Sunday, November 25, 2007

Feasting Time


This prayer email is a little longer, but after this the emails will
become a little less regular as things wind down a lot and we have a
holiday over Christmas. If you just want prayer points, look at the
bold parts.

We are now in the season of FEASTING!

Last Wednesday we had a our final mentoring get together and feast.
This involved all the students Glen mentors and their families (Peter,
Songie, Kasai, Jilifi, John and Kalangai). The night went well and was
an encouraging time together. Because it was the final night there were
a lot of formalities and speeches. Glen explained the importance of
what we have done in mentoring and of faithfully teaching people about
Christ whenever we can, especially as the students go on field
experience next year.

Please pray for these students and the other 2nd year diploma students
going on field experience for one year. They will face many pressures
next year and will find it hard to be faithful in their own personal
godliness and in their pastoral work. Many students in the past have
fallen into serious sin during their time on field and have been
suspended. Pray especially for the single students going on field
(Thomas, Martin, Sheila) and for the married students and staff who
have come to Talua without their families. These students face
especially strong temptations.

So please pray that God would strengthen these students and their
families as they go for field experience, that he would help them to
keep focused on their task of proclaiming Christ, and that he would
work to produce holiness in their lives.

On Thursday we had a feast for the families living in our corner of
Talua and said farewell to the Parkes family who are leaving at the end
of this year. Friday was the Talua community feast and farewell to
graduating students. Saturday was a community feast for the end of
"Kids Prayer Warriors", a program for the children to encourage them in
their prayer. Sunday was a final feast with our Presbyteries. Tonight
(Monday) is the single students feast. Wednesday is the final
graduation feast, which is by far the largest as it also includes many

Thank you for your prayers for the graduating students retreat. The
students participated in the seminar very enthusiastically and asked a
lot of good questions. The main purpose of the seminar was to
encourage students to reflect deeply on Scripture and on God and his
works and they responded positively to this message. God is working in
their lives and we ask that he will continue to do so!
Also, please pray for Jon Parkes as he speaks at graduation on
Wednesday, and for the graduating students as they begin their work in
local churches.

A lot of changes are happening in 2008 at Talua and in our lives. We
will list some here to give the bigger picture and help your prayers,
but we will not give individual prayer points:

• Regarding courses, there will be no certificate intake as this course
is being cancelled, there may be no diploma intake as the applicants
were not suitable, and the degree course has been postponed until 2009.
• The Santo Presbytery is trying to begin a lay training course based
at the farm up the road, with help from Talua staff.
• Glen will be helping with the College accounts in 2008, doing the
books but not the other jobs that normally go along with this.
• The 'Bookroom' has grown substantially. Next year it will probably be
officially licensed and begin operating as an online bookstore to
supply Vanuatu and other South Pacific islands (and Australia if people
want cheap books!).
• Sophie will begin school next year. Rachael will home school and not
do any official Talua teaching.
• One of Glen's main goals for next year is to be more involved in
ministry in surrounding villages. We have spoken about ministry a lot
in classes and mentoring, but it would be good to go out and teach and
preach and encourage people around us. The plan is for this to link
with mentoring, so we train and encourage our students by working with
them to teach and pastor in surrounding villages. This has not been
possible so far because of class preparation time and language
barriers, but after three years we pray that God will enable us now to
take this step.

Please pray for God's guidance and provision during these changes for
next year.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Feast, feasts and more feasts

Exams are now all finished. Thank you for your prayers for us and the

There are now two weeks before graduation, which takes place on
Wednesday 28th November. During this time preparations will be made for
graduation, but there are also a lot of feasts to celebrate the closing
of different College groups or activities, sort of like our end of year
Christmas parties. On Thursday night Glen went to the mission
students' feast, last night was a feast with our Presbytery group etc.
Each feast takes a lot of preparation so everyone is still busy, but in
a social way as people enjoy working together at a gentle pace getting
things ready.

This is also a good time for reflection. We have grown a lot through
the year and have seen new areas that we need to work at. We have also
been able to see growth in the students, both academically and
spiritually. This real growth is an answer to prayer and we give thanks
for the many good things we have seen God do through the year. We are
also thankful for his continuing protection and care.

Next week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday is the final year students
retreat. They will remain on the College site, but spend a lot of time
together reflecting on their time at College and preparing to leave. On
Wednesday Glen will lead the devotions and a time together on
"meditation". Please pray for this time together and that all the
discussion times will be helpful for the students.

Glen will also hold his final night with his mentoring students next
week. He was sick on the official night and so postponed it. This is a
highlight that he is really looking forward to, but please pray that a
time to meet can be found and that there be no interuptions.

There are many issues for prayer regarding next year as a lot of
changes will take place and many decisions are being made about what
will happen at Talua. We will list some of these next week and would
appreciate your prayer.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

God has kept peace

Thank you for remembering us in your prayers.
There was tension yesterday but God restrained those who were
threatening violence and the day passed peacefully.

The local province officials and the police are continuing to work on
the problem and there are meetings organised over the next few days
between representatives from the two villages involved.

At the heart of the issue is a land dispute, a huge issue in Vanuatu.
Land is a very important part of identity and security, but earlier
British/French occupation has made traditional land ownership very
difficult to determine and there is now the added problem of many
villages selling their land. Almost every staff/student at Talua that
we have asked is involved in a land dispute of some sort and the
disputes can easily end up with slander or violence. This is an ongoing
matter for prayer in Vanuatu.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Trouble Nearby

There has been a little unrest in the nearby village and threats have
been made of violence tomorrow. The police have been notified to help
ensure that there is no trouble, but please pray that this matter will
be resolved peacefully.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Two teaching weeks left

There are now two weeks of lectures left in this term and then exams.

