A news update from Br. Ben Thiel, secretary for Pacific Region.
As I’ve been in contact with the brethren from different countries across the Pacific recently, it has been encouraging to hear that during this time, where it’s difficult to move about, that people are keeping in contact and supporting each other, with prayer, through phone calls, and also that fellowship and meetings are still happening via various multimedia options—both the Sabbath schools, divine services, young people’s meetings and prayer meetings. It is wonderful that you are managing to keep in touch and support each other.
This time in the world is a time where we should be examining our own hearts, and preparing for the second coming of Jesus. These things show that His coming is getting nearer and nearer, and the gospel needs to go out to all the world.
As you may have heard, Cyclone Harold started in the South Pacific recently, and first hit Solomon Islands, and caused a lot of devastation, particularly with ground crops. The brethren there are subsistence farmers, and they now won’t have much food. Help has now been given, and we thank all who have given and made it possible to support these families. Our brethren there have been busy giving out food and supplies, and helping the community.
Cyclone Harold continued and intensified from Solomon Islands. By the time it reached Vanuatu, it turned into a Category 5 storm. This particularly affected the northern islands of Vanuatu, and the little island of Santo. We have brethren there in four churches. The brethren have lost their homes on Santo, and we really thank God that nobody was hurt, and everyone is fine. It was God’s hand over them.
In some cases—in the case of our field leader for Vanuatu Mission—he and his family and 21 people, ran out from their homes when they blew out in the wind, and some of them tried to shelter under a shipping container. The shipping container started to lift in the wind, so they ran under a type of fig tree with large roots, and they managed to hide down in those roots, and stayed there for many hours, getting very wet, until the storm passed through. Thank God they were all safe. One other brother’s house blew away, and he managed to survive by going into a little bush material building, and was safe.
Our brethren have many amazing survival stories from this time, but most of them have lost their homes. They have some food from root crops to keep them going for a little while, but they need our help to rebuild and get on with their lives.
The coronavirus has closed down the transportation in the country, but thankfully now that is open, and the brethren from Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, are making arrangements to fly there to further assess the damage with the houses, and to get more food supplies there.
After leaving Vanuatu, Cyclone Harold also hit Fiji and caused flooding and some strong with, but thankfully our brethren there are ok. We have some interest in Tonga; it was affected with flooding as well.
We thank the Lord that He preserved the lives of the brethren there in Vanuatu, in Santo and Malakula. They need our help. If any of you are able to support through your prayers and your offerings, please do so.
Let us keep each other in prayer in this time, not just in the islands, but everywhere throughout the Pacific, as this is a time that we “see the day approaching.” We see that Jesus is coming, and as the wonderful song says, “Let us watch and be ready,” for “He will come.”
These are just little things that show us that His coming is nearer. Let us look for and hasten that day by preparing our own characters, by helping mankind around us, and remembering in our prayers. May the Lord bless each one of you.