we saw several patients, one poor lady probably with advanced breast cancer. We were able to pray with her which really was the best medicine we could offer. It was a long hot trek back up the hill again!
Everyone delighted tonight as they set us up a screen to have a bucket wash! The rivers are too low to swim. Great to wash off 2 days of sweat sunblock and insect repellent!
Tonight after dinner we sat around in front of the cookhouse (our usual meeting place) and sang praises to God. So it was a late night to bed.... about 8:30pm!!
Monday 14 Nov 2016
Up with the sun again his morning and by 6:30am it was hot and clear blue sky. We set up clinic today at the church. Plenty of wounds, scabies, ringworm and impetigo. Maria, Emily, Lydia and I held the fort ( Rachel is sick) while all the boys worked on the church - they are all extremely tired tonight!
This afternoon the girls were asked to join some of the ladies making mats and baskets - they are an art and so cleverly done. Its a bit beyond us!
Tuesday 15 Nov 2016
Today was a slow day at the clinic- a boil to lance a couple of dressings and a lady with a sore wisdom tooth.
Meanwhile the boys finished leveling the church floor and while waiting for the truck with the netting etc to arrive, they made 6 double desks for the school. The truck still hasn't arrived!
At about 4:00pm the heavens opened and the rain thundered down, coming in waves. Thankfully they had put up a tarpaulin for shade yesterday and so we all sheltered underneath it. It's now 7pm and has stopped for now. Who knows for how long though!
Wednesday 16 Nov 2016
A busy day today! This morning we had a few people in clinic and then I went down to the new church site where the boys are working on a concrete floor and making benches. I took plenty of photos and a video of them hand making the concrete.
Then there was lunch prep. After lunch we girls did some crafts with the ladies. Emily shared her testimony with Lydia interpreting and I read a scripture.
Tonight after dinner we have another church service so have had to pack up clinic for now and will re-set up in the morning.
Thursday 17 Nov 2016
Another hot humid day. The boys continued on the new church floor and we had a few at clinic this morning and this afternoon we did an educational session for the women talking about hygiene, help during birthing and menopause (which most women here have never heard of before)
The rest of the day was filled with food prep, cooking and washing dishes.
Friday 18 Nov 2016
It rained heavily overnight but those with leaky tents put them in the kindergarten room in the evening as we thought it might. We woke to a very cloudy day and quite cold!
After a quick clinic session the med team headed off to Charakouru. Thankfully I was offered a big umbrella as it was starting to rain - I was so grateful as within a 100m it began to rain heavily.
We visited the bubu (grandmother) who we think is dying with cancer. We were able to pray for her and Lydia explained the gospel to her. She said she believed in Christ and trusted in Him. We replenished her almost useless pain relief and then headed back home in a thunderstorm. The steep uphill track getting a bit slippery! We made it and now we hope to steam dry as we certainly can't open any tent yet. It's the loudest thunderstorm I've ever heard!! Praise God - we finished the concrete floor on the church!
Saturday 19 Nov 2016
The rain continued yesterday and there was very heavy rain and winds over night. Maria's and Gilly's tents had to be moved into the school room as they just weren't going to withstand that sort of weather overnight. Still didn't get much sleep though as it was very noisy and there were also pigs and horses eating very close to our heads!
This morning the decision was made to head back to Luganville a day early as the rivers will be rising and very shortly we won't be able to get out. So after breakfast and a wet gathering for goodbyes we headed off for a few hours of slippery 4wd down the hill, fording 4 rivers (quite deep - up to about 6 inches below the windows!), the deepest one of which Joel went ahead to make sure the river hadn't washed out overnight.
Must admit to being glad to get back.
First stop before home was the best cafe in town for lunch! Enjoyed by all and everyone catching up with family in NZ.
A lot of wet washing done and hung out. Then after dinner we had a movie and chocolate to celebrate our home coming.
Sunday 20 Nov 2016
And the rain continues. The washing dried in the drier in the end!
Were blessed to attend church with the believers at Luganville Baptist Church.
This afternoon we took the ferry over to Aore Island (still in the rain), had a swim, played cards and then we all had a lovely meal there before heading back. A great day of rest.
Monday 21 Nov 2016
This morning we sent Matt and Lydia out for breakfast for Matt's birthday and while they were out we continued with some of the painting of their house. At least until 9:30am when all but Ross and Jono felt too cooked to stay outside in the heat any
longer. Ross also got a centipede bite which was rather unpleasant. We also found one inside this afternoon. Nasty looking things.
Before lunch we went to town for the last time in Luganville and then this pm we've had a restful afternoon. Celebrated Matts birthday with a lovely home cooked steak meal tonight.
Tuesday 22 Nov 2016
So after our final breakfast with Matt and Lydia we headed to the airport and flew to Port Villa arriving at our "lodge" about 1:00pm. It's right above the Main Street with the market just across the road. Spent a couple of hours wandering around looking at a large collection of shops which seem to be run by Chinese selling all the usual cheap tourist stuff.
We will have our final meal here somewhere in an hour or so and then we'll be off to the airport again at 4:00am heading to Auckland. I must admit it will be great to be back home again, to be cool and feel clean again!!
Wednesday 23 Nov 2016
Up at 4:00am and off to the airport for an uneventful trip back to New Zealand. We said goodbye to Maria in Auckland and then headed home to Palmerston North.
We thank God for...
The people we meet!
The beauty of His creation!
The opportunity to both speak and live the message of the gospel!