Sunday, October 19, 2008

General prayer points

Glen is teaching through 1 Samuel this week, looking at the rise of
the Kingship in Israel. He wants students to understand what God is
teaching us in 1 Samuel, but also to become better at reading Old
Testament stories and applying them to us through Jesus. He is also
teaching Paul's second and third missionary journeys.

We are organising for about 6 people from Vanuatu to come to Australia
at the end of November to attend a conference called "South Pacific
Regional Training Event." This could be a great help and encouragement
to these people. Please pray for passports and visas to be given, the
remaining funds needed for the trip to be provided, smooth planning,
and that it would really help the people who go. You may be able to
meet some of these people during their stay!

We are also hoping that some people will visit Australia for a much
longer period during 2009 to help in their ministry training. Please
pray that this will be able to happen.

We had a very enjoyable visit from Glen's brother (Wayne) and two of
his children. He did a lot of electrical work and this has helped us
and the Williamson's greatly. We are very thankful for this.

We had our final mentoring night last Friday. The students have learnt
a lot through this year from our times together and from their
experiences on field. The new program has been a wonderful blessing to
the students and we are very thankful. It has also changed the way
they do their ministry as they are seeking to base what they do more
thoroughly on the Scriptures and to keep the good news of Jesus at the
centre of their ministry. This is wonderful to see!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ban Ban Again

We had a good weekend at Million Dollar Point (Ban Ban). Although the
church was locked and the problems have not been resolved, a sunday
service was organised in a house and quite a few people came. It was
an encouraging time together. We were also able to pray with different
people over the weekend. People rejoiced that the problems did not
stop us meeting together and that God is with us wherever we meet.

We will return again this weekend. As far as we know the issues are
still not resolved and we will probably meet in the house again. Glen
will preach on part of Ephesians 1. Please continue to pray for the
situation and for our work this weekend. Pastor Philip, the local
pastor, has returned from Assembly and will need to deal with the
issues. It is difficult for him because he is pastor of about 15
different congregations and his time is limited. Please pray for
wisdom for him!

Glen's brother Wayne has been with us over the last week, with his
sons Ben and Tim. It has been great spending time together and Wayne
has fixed a lot of electrical problems in our house and around Talua.
This is a real blessing!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Please pray for peace in many tense situations...

Thank you again for your prayers. Please continue to pray for our
daily lives and teaching here. There are also a number of significant
issues taking place all at once. Please remember the following matters
in your prayers.

We heard yesterday that there has been a lot of trouble at Ban Ban
over the last few days. Various leaders within the church are arguing
bitterly and openly. No church activities are going ahead and we heard
that someone stole the bell to stop church meetings. We may go to Ban
Ban this weekend. Glen will be preaching at Ban Ban either this
weekend or next weekend, or possibly both. Please pray for humility
and gentleness among those involved in the situation, for wisdom for
the leaders and others who are helping, and for a peaceful resolution.

One of the lecturers at Talua has a house and small store in town. We
heard this morning that these buildings were attacked and destroyed.
Please pray also for this situation and the lecturer concerned.

The Assembly of the Presbyterian Church began on Saturday and will go
for one week. There has been tension leading up to this Assembly
because it was postponed within a week of the scheduled starting date.
This caused a lot of inconvenience and financial burden to people.
Many pastors arrived yesterday (Monday) afternoon but were feeling
quite angry. Please pray that this will be dealt with in a helpful and
godly way and that there may also be peace in this situation. Please
pray that the Assembly will make wise decisions. (The Assembly will be
deciding whether to reappoint us and the Williamsons at Talua for

A new prime minister was appointed today. It is a very weak and
unstable coalition and, hence, the PM is only being appointed for one
year. Please pray for stability in the government here.

In all of this we want to trust in our good, loving and powerful God
who is working in all things, and we want to stay focused on
proclaiming Christ and applying the Gospel to these difficult
situations. These situations can only be resolved properly if people's
hearts are truly changed!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pray for Million Dollar Point

We have just finished the first week of classes. Glen is teaching Luke-
Acts and Joshua-1 Kings and is loving it so far. It is especially good
just reading the Bible with the students and helping them to
understand what it means.

Last night we met with the students we are mentoring to talk about the
next field experience weekend. A lot of our time was spent sharing
our thoughts and feelings about the church we are working with at
Million Dollar Point. We have now visited three times and it is clear
that the students are feeling disappointment with the situation. The
church is very weak with little ministry happening, and it is becoming
clear to us that the community has a lot of trouble and tension and
probably most people are not Christians.

This has been a huge realization for the students since Vanuatu is
considered a "Christian" country and normally people here just think
of everyone as Christian. The students are realizing that this is not
the case, and that most other villages are like Million Dollar Point.

