2013/14 Mission Trip to Vanuatu


In light of preparing for my upcoming mission trip to Cambodia and the Philippines, I thought it was time to put pen to paper (keyboard to blog post) about my last trip to Pentecost Island, Vanuatu. I hope this gives y'all a little insight into mission work, and maybe even inspire somebody to take a step in the this direction, and bring glory to God's kingdom in the form of helping those who need it most.

I was encouraged to go on the trip by my dear friend Hannah, who was inspired, just as I was, by the few friends of ours who had also done similar trips and loved it- returning and sharing wonderful testimonies of their time away, clearly growing in their faith.  
Hannah- a constant friend, encourager,  supporter and source of laughter  
I was 16 at the time Hannah  I left our comfortable lives and joined a team of 20 or so other teenagers and leaders at 'bootcamp', where we spent 10 days preparing for our trip- learning how to lay bricks, write our testimonies, learn about God's word, build foundations and lug tree branches, while still in Australia.  
On the 25th of December (yes… Christmas day), our parents traveled 4 hours to say goodbye to us.
After a long sleepless night at the Brisbane Airport, we where on our first plane to a life changing chapter of our lives. 

First thing first- Vanuatu is an incredible place, if you ever have the chance to go please take it, I promise you will not regret your decision.

We arrived at the steamy airport of Port Villa (we where on the same plane as Cate Blanchett!), and traveled to our first accommodation, a local church/lawyer office's (yes- church/lawyer) in the popular mode of transport in the city, a colourful van packed with seats blaring reggae style music. 
The 2 days we spent in Port Villa where spent mostly soaking up the culture, visiting markets and spending time together as a team.

For reals though.. think sunsets over the warm ocean, coconuts everywhere, picturesque waterfalls, smiling kids, the best tasting pineapple and paw paw.
We stayed at a wonderful place called Noda Guest-house, from where we traveled to our worksite every morning at 7am.

The worksite was 20 mins walk away from Noda, which proved gruelling in the intense heat (at 7am..).

Our project was to erect a classroom at the local school- the building itself was made from concrete blocks which we spent 7 hours a day lugging around and laying with our hand mixed concrete.
Supplies where limited (we had EXACTLY enough cement to finish the building!), the heat was almost unbearable, the days were long and our head leader was hard and usually unfair, but these days (mostly made better by the gorgeous kids we hung out with at lunch break) where unforgettable and are greatly missed.
The Classroom
"To Mum, Dad and Tim,
… we arrived to Waterfall Village… It is so beautiful here, the beach is metres from our front gate, and its so clear and warm! This morning we went to church which was literally a minutes walk away, although it went for more than 3 hours!" 
-A letter I sent to my family when we first arrived!

A constant encouragement and reminder throughout my time on the field, and also from day to day is Colossians 3, especially verse 23 "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people".


My time in Vanuatu had a huge impact on my faith, with my half hearted faith being already challenged though witnessing miraculous healing before we had even left Australia. 
On the final night in Vanuatu, a spiritual attack came upon our team- something I had never expected or even really believed in.
This night had a huge effect on my faith today.. It was a HUGE affirmation of God's sovereignty and an amazing testimony to his greatness. 
In every group of people- whether it be school, work or even church, there are people who's personalities clash, tensions that run high and those who just do not get along..
Our group was no different.
I made some lifelong friends, people who I still talk to on a weekly or daily basis, and I think about everyday.
These people where the ones who encouraged me throughout my time in Vanuatu and today, and made an effort to build friendship- I miss them all dearly!

My time in Vanuatu was unforgettable and invaluable-  I was baptised in the months following, made some of the best friends ever, and even my parents and friends noticed a difference in my attitude and outlook in life.

I am SO happy and blessed to say I am going to Cambodia and the Philippines this year to do similar work, and I truly hope to do so much more in this wonderful world in my years to come.

Clare xx

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