We will both continue to meet individually with the students we are
mentoring and then we will meet in our groups on Friday 9th November.
Please pray for the students during these final weeks of mentoring,
especially that there be no interruptions to our time together, that
Rachael will be able to have good conversations reflecting on the year,
and that Glen would be able to encourage his students as they prepare
to go for one year of field experience.

Over the next two weeks Glen will be teaching Revelation to the 2nd and
4th year diploma students. He would greatly appreciate prayer for this!

Over the next few weeks the College will be reviewing applications for
next year. Please pray for wisdom in the selection process, that the
students chosen will be godly men and women who know and love Jesus.
Pray also for wisdom as we decide whether there are enough applications
for the degree course to begin next year.

Please pray that God may provide us with a bursar for next year. If no
one suitable is found then this work will probably be taken by Glen.

A bad flu has been going around the College. It is beginning to pass,
but many are not yet in full health. It affected all of our family,
but especially Glen and Matthew who are still trying to shake it off.
Please pray that God would restore us to full health, and give thanks
for the reminder that we are longing for our resurrection bodies and
our eternal home in which there will be no more sickness and pain. Give
thanks that God has blessed us with very good health through this year.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Assembly Week

This week most of the teaching staff from Talua are at General
Assembly. The students have been left work to do, but it is still a
good chance for them to catch their breath a little. Glen decided not
to go to Assembly this year because it is during teaching time and
there are already several representatives from Australia attending.

Glen has been continuing to meet individually with three students:
John, Kasai & Jilifi. We are now talking about how to write Bible
studies, as they are keen to learn this before they leave for their one
year field experience next year. Each week we read through a Bible
passage together, try to work out the main ideas and applications, and
then write a study together. This is working very well and they are
learning a lot, but it would be better if they were actually leading
studies! Next year I may try to organise for the students to lead Bible
studies in nearby villages. Please pray for the spiritual growth of
these students, and that they will grow in their understanding of God's
Word, their ability to teach it to others and their trust in God to
work powerfully when his Word is taught.

Glen would also appreciate prayer as he is teaching 1 & 2 Samuel to
Diploma 1 over the next few weeks. He is finding this more difficult
than normal because it is not an area he has studied a lot and he was
not given a lot of preparation time before the course started.

Rachael has been finding teaching a real challenge. It is a constant
struggle to teach at the right level and she has had to alter her
course a number of times this term. Nevertheless, Rachael is encouraged
that some of the women are really keen to learn to write Bible studies
and are working hard at understanding Bible passages and writing
questions that will help other women to understand too. Please continue
to pray for Rachael and the women doing this course.

All three children have a cough at the moment and consequently nights
are disturbed. Please pray for patience for Rachael and a quick return
to health for the children.

Talua has a large debt which it is difficult to pay. It is important
for us to pay this, but even more important for us to make sure
responsible systems of financial management are in place to make sure
we are being faithful with what we are given. Please pray that God
would provide us with a capable bursar for next year and the other
staff needed at the College.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Keeping focused on the harvest...

There is quite a lot happening over the next few weeks. Here is a brief
The 4th year diploma major projects are due at the end of the week.
The students are madly typing and correcting their work, but this is
very difficult because very few people have computers! Wednesday is a
public holiday for local province elections. Also on Wednesday a team
of 13 people arrive from New Zealand to continue working on the new
staff house. Rachael's mother arrives on Sunday for a one week visit.
There will be other groups visiting on Monday and Thursday next week.
On the 5th and 6th October the 2nd year diploma students are holding a
two day football competition and fundraiser. It will take most of their
focus over the next two weeks. The week after that many staff will
leave for General Assembly and be away for 1 or 2 weeks.

Our main goal through all of this is to try to help and encourage
students and other staff in all the work they will be doing, but while
still keeping the focus on our training for ministry. During busy times
like this it is easy for us to drop the work of discipleship,
evangelism and teaching in order to do "urgent", practical tasks.
While we want to help in these other tasks, we cannot afford to lose
our focus at Talua because there are almost always activities like this
taking place and visitors staying at the College. So please pray that
we will continue to have time to prepare our classes well and to meet
with the students for mentoring. Pray that the students will continue
to value their learning from God's Word and keep this a priority.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Talua Sunday

Last Sunday was Talua Sunday and the students and staff from Talua
travelled to churches throughout Santo to lead services and preach. The
day went very well. We travelled to Narango and greatly enjoyed our
time in the Village. The service went well and it helped us to learn
more about village life and the issues people are facing. Give thanks
for the day and pray that God would continue to provide more teaching
and encouragement for people throughout Vanuatu.

This is the first week of normal classes. Glen is now teaching Hebrews
to 2nd and 4th year diploma students, Psalms to 2nd year certificate,
and Joshua- 1 Kings to 1st year diploma. Rachael is teaching the women
how to write and lead Bible studies. Please continue to pray for us in
our teaching and for the students.