We would really appreciate your prayer over these matters. Pray that
the students would see the situation in a way that is realistic and
like the way God sees it. Pray that their disappointment will turn to
prayer and desire to preach the Gospel and do all they can to see
people here saved. Pray that as we visit on 5th-7th September we will
be able to encourage the church leaders to carry out faithful ministry
and that we will have opportunities to share the Gospel with people in
the Village. Pray for Glen as he leads the Bible Study on Saturday
morning, John as he preaches on Sunday, the women as they lead a Bible
Study on Sunday afternoon, and all of the students as they do
visitation and talk with people over the whole weekend.

Glen will then travel to Australia on Sunday afternoon for one week to
attend a course on Acts. Pray that this will be a fruitful and
encouraging time and that it will help him to teach well when he
returns to Talua. Pray for Rachael and the children as they remain at
Talua for the week.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Field Experience at Million Dollar Point

Field Experience will go ahead this weekend. Please pray that nothing
will hinder the trip!

On Saturday night Glen will lead a Bible Study on Hebrews 11. The
passage is a strong encouragement to trust that God will do what he
has promised, even though we don't see it yet with our eyes. On
Saturday morning Joel will preach on Luke 15, focusing especially on
the joy over sinners who repent. Do we have a love for sinners and joy
over their repentance like our heavenly father does? On Sunday
afternoon Rachael, Susan and Liness will lead a women's Bible study on
the death of Jesus in Mark's Gospel. At the same time the others will
do visitation around the community.

Please pray for all these activities over the next few days.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Field Experience cancelled

We are all much healthier now; thanks for your prayers. We have also been able to eat more meat/protein now that the fridge is working and we think this may be giving us more strength.  We certainly give thanks to God for the fridge!!!

Unfortunately on Thursday Talua decided to cancel field experience this weekend because exams are on during the next week. This sort of thing happens a lot over here. People do not plan ahead and tend to make a lot of last minute decisions, which makes good preparation difficult.  We have been here several years now and are more used to this, but we still find it frustrating.  

We want to teach the students to prepare well when they teach God's Word and so we had already met several times with the students in our group to prepare for the weekend. This means that the students shared our frustration and disappointment. It has helped them to see that the reason we plan ahead is so that we can prepare well, and that last minute changes create disappointment when preparation is done well.  So we can give thanks for the way God has taught and challenged us, even through the disappointment.

The students in our group have decided that they want to go next weekend when exams are over. This is also a great encouragement, as the initiative for this came from the students rather than us or the school.  Please pray for the students as they do exams this week, and then for our field experience group as we go out next weekend.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Preaching at Ban-Ban

We have reached the end of term 2 at Talua.  This coming week is revision week, and after that is exams, and then two weeks holidays.
Pray for the students as they revise their work.  Pray they are able to spend lots of time studying God's word and that he would open their eyes to many new things.  Pray that this study not be a burden, but that it would refresh and enliven them.  Pray for those who find exams difficult; that God would keep them calm and that they would continue to trust him through a difficult time.  Pray that all the students would not study just to pass exams but to know God better so they may love him more dearly and serve him more faithfully.

This coming weekend is another field experience weekend.  This time Lignes, Susan (wives of two of the students in Glen's group) and Rachael hope to be involved.  Glen will be preaching and leading a bible study, in order to help the students as they will be between revision and exams and to provide a model for them.  
Pray that Glen will prepare diligently and teach faithfully.  Pray that God would speak through him and work in mighty ways this weekend.  Pray that God would prepare the hearts and minds of the people at Ban-ban to hear and obey His word.  Pray for Lignes, Susan and Rachael as they begin work with the women at Ban-ban.

A bible study began during term 2 term for the women at Talua on a Sunday afternoon.  We finished reading through the book of James today and have found it very challenging.
Thank God for the core group of women who faithfully come each week; for Namlengi, Mercy, Cindy, Jenny and myself (all staff) and for the wives of students who have begun coming; Susan, Lignes, Colinette, Vejingo and Salome.  Please pray that we will remember what we learnt from James, particularly about taming the tongue, about living faith which produces good works and about persevering through suffering.

We've all had the flu for the past month and have had to take things slowly.
Please pray that God would provide healing at this time, particularly for Glen who will need to work hard on his preparation for this weekend and for Bethany who has really had a rough time and has often been awake coughing at night.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Some answers to prayer and great encouragements

We have had some great encouragements over the last couple of weeks and we will write some of these in our next toktok. Some students have organised to read the Bible and pray together and believe it is making a difference in their lives. One student told me he didn't grow much during his two years doing the Certificate Course, but that he has grown heaps over the last six months while in first year diploma. He said the difference is that he is reading and discussing the Bible with other students and he can see now how God changes people as they read his Word and pray. Students are also keen to help people in surrounding villages, and many have decided to run Bible studies on basic discipleship as part of their field experience. They are also trying to find ways to use Open Day this weekend as a way to encourage and teach people from the surrounding area.

