Love in Action Heals Age Old Rift in Vanuatu

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gw_ag_vanuatu207-editThe Sa People of Pentecost Island are seeing the Gospel in action.

70-Year-Old Feud Thwarts Gospel Message
On the island of Pentecost, missionary Bryan and the national pastors prepare for an HCM team to arrive. They will hold medical clinics in villages throughout the island. Bryan hopes this expression of concern for the people’s physical well-being will help him build in-roads with the Sa tribes. Bryan knows from experience that putting the Gospel into action can reveal love in a way nothing else can.

Bryan knows the team will need divine favor. Nearly 70 years ago, Sa residents of the Ranwas village abandoned Kustom to follow Jesus. The other Sa villages held on to their established beliefs. A rift developed between followers of the two religions that has only grown wider over the years. Today, most islanders view Christianity with suspicion and distrust.

Now Bryan and the HCM team are determined to bridge the gap between the Christians on Pentecost Island and those who follow Kustom. In a culture wary of outsiders, the prayer team believes in God’s power to break through spiritual resistance.

Bonlap Encounters Christ’s Compassion First-Hand
The HCM team treats many ill patients, pulls teeth and dispenses glasses at a clinic in Ranwas. The other villages, however, are unwilling to travel to this Christian village. Every day, the team hopes that villagers from Bonlap, a principal village of the Sa people on Pentecost Island, will come to them. A wooden drum announces the clinic’s opening each morning. Twice, runners travel to Bonlap to invite residents to come receive medical care. No one comes.

After a week of waiting, Bryan asks for volunteers to make the journey to Bonlap. Dr. Rick Honderick and nurse Silvia Cale step up. In Bonlap, the whole village turns out to watch. Young girls, mothers holding babies, curious boys, men and chiefs stare openly as Dr. Rick gently cuts away the dead tissue from a petite old woman’s wound. The third degree burns that cover her leg from knee to ankle cause her severe pain. As the people witness the small team’s genuine concern, they allow them to treat their injuries and care for their sick.

With God… It’s Only the Beginning
Over the two weeks, the team cares for over 500 Sa patients across the island and high in the mountains. Over 200 Sa pray to invite Jesus to be their Savior. Thanks to Light for the Lost, each of them receives an audio Bible in their own language. Bryan’s prayer is that this group of 200 new believers will result in several village church plants in the Sa region of Pentecost. And, even now, God is at work answering.

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