We are also trying to continue with discipling/mentoring students. It
has been difficult because the formal mentoring times are regarded as
less important than many other College activities and so are often
cancelled. It is very hard to find time to meet with students in the
busy College program and with all of the extra events taking place.
Please pray that God would protect this time that we have with the
students and that it would be a real blessing to both us and the

Lastly, a lot of people at Talua are suffering from a cold or flu that
is going around. It is not really serious, but enough to make everyone
feel tired and lethargic. Our family all have it, although it is only
mild. Please pray that God would restore everyone to full health

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The joys of Greek

Last week was very busy with the Greek intensive and a fundraiser on
Saturday. This next week will also be very busy as the Greek intensive
continues. The students doing Greek have been very enthusiastic! Almost
all the 2nd year diploma students began the course and no one has
stopped coming yet. They are very enthusiastic and really enjoying the
course. This is a great encouragement to Glen.

We have begun meeting with some of the students we are mentoring and
will try to begin meeting up with the rest during this week. Glen would
also like to begin meeting with a few 1st year diploma students in
preparation for next year when he is formally responsible for them.

Next Sunday is Talua Sunday, when the students and staff travel out to
different villages to lead the services. The teaching will be from Luke
15:1-10 on the lost sheep and the lost coin.

Rachael's classes went well on leading Bible Studies. She has the
normal struggle of working out how well she is communicating, but the
women seem to be responding well.

Thank you again for your prayers
Yours in Christ,
Glen, Rachael, Sophie, Bethany and Matthew

Please Pray

• Pray that God would give us energy and sustain us during this busy

• Give thanks that the students are enjoying Greek and working hard.
Pray that they would have wisdom as they decide whether to try to
continue with learning Greek, and that if they decide to do this that
God would give them motivation and discipline. Pray that the Greek they
learn, whether a little or a lot, would be used with humility and bring
benefit to the church in some way.

• Pray that students would prepare well for Talua Sunday and preach
faithfully. Pray that people in the surrounding villages may be built
up in their faith in Christ and challenged to live holy lives. Pray
that those in the villages who don't know Christ would hear the Gospel
proclaimed clearly, and that God would work by his Spirit to bring some
of them to faith and repentance.

• Pray that God would help Rachael as she teaches the women in Bislama,
and pray that the women would have a desire to learn to read God's Word
better, to trust and obey it, and to teach it to others.

• A few of our family and many others at Talua have a cold. Some of us
also have upset stomachs (from the fundraiser). Please pray that God
would restore us to full health quickly so that we have strength to
serve him.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Start of Term 3

We have had a good week of rest and then a week of preparation for
classes which start on Monday. This will be a very busy term. Glen had
a fairly late change of classes and so still has quite a lot of work to
do. For the first two weeks of term Glen will be teaching an intensive
Greek course to second year diploma students. He will also begin
teaching Joshua-1 Kings to first year diploma students. Rachael will be
teaching in the women's program on how to write and lead Bible studies.
Please pray for both of us in our preparation and teaching.

Mentoring will continue this term and we will write more later, but we
should begin again this week.

Glen's ordination has been postponed by the Presbytery because of some
minor issues, mainly that we want to make sure that there is clear
communication between the churches in Australia and Vanuatu regarding
the meaning of this ordination upon our return to Australia.
Postponing an ordination seems a big issue in Australia but it is not
really like that here. The things still need to be sorted out are
fairly minor, but please pray that it would all proceed smoothly from

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Time to rest awhile...

Thank you for your continuing prayers. The annual lectures have now
finished and students are on a two week holiday. The lectures were very
helpful, addressing issues relating to how we do Christian ministry in
a changing cultural context. This was very helpful for the staff and
students in Vanuatu as the church struggles to work out what we must
hold tightly in order to be faithful, and what we need to let go of to
adapt to the changing situation in Vanuatu. Pray that the students and
staff would think deeply about what they have heard and let it affect
the way they do their ministry. Pray that God would keep the churches
in Vanuatu faithful and that they will resist the temptations to change
the Gospel or compromise with worldly things. Pray that as we do this
God would give us his perspective on the changes that are taking place
in society. Pray that he would enable us to change where necessary so
that the we can clearly proclaim Christ to the people of Vanuatu.

We will be having a rest over the next week! Pray that the staff and
students would have a good rest and come back both physically and
spiritually refreshed.

We also always appreciate your prayers for our own growth in holiness
and for us to trust fully in God as we live and work here.

Yours in Christ,
Glen, Rachael, Sophie, Bethany & Matthew

Friday, August 10, 2007

Anglican Church destroyed in Earthquake

There have been quite a lot of different things happening so we'll list
the main ones.

• We rejoice that there was not much damage from the earthquake on the
2nd August. We have only heard of serious damage to one building.
Unfortunately it was the brand new Anglican church in Luganville which
opened last year and had not quite finished being built. The walls
buckled making it unstable, so they had to dismantle the roof and knock
the walls down. It is now just a slab of concrete and some piles of
rubble... and there is no insurance here. Last week I spoke to the
minister there, a Talua graduate, and he was holding back tears as he
told me of the disappointment the congregation is feeling. He said he
is trying to give them hope through his preaching as they think about
rebuilding. Pray that God would give comfort and strength to the pastor
and congregation so that they will continue to preach the Gospel and
teach God's Word in Luganville. Pray also that God would provide them
with the emotional and spiritual strength and the resources they need
to begin rebuilding.

The Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu has approved my ordination on 2nd
September. (This ordination will be recognised in Vanuatu but not
Australia.) Glen will meet with the Presbytery Clerk before the event
to discuss what this will involve, including the commitment required
and the doctrinal and political issues. Please pray for these

An APWM workparty carried out further work on the new library, and
several NZ teams have been building a house for staff accommodation.
These buildings are part of the preparations for a degree course next
year. Give thanks for the progress of this building work and for the
preparations for the degree course.

