Vanuatu Visit July 2016_2

Tuesday – we have gone well today with some showers – but not enough to stop us. The walls are all up and the electrical wiring is through now. Tomorrow it will be time to get the roof on, and start working on the plumbing. We have also started work on the shutters for the Project House – and are making good progress.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get good enough internet connection to be able to send any photos, but will try again tomorrow.



Vanuatu Visit July 2016_1

Our time here in Vanuatu has been outstanding so far. Six of our team of seven arrived on Saturday afternoon and initially visited the Project House to inspect the foundations of the new ablution block that have been built by local men here. This was a great time to catch up with Ennikilen, and for the team to really get their heads around what they need to be doing this week.

Sunday was a wonderful team day – we travelled around the island of Efate with Neville looking at all the different projects that the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand has been involved in over the last couple of years. It was especially good to see what has been done at Onesua College – which will be officially reopened in 10 days time.

Monday has been spent on the building. It has gone well with two walls up and clad, and a third wall started. I spent almost all day trying to source materials that had been bought and paid for, but not delivered! Thankfully, just after we ran out of timber this afternoon, the truck arrived with some of the missing order.

And finally, the 7th member of the team, Rev Reuben Hardie arrived this afternoon. It was also a pleasure to have one of the young local men working with us through the day.


I write this piece for our Church Blog with anticipation and hope for the future of the Hibiscus Coast Presbyterian Church. A bold decision has been made. At a congregational meeting on Sunday, 30 August 2015 the congregation voted overwhelmingly to move to holding combined worship services each Sunday morning, alternating between St Andrew’s Whangaparaoa and St Andrew’s Orewa.

The key points to note immediately about this move are as follows:

  • combined worship services will commence on Sunday, 20 September 2015 with a service at 10:00 am at Whangaparaoa;
  • the starting time of combined services will be 10:00 am;
  • in each month on the first and third Sundays combined worship will be at Whangaparaoa and on the second and fourth Sundays combined worship will be at Orewa; and
  • if there is a fifth Sunday in the month, the combined service will be a special service with the timing, venue and details of the service being notified in advance.

This move may be a little confusing for some, particularly to start with, so we will be using several different ways to get the message across. For example, the parish activities calendar on the back page of the monthly newsletter will always give the dates, timings and venues of our worship services. The activities calendar on our church website ( will also provide the details of each Sunday’s worship services.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be putting together a worship team to plan and oversee the combined worship services for the first six months. The worship team will play an important role in ensuring the success of our combined worship, bringing together different talents and ideas and sharing the worship preparation load with me. It doesn’t mean that the worship team is going to be doing everything, though, and we will be looking for people to participate in the conduct of our worship services, whether they are on the team or not. It is, above all, participation and variety that we are looking for – the combined worship services are the vehicle for this. It is through participation that we will be able to ensure that our worship remains vital, relevant and encouraging, all of which are important for helping us to be part of God’s mission in the world.

Yours in Christ’s service,

Rebuild Day 7: Tuesday 11 August 2015

Final day. Beautiful weather and a lot of work to be done. It is good to be able to report that we finished the dining room, lined interior and exterior, door fitted, windows made and rewired for the lights. The roof is also done – all flashings on and completely finished.

It was a very full on day which concluded with a lovely farewell and celebratory meal with several from the PWMU and several from the head office of the PCV in attendance.

The team are pretty shattered now, but a sense of satisfaction and a sense of gratitude to be able to participate in this special project.

Our thanks again to all of you for your ongoing support.

Blessings from the Team.

The new roof on the project house.

The new roof is now complete.

The new windows and door to the dining room.

The windows are in and the dining room has a door again.

The interior of the dining room.

The dining room is completed inside as well!

The team dressed in the new outfits given to them.

The team looking great in the new outfits presented to them.

Rebuild Day 6: Monday 10 August 2015

Another glorious day in Vanuatu – but this made it very very hot on the roof! In spite of the heat, we have made good progress today with the main roof largely finished, and the dining room walls all framed up and exterior cladding on. Tomorrow is our last day as we leave Vanuatu at 7:00am on Wednesday. This is quite daunting as there is still a huge amount to do, but we can only do what we can do. It was a real blessing today when another kiwi, Graeme McKenzie from Matamata, came to help us and will be there tomorrow too.

The team are all incredible – they work at 100% all day – and are all shattered by sundown. No cross words in spite of some real challenges and a real sense of camaraderie has developed between us all. There is much to be thankful for.

Blessings from us all, Simon, David, Caleb, Jon, Marty and Paul.

Caleb and Marty work on the ceiling in the new dining room.

Caleb and Marty work on the ceiling in the new dining room.

The framing for the new dining room going up.

The framing for the new dining room going up.

The exterior walls of the new dining room have now been added.

The exterior walls of the new dining room have now been added.

The new dining room is ready for the windows and door to be fitted.

The new dining room is ready for the windows and door to be fitted.

Rebuild Day 5: Sunday 9 August 2015

Sunday. A chance to sleep in a little before heading off to church on Ifira Island. What a blessing this turned out to be, as the service was celebrating the 70th anniversary of the birth of the PWMU – and it was begun by Ms Skinner who was a missionary from NZ. The whole service was taken by the PWMU and it was incredibly special to be there, a bunch of New Zealanders, who are there in partnership with the PWMU.

After church we were honoured guests while the cake was cut and the food was served.

Ifira is a beautiful island and it was very sobering to see the damage done by the cyclone. On the way back to Port Vila, we also saw quite a number of boats wrecked by the cyclone as well.

All feeling refreshed tonight and ready for the last few days.

Blessings from the Team, Jon, Caleb, Simon, Marty, David and Paul.

The team traveled by boat from Port Vila to Ifira

Taking the boat from Port Vila to Ifira Island.

The children's talk during the anniversary service.

The children’s talk in the service.

This little one was perfect for the whole 2 hour service!

This little one was perfect for the whole 2 hour service!

A dog in the service.

Even the dog came to the service!

Cyclone Pam uprooted trees on Ifira.

Uprooted trees: damage caused by Cyclone Pam.

Some banana boats tied up off shore on Ifira.

Banana boats tied up off shore.

Rebuild Day 4: Saturday 8 August 2015

Today we woke to clear skies and a good forecast – so it was the day for the main roof.

As soon the old roof was off, we could see the difference from the building code in NZ! So the first few hours was spent strengthening the structure and then on with the iron.

It was very hot on the roof – and we went through more than 20 bottles of water between us – and one of the team ended up doing a good impression of a cooked lobster – the result of not enough sunscreen!

We have been delighted with how the hardware store has come to the party – not only do we have all our materials – they have been delivering our orders for new materials within a couple of hours of ordering them! I have done so many trips there over the last few days that they now greet me by name!

We still have a lot to do – but are very pleased with what has been achieved so far.

Thank you to you all for your support and your prayers – it makes a real difference.

Blessings from the whole team!

Beefing up the roof by adding more rafters.

Strengthening the roof by adding more roof beams

The new roof is being added.

Making progress on the new roof.

The expanse of new roof iron looks really great!

The new roof looks great!