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