Next week the Talua annual lectures will be held on the topic of church
growth. All the staff and students attend, and this year there will be
several visiting lecturers from New Zealand. Pray that the lectures
will be biblical and thought provoking. Pray that staff and students
will think carefully and critically about what they are hearing, and
then put it into practice in their own ministry in the Vanuatu context.

• Glen's big joy from two weeks ago was seeing God give assurance of
salvation to a student (Ronald) while we were studying Revelation 20 in
class! The students have already studied Romans but that didn't give
him assurance. This term we studied Hebrews and looked at the
confidence we have to come before the throne of God through Christ our
High Priest. But that didn't do it either. Then we looked at the
judgment scene in Revelation. The books were opened and everyone great
and small was judged by the works written in the books. But then there
is another book, the book of life, and everyone whose name was written
in this book was not thrown into the lake of burning sulfur with the
others. All his life he had been in deep fear that on the last day God
would cast him into hell, but through this passage God gave him
confidence of his righteousness before God through Christ and deep joy.
He couldn't wipe the smile off his face! Give thanks for Ronald's
clearer understanding of what Christ has done for him and for the joy
that this has brought to his life, and pray that these things would
become deeper and stronger in his life.

• Pray for wisdom as we decide what commitments to take on for next

With love from your brothers and sisters in Christ,
Glen, Rachael, Sophie, Bethany and Matthew

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Exam week - our situation is easy!

Talua is a lot quieter now as students are preparing to begin their
exams tomorrow. Please pray for the students as they do exams on
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Bethany and Matthew have a small cold. It is not serious at this stage,
but Matthew is having trouble sleeping and it has made us all very
tired. Pray that they would be well again quickly and that we would be
able to have good rest at night. Pray too that we will have more chance
to rest a little over the next few weeks and also to work on some of
the major projects we want to do which were put aside during term time.

The earthquake caused a little damage in Luganville, such as cracks in
the road, buildings and the main bridge and loss of power, but there
does not seem to have been any serious damage or injury. At Talua there
are a few cracks in buildings and the water was out for about three
days, but that is all. We also continue to have a lot of rain, although
not as much as before. It is easy to start to feel negative about these
things or to complain, but then we read the news about millions of
people homeless in Asia and we realise that our sovereign God is
dealing very gently with us at Talua. We have not even come close to a
situation which forces us to rely upon God and not ourselves. Please
continue to pray for those throughout the world who are suffering at
the moment. We know that God is in control even of these things, and we
pray that he would work for good through all these events so that
people may come to know him and he may be glorified in all the earth.

We have another mentoring night on Friday (Glen with the men) and
Saturday (Rachael with the women). Pray it would be a good time
reflecting on God's word together and on how the term has been for each

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


There was a fairly large earthquake (7.3) off the coast of Malekula,
Vanuatu early this morning. We thought we'd let you know we are okay in
case you hear about it and are concerned. It was the largest we have
experienced here, but there was no injury or damage at Talua that we
know of.

If you want to see more technical details have a look at:


There are many students and staff from Malekula. We will let you know
if we hear of any serious injury or damage that occurred there.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

One week before exams...

This week is the last teaching week of term and things are beginning to
wind down. It is a great time for students to consolidate what they
have learnt, but it is easy for motivation to be dominated by the exam
rather than a desire for knowledge of God and obedience to him. Please
pray that the students would be disciplined and work hard during this
next week and during exams, and that they would keep focused on the
importance of what they are learning.

There was a public holiday last week and another one today, and these
have broken the continuity between lessons. It will be a challenge this
week to pick up the momentum and enthusiasm after the missed classes,
and then to finish the courses in a way that gives some sense of
completion. Please pray for all the staff as they teach this week.

Glen's lessons and goals during the week are as follows:
Certificate 1: Revelation 21-22 - This is a wonderful climax to the
course. Pray that the students would have a greater vision of the
wonderful things that God has in store for us, and that they will
desire to live now and carry out their ministry in a way that is
focused on God's glory both now and in the future.

Diploma 1, Knowledge of God - We will finish by looking at some of the
practical implications of God as Trinity. This is not as clear in my
thinking and I need to do a lot more thinking, reading and praying.
Please pray for me as I prepare this. I need lots of help!!!

Diploma 1, Pentateuch - We will finish the course with Deuteronomy,
which is a wonderful challenge about how we will respond to God. The
book calls for us to love God, trust him, fear him, obey him etc.
Moses knew the Israelites would fail because of their sinful hearts,
but the book also points us to Christ in many ways. It is fitting way
for us to end the course. Please pray that the message of Deuteronomy
would challenge and help us in our response to God.

The upcoming exams also bring stress for a lot of students, especially
those who find it hard to write in English. Please pray that God would
help these students with their study and comfort them in their fears.

Thank you again for your prayers. We know that God delights to answer
the prayers of his people!
Yours in Christ,
Glen, Rachael, Sophie, Bethany and Matthew Connor

Sunday, July 22, 2007

rain, Rain, RAIN!


We have seen the sun for a only a few hours in total over the whole
last 3 weeks, and very little during the 3 weeks before that. There has
been a great deal of rain, the wettest we have seen during our time
here. It is the first time we have seen the ground totally saturated so
that there are small lakes forming all around the campus. We rejoice
in the rain but please pray that we would be patient when it feels
inconvenient, especially as the cloud means that we have had almost no
solar power over the past 6 weeks. We are having to ration our
electricity fairly carefully.