Give thanks to God for the work he is doing here. Give thanks for students like Temar, Kalmara, John Maite and Matthew who are really keen for these things to happen. Please pray that the discipleship Bible studies will go ahead in many villages, and that people will come to know Christ or grow in their faith and obedience to him. Please pray that students will find ways to glorify God in the way that we run Open Day, and that people who come will learn more about Christ as well as having a good time.

We have also enjoyed having visitors recently including many who came for the opening of the new library, some friends from College, and Glen's mother. We always love having visitors and find it very encouraging and helpful!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thanksgiving for the field experience visits...

Some of the students spoke tonight about their time in the villages
over the weekend.

Bosco spoke about an old man in the village who began to cry during a
bible study and he cried and cried. It was a study on discipleship
and he was crying for his village who were not following Christ.
Bosco challenged the staff here at Talua to give their best as they
teach so that students can go out and give their best in the villages.

Then Manangis stood up. He was bouncing with joy as he spoke about
how they had seen God at work. In his village the people were hungry
for the word of God and begging the students to come more and more to
run bible studies for them. Manganis also said, 'please keep feeding
us so we can feed them.'

Temar, his smile spread across his face, and eyes shining, stood up
and simply thanked us (and you!) for praying for them. God, he said,
answered your prayers. Thank-you.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Glen leaves for Australia amid general family chaos


Give thanks with us for a wonderful term. The last few weeks went well and the students all seem satisfied with their growth through the term. The mission class was difficult, but by the end of the term some of them where getting pretty excited about the book of Exodus. Give thanks for all that has happened this term, and pray for the students as they begin exams on 28th April.

Before exams we have the week of Annual lectures, beginning tomorrow. Two speakers, Greg Anderson and Ma'afu Palu, will look at how to read and apply the Bible from within our particular context. Please pray that they will speak well and that it will encourage the students to read the Bible carefully and take it seriously in their lives and their ministry.

Glen will be away during this time because he is leaving today to go to Australia for two weeks to do a course at SMBC. Please pray for Rachael who will stay behind with the three children. Matthew had a vomiting bug on Friday night and Sophie had it last night so everyone is feeling a little tired. We also had a cyclone pass yesterday but it didn't end up hitting us. These things are all minor, but they make it hard for Glen to get on the plane and go. Please pray that God would give strength and good health to Rachael over the next two weeks, that the children will be cooperative, and that other people at Talua will help and support Rachael.

Lastly, Glen has been talking with an Elder from the church in town about working together on a book store in town. Please pray that God would provide a way for this to happen.

Thank you again for your prayers. We really appreciate them!

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

Monday, April 7, 2008

Upcoming visit to Australia


There are now two weeks of classes left. Please pray that students would work hard during this time and that what they learn will be helpful in their future ministry. Pray that God would calm those who are worried about exams or outstanding school fees.  Pray also that the students will grow not just in knowledge about God but in true knowledge of him and in holiness and desire to please him.

Glen will be in Australia for almost two weeks, beginning 20th April, and will need to finish marking and a lot of financial matters before he goes. Pray that this work would be completed and that he will also be able to spend good time with the family before he goes.

This week we will try to organise for students to visit the prison. Please pray that this ministry will be able to go ahead and will bear fruit. Pray that there will be no hindrances to this ministry or to mentoring.

Give thanks that Matthew is sleeping much better at night (except for last night!). We can always give thanks for continuing health and safety, the day to day growth of the students in knowledge and godliness, the encouraging sermons we have heard from students, their desire for evangelism, and many other things.

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

Monday, March 31, 2008

A busy time


Thank you for your prayers over the last few weeks. It has been a busy
time for us all.

The evangelism in town went very well. We had good conversations with
people and the students are keen to go back and do it again. Some of
us chatted with people in the main street, some went to the hospital,
and some went to the prison. The people in the prison are keen for us
to do regular Bible studies with them so we will try to organise for
this to happen.

Rachael and I are both thankful for the opportunities we had to
preach. Rachael preached in Bislama and the women found her words
biblical and helpful. The preaching conference in Vila also went very
well. A lot of people said they were challenged to study the Bible
more carefully and improve their preaching. They are also keen to
continue to meet together in smaller groups to work at preaching.
Please pray that this would go ahead and that God would raise up many
faithful preachers in Vanuatu.

There are three weeks to go in this term and the end of term weariness
begins to set in about now. Please pray that God would sustain us, the
other staff, and the students at Talua. Also, please pray for good
health as there are lots of mosquitoes around from heavy rain and
there have been a lot of cases of malaria at Talua over the last week.

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

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A busy and exciting Easter


There are quite a lot of important things happening over the next two
weeks and we would appreciate your prayer:

Sunday 16th - Rachael is preaching in the afternoon at the combined
women's service. There will probably be a few hundred women from the
local area at the service. The theme is "wisdom" and so Rachael will
speak about how true wisdom is found in Christ and the cross.

