Riverlands Support Vanuatuan Community
Weak and Wobbly Days Turn to Sharing and Smiles
By Amy Boyd
Have you ever trodden on a nail? I hope not! But if you have, you'll know how wobbly and hobbled I was a couple of weeks ago when our church, Riverlands Christian Community, found out some bad, and also, good news.
The bad news was, our brothers and sisters from Vanuatu, working seasonally, were only getting two and three days' work each week, in midwinter.
And the good news? Samaritan's Purse had some Covid-19 related budget to allocate to needy sections of the community. One of the Vanuatuan couples in our congregation once taught me during a Bible Study that they do "what God puts right in front of their face". How obvious was this set of circumstances in its pairing?
Isn't it wonderful to see how God uses times of weakness to bless others?
We had been getting to know some of the Christian "Ni-Vans" during church services, morning tea afterwards, and whilst being hosted in homes. They have shared their love of singing, in duets and en masse. They bring joy with their smiles, and their Island Dresses which are so bright--traditionally worn on a Sunday in Vanuatu, but very cold for midwinter in Longford!
To hear that these hospitable people were barely able to pay their rent or buy a normal range of food stuffs, let alone send any money home to their families, was hard on the ears. Plus, the stakes are high in a foreign country, without any Medicare back-up, if they fall ill.
Thanks and praise
It seemed only natural that we, as a country church, rather fond of good 'tucker', feed them so they could feed their families back home, where the unemployment is so high even if people want to work. We 'passed around the hat' in our service, and applied to Samaritan's Purse, who responded swiftly. So it was our privilege to arrive one afternoon, with a $100 local supermarket voucher for each and every worker in the boarding house, and to share a time of singing and prayer together for God's provision.
With my limp, I was very aware of our human vulnerability, and their stories of families at home who would benefit so much from funds being freed up. Many thanks were said, but it was God who was praised. What a joy, to bring a smile to 34 people and to hear their four-part harmonies on a day when I could have focussed on just my sore foot.
Pictured: The Ni-Vans receiving their food vouchers
A taste of home
Many people in the church had responded in their own way, dropping off hampers and spending time together with these faithful islanders. Happily, we were also able to present a second round of vouchers with the remaining Samaritan's Purse funds a fortnight after the first!
The Ni-Vans found a grocer in Launceston who sells their favourite root vegetable, and, with some coconut cream, they can have some taste of home. We know, with the smiles and waves as we walk, bike and drive down the main street, that we have encouraged our brothers and sisters in Christ. And hopefully, we have been a witness of Christ's love to those who don't call him Lord yet.
May God bless your week as you seek to do "what God puts right in front of your face". Ask Him to show you--He wants to build his kingdom!
Riverlands Christian Community