Rachael taught her last class for the term this morning and next week
her students will each present a song which fits with part of the
course. Glen will teach this week and part of next week. The following
week is exams. There is not really a general culture of hard study at
Talua. Please pray that the students would value the time leading up to
exams and study hard, not just to pass their courses but to learn
things that will help them in their Christian life and ministry.

Rachael has finally been able to speak individually with the women she
is mentoring. Each is really really keen to meet up each week to read
the bible and pray together (Susan, Esther and Katiri). This is really
encouraging and a fabulous opportunity to be thinking about spiritual
matters together. She stills needs to talk with Julie and Deli.

We are all in good health. The students who had malaria seem to have
recovered. Leila Williamson is now sick, possibly with malaria. Joshua
next door has mumps. Some lecturers have also missed classes with
sickness. Please continue to pray for health and healing, for trust in
God through sickness, and that the sickness not interrupt teaching or
learning at Talua.

Next Monday is Independence Day, a very important time in Vanuatu.
Vanuatu is still a Christian nation, but many are commenting that God
has less place in politics now. There is a desire for the nation to
grow economically and become more like Western nations, but the
Christian basis can easily be overlooked. Please pray that during
Independence Day celebrations people would reflect on the place of God
in the lives of individuals and the nation, and that we would have
opportunities to discuss these issues with students.

Yours in Christ,
Glen and Rachael Connor

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Connor weekly prayer points 18th July 2007


Recently we have been reflecting on our need in a foreign context to pay more attention to our spiritual sustenance because we receive much less encouragement and teaching than we do in Australia. When you are experiencing isolation as a family from wider society, it is more important than ever that family relationships be strong and based on a deep relationship with God. Please uphold us in your prayers in this area.

The work party from APWM (mission partners) arrived at Talua on Tuesday morning and will stay for almost two weeks. Eight people will be working on the new library and two people will be involved in observing and helping with mission work in the bush and in Luganville. Glen may join in some of the mission trips, and we are hosting two members of the party.

Glen is continuing through the book of Revelation with his Certificate class and will begin looking at the Trinity soon with Diploma 1. He finds it very difficult to understand many of these things himself, and then difficult to work out the best way to teach and apply these things in an unfamiliar context. The plan with Diploma 1 is first to give a brief summary of the doctrine of the Trinity, but then to spend most of the time reading through the parts of John's Gospel which show us the relationship between the Father, Son and Spirit. Hopefully the students will find it easier to read what Jesus said and did to reveal his Father to us and so to understand who God is as Father, Son and Spirit, rather than discussing the ideas more abstractly or philosophically.

Rachael's course on women in the Old Testament is coming to an end. Yesterday we looked at the Exile, with particular reference to Ezekiel's wife and the temple and next week we'll be looking at the return to the land and how even though God's promises to his people have come true, sin is still spoiling everything. Each week we have looked at how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament and next week we'll look at how Jesus solves this problem.

We continue to appreciate your prayer, knowing that God delights in answering the prayers of his people, however weak or feeble they may
seem in our eyes,

With love from your brothers and sisters in Christ,Glen, Rachael, Sophie, Bethany and Matthew

PRAYER• Pray that we would enjoy many times of rich blessing with God as we read his word and pray, including privately, as a family and with the wider community. Pray that God would use us as a family to bring spiritual and emotional support to one another.

• Pray that God would give safety to the workers building the new library and the mission group traveling in the bush. Pray that equipment and supplies needed for building the library would all be available and that there be no major setbacks. Pray that those involved in the mission trip will be challenged in their own lives, and that God would bring more people in isolated parts of Vanuatu and Luganville to know himself through this mission work.

• Pray that God would gives us wisdom and understanding as we prepare our lessons. Pray that the students we teach would continue to grow both intellectually and spiritually. Pray especially for Glen and the students as we look together at Revelation and the Bible's teaching about who God is as Father, Son and Spirit.

• Pray for students who are sick with the flu and malaria and for Esther in the mission program who had an operation last weekend in the Luganville Hospital, that God would give them a quick and safe recovery and that they would continue to trust and glorify him through their sickness.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Talua is busy and tired!


It is still quite busy at Talua at the moment. During Open Day a work party of about 25 people from New Zealand arrived to help build a new staff house. They have been here for a week, hosted by staff and students, and most of the group left this morning. There is also a small group staying at Talua for a week and traveling into bush villages to study local languages which need Bible translation work. There are still quite a few other groups to come, and I think we will have people staying constantly until the middle of August. We also had a surprise visit by the Prime Minister and some MPs last Tuesday to Tata school (2km up the road). Talua were invited to attend and be part of the ceremonies and discussion. Preparations are beginning for Independence Day, a very significant celebration held at the end of July.

All of this activity has both positive and negative effects. The students and staff are all feeling quite tired from this activity and there is now some sickness starting to go around. Open Day was especially draining as many students stayed up through the night preparing food for all of the visitors. (There were a few hundred people who were staying at Talua, plus many others who came each day from their villages.) It is very difficult to keep students alert in class and we have also had to cancel quite a few mentoring times.

Overall, we rejoice at the many things that are happening. Talua is in a wonderful position to bring blessing to the surrounding area and to Vanuatu as a whole and we pray that God would work through these things which are happening.

