In September, we had a conference with the other Bible translation families in Vanuatu in our organization. There's not many of us, but the time we had together was great fellowship, and nice catching up. We are expecting 3 new families to join us in the new year, and one family working on an active project is on extended home assignment, but for this conference, there were just 6 teams in-country, two of which work out of Vila, the capital city. This is a language map of the country and I've put navy blue X's on the languages with completed New Testaments. Current works are circled in red. (This is a high quality image so you can click on it and zoom in if you like. We're on the island in the upper center shaped like a Hershey Kiss/triangle.)
During the conference, we celebrated together some of the translation work that has been finished since our last conference two years ago. Pictured are Vanuatu leaders along with our organization leaders holding completed New Testaments and audio Scriptures.
Speed dating redefined (for non-dating groups of course...) :)
Word puzzle games:
And Taboo in Bislama (one of Vanuatu's national languages that all of our teams can speak).
One of the families that came for conference hadn't been at the previous one 2 years ago, and because we are so spread out across the islands of Vanuatu, we hadn't seen each other for nearly 3 years. Because we are all doing the same ministry, it was encouraging to catch up on what God is doing in each of their areas, and to reconnect again. We're pretty isolated from people of our own language and culture so it was a much-needed time out from our language groups.
Of course we also go to enjoy things the city (Vila, the capital city is about 20,000 people, so I say that loosely) provides, like grocery stores, driving a vehicle again, the doctor, and hot showers. And I got to see my friend Talita one last time before she heads out of Vanuatu the end of the year. This is her (far R) and her previous roommate, 'Ana, who has already left back to Tonga. I'm going to miss hanging out with them whenever we're in Vila!
I'm thankful for our Vanuatu crew and the work God has brought us to do in this tiny part of the Pacific. Thanks for praying with us for more workers and praise God for the new families coming next year!