Monday 17th - Wednesday 19th - Student's will be cutting copra in the
afternoons after morning classes. This is tiring work and it will be a
difficult three days for the students. Other afternoon activities will
be cancelled.

Thursday 20th 5pm - The mission class will eat at our house and we
will re-enact the passover (as Glen is teaching them Exodus). When we
have done this in the past it has been a very special night for the

Thursday 20th & Saturday 22nd at night - Screening of a movie based on
Matthew's Gospel to help the students reflect on Easter. (All the
words in the movie are from the NIV text of Matthew's Gospel.)

Saturday 22nd 10am - About ten students and one or two staff members
will go to town to do evangelism. We will chat with people and try to
explain to them who Jesus is and what Easter is about. This is the
first time that most of the students have done something like this.
They are very keen!

Sunday 23rd - Glen will preach at Talua for Easter, probably on
Colossians 3:1-4.

Monday 24th - Friday 28th - A preaching conference will be held in
Vila. This is being organised by Ps Andrew Williamson and
representatives from Langham Literature will speak. About 100 pastors
and lay leaders from Vanuatu are attending, and it is hoped that this
conference will be a great encouragement and help to good biblical
preaching in Vanuatu. It is also hoped that smaller preaching clubs or
groups can begin after the conference.

Please remember us and the people of Vanuatu in your prayers over this
exciting and special time,

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

Prayer points beginning again


It feels like cheating to call this a weekly prayer update, but we
will try to send them more regularly again from now on! We settled in
quickly this year and are finding it much easier now as we are more
familiar with how things work in Vanuatu and our language has
developed. Talua has now had 4 weeks of lectures. Sophie has also
started school and is loving it, and Rachael is enjoying teaching.

There have been several difficulties we faced here over the last few

Two weeks ago there was a problem with work permits for Glen & Andrew
Williamson. The College didn't put in the necessary papers and has now
received a fine. It also meant we had to stop work for 3 days. We give
thanks that we are now working again, but it messed up lessons plans
quite a bit.

Last week the main issue at Talua was finances. The budget has a huge
shortfall (about 30%), but people here don't think about budgets or
take them seriously so no one saw the problems coming. But by the end
of February our accounts were all empty even though staff had been
unpaid all through the month. The Staff Council last week approved a
revised budget which drastically cuts spending. They also said that
money can only be spent if it is in the budget. This came mostly from
Glen as he is acting Bursar this year, but it is counter cultural and
will be hard to enforce in practice. Staff are all supportive, but it
is never easy to cut spending. The next few months will be very
difficult! We would appreciate your prayers concerning the financial
situation, but especially that we would be able to continue with our
work of teaching and training the students. (It is likely that there
will be many fundraising events and missed classes.)

Although I think Christians in wealthy nations have a huge obligation
to give to their poorer brothers and sisters, we are not in favour of
asking for funds to be given directly to Talua as there is not a
culture here of transparency or accountability in finances. Money in
institutions in Vanuatu often disappears and is spent poorly. But if
the College as a whole goes ahead over the next few months with the
decisions they have made then I think it would be good for wealthier
Christians to support the College so that staff and students can focus
on classes rather than on fundraising. We will keep you informed of
the situation.

Mentoring is going well and the students are keen to go out and do
ministry. We are inviting anyone at Talua to come to a meeting on
Thursday 13th March to discuss evangelism in town and pray together.
We will then do street evangelism in town on Easter Saturday 22nd
March. Please pray for this. It is a radical step for most students,
but there are big needs in town and many hungry people. We are also
planning on doing some work in a nearby village in April but this is
not definite yet. Please pray that these plans would go ahead.

Finally, please pray for the mission class. There are only six
students, but there is a big variation in their educational
backgrounds. One has finished high school, but another student has
never been to school and is virtually illiterate. Andrew and I are
both finding it a real challenge to teach the class. Please pray that
they will be able to understand what we teach and would learn and grow
through the classes.

Sorry that it has taken a while to get these emails going, and thank
you again for your prayers,

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

Monday, January 14, 2008

Return to Vanuatu


We have been a little quiet lately as we have just had one month rest
with our families in Australia for Christmas. Glen has now returned to
Vanuatu and Rachael will return with the family on 27th January.

Over the next three weeks Glen will mainly be working on College
finances and lesson preparation (when he finds out which classes he
will be teaching). Rachael will continue to spend time with her
parents, and the girls will go to swimming lessons.

We are still not sure which courses will go ahead this year. Please
pray for those who are making decisions. There are a lot of big
changes taking place.

Thanks again for your prayers, and we will try to give you more
guidance in your prayers as we learn more about what the year will
look like.

Yours in Christ,
Glen & Rachael and family