• Praise God for the safety we have had over the past few weeks through Open Day and the work party visit.
• Pray that students would be able to find time for rest and would enjoy good health.
• Pray for all the groups which are visiting Talua. Pray that they would have safe travel, that Talua would continue to be welcoming despite our tiredness, that the visitors would be challenged and grow by their visit to Talua, and that the work they do would help Talua and the churches here in their work of proclaiming and teaching the message of Christ.
• That Talua would have wisdom to decide which groups to receive and a focus on the kingdom of God so that we will be willing to continue supporting activities which help the wider church in Vanuatu and not just Talua.
• Pray that students would continue to learn and grow, and that the business at Talua would not hinder their training or spiritual growth.
• Pray that our family would continue to have sufficient rest and enjoy good health.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Open Day

Hi Everyone.
It has been a very busy weekend with Open Day. Things started getting busy on Thursday night and only settled down Sunday night. Everyone is very tired today. Glen's mother returned home this morning. The next few days will be fairly quiet with classes and resting.

Thank you again for your prayers. Our phone is still not working so I cannot write more. I thought I would get this email out while I have the chance to send email.

Glen Connor

Monday, June 25, 2007

A fresh vision of God's sovereignty from his Word


We are all well at the moment. Matthew's high temperatures only lasted for two days and he is healthy again now. Glen's mother is still with us and is helping out a great deal. We also celebrated Rachael's birthday last week and it was nice to have company for that.

** This weeks email is fairly long. If you don't have time to read it please skip to the prayer points which are short. **
** That is what this email is really for!!! **

Every now and then the same biblical idea turns up in many different places to challenge you afresh. In my classes this week it has been like that with the sovereignty and power of God. In "Knowledge of God" we have just finished reflecting on God as the ruler of the world, who provides what we need and is at work in all things. In "Pentateuch" we are continuing to work through Exodus and it has really struck me how Exodus 5-11 is hardly about the rescue of the Israelites at all! God had power to destroy Pharaoh in an instant and lead the people quickly out of Egypt, but he didn't. Instead, he deliberately hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he could demonstrate his power and show to both the Israelites and the Egyptians who he is. In these chapters the rescue of his people is clearly secondary to that primary aim of glorifying himself, although clearly he brings glory to himself by the way he rescues his people. So Exodus 5-11 is firstly about God showing his power and glory. Then in "Hebrews to Revelation" we have reached chapters 4 and 5 which are a majestic vision of God the King who is worthy of all honour and glory and power, and of the Lamb who was slain now sitting on the throne and who is worthy of all honour and glory and power. Finally, last night we listened to a sermon by John Piper on Romans 15:14-18 about how we glory in Christ Jesus because it is he who is working through us to prepare a people who are holy and obedient. This has been a wonderful reminder of how God is all powerful and is at work in all things. He is greater than we can ever comprehend and is worthy of all glory and honour.

Talua Open Day will be held this week so it is a busy time. On Friday and Saturday there will be a football and volleyball competition to raise money for Talua. This normally attracts quite a few people from the surrounding areas. Then on Sunday there will be a music festival with lots of different styles of music, centred around a Christian theme. The students are spending all of their free time this week getting organised.

Mentoring went well last Friday night. Glen read through Ephesians 2:1-10 with the men. When they were asked what they would say if they died and were standing before God and whether they thought that he would accept them, most of them were very uncertain. The answer most gave was that God knows how they have lived their lives, including both the good and bad things, and that he is the one who will make the decision based on that. They couldn't really be sure what he would say. One of them talked about how he believes in Christ and Christ has taken away his sin. We are finding this to be a big issue, probably like it is in most places in the world! People find it hard to understand and accept God's grace or that our salvation is secured by the work of Christ rather than by our own works. Please continue to pray that students at Talua would clearly understand the Good News of Jesus Christ so that they can proclaim it faithfully throughout Vanuatu.

Rachael met with five of the women on Saturday night, mostly wives of diploma 1 students. (This is a different group to the women she met with last time because a change has been made.) They were all very keen to talk about things and were more open than she has previously experienced. It was very encouraging for her and she will try to meet with the women individually, but will wait until after open day when they have some free time again. In class next week we'll be talking about King Solomon and how although he was the son of David and the King who ruled wisely, in the end he turned from God. We'll see how Jesus is wiser and greater King, the son of David who rules forever.

Yours in Christ,
Glen and Rachael Connor

P.S. The phones have been down for a few days so you may receive this email late. We are also sorry that we have not been very quick in replying to your emails. We are finding it difficult with the poor internet access. We receive no emails for a long time, and then suddenly the inbox has a huge number of unread emails that take us days to get through.

• Praise and glorify God for his greatness, and for the work that he has done through us (i.e. through all of you there and all of us here) to make his Son known and to create a holy and obedient people.
• Pray that God would use open day to spread the knowledge of Christ in the areas around Talua, through the words and actions of the Talua staff.
• Pray that God would give the students a deep understanding of the love and mercy and grace of God, and that they would depend fully on Christ for their salvation. Pray that God would give Glen further opportunities to talk through this issue with the students.
• Pray for the women Rachael will meet with; Julie, Susan, Esther, Kajiri and Delly.
• Pray for the preparations for the degree program next year. Andy Williamson is doing most of this work and is finding it quite demanding. Over the next few months we are trying to finalise staff allocations and subject outlines, order books, make sure the right people are encouraged to apply, etc etc. Glen will probably teach some subjects in this program next year but details are still being finalised.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Visit from Glen's parents


We are all well. The phone is still not connected and our email is fairly irregular, so sorry that we are not able to reply quickly to your emails.

