The Santo assembly had begun preparations for the rally early in the year. They had built accommodation for the visiting Ni-Van brothers and sisters, a kitchen, eatery area, stage and erected a marquee. The church hall was turned into sleeping quarters for the brethren. The church grounds looked impressive with a big welcome banner mounted on the stage.
On Sunday evening the Santo fellowship sang us a welcome song and gave each of us a flower necklace, or in Bislama, a ‘salu salu’. The Santo saints made us feel so welcome. The theme for the rally was “Proclaiming the year of salvation”.
A couple of days before the rally the saints headed into the marketplace inviting people to the rally in Unity Park. The saints sang choruses, shared testimonies and prayed with anyone wanting prayer.
One of the highlights of the rally was the procession of the saints walking down the main road, each assembly held a banner with bible verses, singing choruses as they marched along. It was a joyful time as we walked into the park and then began the rally.
The 3 day rally was a huge success, there was group singing, sharing of testimonies, powerful preaching from the word of God and a prayer line with 28 people being baptised. There was a wedding on Saturday. Our brother Patrick and sister Claudia from the Port Vila fellowship tied the knot. It was a lovely ceremony. Pastor Willie married them and Pastor Bob prayed a blessing over them.
Another highlight of the trip was when the pastors from Australia, Tanna, Santo, Malekula and Port Vila were each presented with a hand made wooden pulpit, with the theme of the rally and bible verses painted on it: Isaiah 61:1-2, Luke 4:18, John 3:3-5 and Acts 2:38. The wooden pulpit will be a constant reminder that God’s word is powerful and life changing! The Santo fellowship wrote a farewell song and sang it to us. It was a beautiful song and the words touched our hearts – it was hard to hold back the tears.
On Monday the Aussie and Ni-Van saints went to Champagne Beach for the day and one of the Blue Holes in the afternoon. Champagne Beach ticks all the boxes for weather, clean refreshing water, snorkelling, white, soft sand and a delicious fellowship lunch. It was a fun day. The kids splashed around, played soccer, volleyball and there was a relay race between the Aussies and the Ni-Vans. (I think our Ni-Van brethren won!)
On our way home we stopped off at the Blue Hole, a fresh water hole that is coloured blue – so fresh and cold. The saints didn’t waste anytime is swinging off the tree rope and splashing into the water below!
Strong bonds and friendships were formed over the 12 days we were there among the brethren. There was joy seeing new souls come to the Lord and excitement watching the fellowship grow and grow. It’s great to see the brethren still walking on and seeing the strength in the leadership of the church. It makes me thankful to God and Jesus. It’s an honour and blessing being part of this great work thats happening in the South Pacific.
By Jenny Trad (Central Coast)