Vanuatu initiative shows a way forward to increase discipleship across the nation.
Evangelism training for young people all over the Vanuatu Mission ran through February and March 2020, kicking off in Port Vila before rolling out to Luganville, Gaua, Tanna, Ambae, and Malekula. More than 500 young people attended the program, run by training facilitators from the South Pacific Division, Trans-Pacific Union, and Vanuatu Mission.
Each participant received tools such as a World Changers Bible, a Discovery Bible Reading bookmark, a Tell Me More book, and the World Changers Bible Reading Guide.
“These are tools youths can use to build friendships and then give Bible studies. We challenged each person to find five people and use these tools with them in preparation for the July harvest program,” said Max Senebe, discipleship director in Vanuatu.
Vanuatu Mission president Nos Terry Mailalong spoke at the commencement and closing sessions in Port Vila.
“This year is special because it’s the final year of the quinquennium, and we will be using our young people in this Pacific-wide evangelism program,” he said.
Participants were sent by local churches and, after completing the training, expected to train others in their churches. Church ministers and adults also attended the programs.
A commissioning ceremony was held at the end of each training. A dedicatory prayer was given, asking for the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the young people to go out and be disciples, witnesses, and agents of positive change in their communities and villages.
Christopher and Tensly, two young people from Torres, a group of islands north of Vanuatu where there’s no Adventist presence, attended the training on Gaua. They joined other participants from islands in the region that already have an established Adventist presence, such as the islands of Gaua, Mota Lava, and Vanua Lava.
Over the years, combined programs for Torba would see hardly any representatives from Torres attending. Through the work of church planters, laypeople, volunteers, and church ministers, however, there’s now a congregation on Hiu island on Torres worshipping on Sabbath.
Currently, lay church member Mark Donald is in Torres with his family working with a small group of people who meet in his home every Sabbath to worship.
He has adopted two young people who are not Adventist, and he’s mentoring and giving them training and Bible studies.
Tensly, one of the young people adopted, will be attending laymen training on Aore from March to May 2020.
“We are planning to send five youth to attend layman training on Aore island as part of the preparation,” said Alon Ben Hiwa, Torba district ministries leader. “After the youth training, participants are determined to preach in July.”
Leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Pacific strategically planned that 2020 would be the young peoples’ turn to take the lead in evangelism. The 2019 focus was women in evangelism, and laypeople in 2018.
Similar training events have been conducted in other Pacific missions, regional church leaders said.
The original version of this story was posted on the Adventist Record news site.