We had a very enjoyable week with Glen's parents. It is over a year since we last saw each other and there was a lot of catching up to do. Glen's father returned to Australia today and his mother will stay for two more weeks.

Prayer Points
• Matthew has picked up a cold or something. He is having trouble feeding and sleeping and his temperature is up. Please pray that he will recover quickly and that Rachael will continue to get enough sleep. It is very helpful having Glen's mother here at this time.

• Please continue to pray for the six students Glen is mentoring, especially John, Jilivi, Songie and Kasai with whom Glen meets weekly. This week all six students will meet with Glen on Friday night and we will be discussing God's grace together. Please pray for the students to grasp more fully God's kindness to us in Christ, and to understand what it means for salvation to be based on the work of Christ by faith rather than our work. These are very difficult concepts to fully grasp. Pray also that the students would have assurance of God's forgiveness and deep joy.

• Glen is teaching Revelation to the second year certificate students. There are only two of them, so it has been a good chance to sit down and look carefully at the Bible together. Please pray that God would give us understanding of this difficult book and that we would be encouraged as we see more clearly the glory of the risen Christ and the work that he has done, is doing and will do in our world.

Thank you for your prayers, and thank you also to those of you who have sent us your prayer points.

Yours in Christ,
Glen, Rachael, Sophie, Bethany and Matthew Connor

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sophie's friend Steve is sick : (


God continues to bless us in many ways and things are going well overall. Classes are going well, and we finally have everything organised in the house.

This week Glen's parents will be staying with us. We haven't seen them for over a year so it will be good to spend some time together. Glen's father is not a Christian and so it will also be a difficult week for him as almost every activity at Talua is focused on God in some way.

Glen is really enjoying his 1st year diploma class. They are a very keen class who ask lots of questions and think carefully about what they are learning. This week we will begin looking at God's character, mainly by reading lots and lots of different stories and teachings from the Bible which are grouped together according to what they teach us about God. I am hoping we can see what God is like from all the things he has said and done, rather than looking at more abstract statements of the attributes of God.

In the Certificate class we finish off Hebrews and begin the book of Revelation, which will be quite a challenge. As there are only two students in this class, we are going to begin by just sitting down together and talking together about what the Bible says. I'll see how it goes this week before I decide how to continue.

The next door neighbour Steve has been in hospital over the last week with some sort of liver trouble. (Steve is the son of the secretary and the brother of Joshua, Bethany's little friend. Steve is a good friend of Sophie's and has lunch at our house most days.)

Please pray
• with thanks that God is protecting and providing for us.
• that Glen's parents would have a good week with us, and that God would use this week to show Glen's dad more of the reality of Christ so that he will come to repentance and faith.
• That students will enjoy studying the Bible, that they will learn a lot more about who God is and what he has done, and that these things will touch their hearts in a way that brings joy and obedience and willing service and godliness etc in their lives.
• For healing is Steve's body and that the doctors would make the right decisions about his treatment.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

More about our classes and mentoring

Hello everyone,

It has been a good week. No big dramas and we are enjoying our work here. I'll go straight to the prayer points.
The prayer points are fairly long, but they will get shorter each week because we will only need to add new information instead of explaining everything.

• In knowledge of God we will continue to look at why we believe that the Bible is God's Word. Please pray that the students would believe this in a way that means they want to read and learn the Bible and base the whole of their lives upon what it says.

• In Pentateuch we are up to the promises to Abraham. Many of the students struggle with how the Old Testament fits with Jesus and the New Testament. Pray that reading Genesis would help them see more clearly how Christ fulfils the OT promises. Pray that they would see the importance of trusting in God's promises, no matter what obstacles or difficulties they may face in their lives which make the promises look impossible.

• Most of the Diploma 2 students are keen to meet each week, and I am very thankful for that. I suggested different ideas of what we could do together and let them choose. I will be meeting with Jilivi and John (separately) to show them how to write Bible Studies. Please pray that together we would be able to work out helpful ways to write Bible studies that will be helpful for people in villages in Vanuatu where many people are illiterate. Someone who is illiterate can hear and think about the Bible and discuss it with other Christians, but the skills and methods in leading something like this are different to what we normally expect of Bible Study leaders in Australia.

• I was rostered on to lead devotions last Thursday, on Romans 8:14-17. It is wonderful passage about how God has put his Spirit in us and made us his children. Give thanks that I was able to prepare it in Bislama. I have always struggled to do this, but am now beginning to find it easier. Pray also that the students would think about the wonderful privilege it is to be children of God.

• Rachael is enjoying here Monday morning OT overview class, but finding it very hard because the women are very quiet in class. She has spoken to other lecturers and it seems that this is true in their classes too, but it makes it difficult to know how much they are following of her Bislama. Please pray that Rachael would be able to teach clearly and that the women would be able to understand. Pray also that they women would have confidence to speak with Rachael about what they are learning, both for their sake and to give Rachael feedback.

• Rachael will be looking after some of the women this year. She met with them formally last Saturday, but only one of the five came, possibly because of a mix up. Pray that Rachael would be able to catch up with these women individually before the next meeting at the end of this month, and that they would have helpful conversations. The women are often quite shy around staff, especially expatriates, so please pray that they would be able to talk openly with Rachael.

Sophie, Bethany & Matthew
• Each Wednesday is "Kids Prayer Warriors" when the children spend about an hour singing and praying. We give thanks that Sophie is absolutely loving this.
• We always appreciate prayer for good health for the children, and that they will grow up to know and love our Saviour!

• Give thanks that Sheila has returned to College and is well, and that Jon Parkes ulcer is now healing well.

Yours in Christ,
Glen and Rachael

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Our classes this term


Things continue to go well for us and we are finding everything much more manageable than last year. Glen has still not had to attend any meetings, which is totally different to last year and gives a lot more time for other things. The girls both had a cold this week and woke up a lot in the night with coughing and blocked noses, but we found it okay because we aren't stressed and tired. Overall, we have a lot to give thanks for in our new situation.

Some things to pray for over the next week:

• Friday 25th May we meet (met) with the six students we will be pastorally responsible for. Glen would then like to meet with each of them individually next week to get to know them a little better and to organise what they will do together through the term. Please pray that this would all happen with no hindrances and that Glen would be able to discuss with each student what would be helpful to do together through the term. (Glen has plans and ideas, but would like to discuss it with the students and work out what is most helpful for each because they will all be from different backgrounds and at different stages in their Christian lives.)

• Glen is teaching Knowledge of God and Pentateuch to Diploma 1 students and so he has 8 hours each week of face to face time. It gives time for a lot of very good discussion. One issue which came up last week was whether we can be saved through looking at creation alone, or whether we need Christ to be saved. This is a difficult issue because the students' recent ancestors are in this situation, and maybe even their own village or nearby villages. We had some really helpful discussion about the Bible's teaching. Please pray that the students will think through the implications of the seriousness of human sin and what it means for salvation to come only through Christ, and that this would give them a zeal to take the good news of Jesus Christ to those in Vanuatu who have still never heard.

• Over the next two weeks in Knowledge of God we will be looking at why we believe the Bible is God's Word and what this means. Please pray that the students would have a trust in God's Word such that they want to read it and base their lives on it.

• Next Monday in her "Women in the Old Testament (OT overview)" course, Rachael will be teaching the women about Eve. Pray that they would have a good discussion about womanhood and about the nature of sin. Please also pray that Rachael would communicate effectively, especially with women who have had a very low level of education.

Thank you again for your prayers,
Glen and Rachael

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ready for start of term

We are all ready for the start of term tomorrow morning. Please pray for us both as we teach, particularly Rachael who will be teaching in Bislama. Glen is really looking forward to his classes this term. For the first few weeks he will be teaching Genesis to Diploma 1, the authority of the Bible to diploma 1, and the book of Hebrews to Certificate 2.

The girls have both had quite bad flu this week and Sophie has a painful ear infection. Please pray that they would recover quickly and that they would sleep well despite being sick.

We are very thankful that Matthew has been sleeping very well. The heat and humidity do not seem to be causing him any discomfort.

Jon Parkes returned today and his tropical ulcer has begun to heal. It will take a long time, but the doctors are happy that healing has begun and it is heading in the right direction.

Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers,
Yours in Christ,
Glen, Rachael, Sophie, Bethany and Matthew Connor

P.S. A short word of explanation...
While back in Australia we were encouraged and challenged that many people have been praying for us every week. We decided that we should make more effort to send weekly prayer points to help people in their prayers and so that people can see how God is answering their prayer. We will explain this in the next toktok, but we decided to start the weekly prayer points straight away and send them to family and friends we know have been praying for us regularly.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Arrived Safely

Hello everyone,

We have arrived safely at Talua and are settling in well so far. The house is set up now, and we have a small solar panel and battery which gives us a little power during the day. We are very content in our new place. We are also both glad that our Bislama (language) is not too bad after the four months away.

This week will be a mixture of preparing classes for the start of term next monday, talking with students and staff, and a little more work on the house such as fixing the 12V lights, repairing flyscreens to keep out the mosquitoes, and setting up the vegetable garden.

Our health has been fine so far, but I guess one week is not very long! Sophie and Bethany have minor heat rash, which has sores from where they have scratched it. Bethany also has worms. But you expect things like these and they are very minor really. Matthew has started to settle into his new situation and is now sleeping a lot better than when we first arrived. We give thanks to God for this because it makes a big difference to how we feel about life generally. Tiredness has a very big impact on emotional levels!

Jon Parkes, the English teacher and bursar from NZ, has a tropical ulcer on his foot which is quite serious. He is in NZ for three weeks to get it checked and help it to recover. The healing process will probably take months. His return to NZ is also difficult for his family who are still at Talua. Jon has been very busy and now, when they have finally reached the holidays, he has had to spend the time away from his family.
A diploma 2 student named Sheila has had serious stomach pains and has gone to hospital in Vila.
We would appreciate prayer for these two people.

We will try to email weekly but it will be a little uncertain until the phone is connected probably late in May or early in June.

Thank you for your ongoing thoughts and prayers,
Yours in Christ,
Glen and Rachael Connor

Summary of prayer points:
• Give thanks that we arrived safely and that setting up went well.
• Give thanks that our language is going well, and pray that we will continue to improve in our grasp of the language and culture so that we will be better able to help and encourage people here.
• Continue to pray for Glen as he prepares to teach Pentateuch, Hebrews-Revelation, and a doctrine course on the knowledge of God.
• Continue to pray for Rachael as she prepares to teach an Old Testament overview in the Women's Program beginning next week.
• Give thanks for our good health, and pray that this would continue.
• Pray for healing for Jon Parkes and for Sheila. Pray for Jon's wife Vivienne and the children who are at Talua for three weeks without Jon.