Welcome to our time of tea & reflection…Today we are traveling down memory lane…to the sunny tropics…
For this journey I have prepared a mango flavored iced tea with a plate of delicious Lamingtons…which are bite size cubes of sponge cake dipped in a chocolate glaze & then rolled in coconut, in keeping with our tropical theme.
Since my husband’s most unexpected emergency… I was asked by a new friend how we met each other. I believe we have quite a unique story…so I thought I would share this in our time of reflection…
Let me set the scene for you…
I had just completed 6 years of further education in Behavioral Science & with my final Thesis submitted I was looking forward to a little rest time…But God had other plans!
‘..I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare & not for calamity, to give you a future & a hope.’
Jeremiah 29: 11 Refer 2
It all began
With a friend’s request for assistance…She & her husband are founders of a Mission that have ongoing projects in many countries around the world.
This particular project was in Vanuatu. She needed assistance in setting up a Primary Health care clinic in a remote area on the Island of Tanna.
This trip would entail traveling to both the main Island of Efatè & then on to the Island of Tanna, with it’s active volcano, Mt. Yasa.
Really Lord, a trip to an island with an active volcano?
To hopefully liaise with several operatives including ni Vanuatu officials, local hospitals, church & village elders, gaining relevant permissions, complying with local governing authorities & setting up the clinic itself…
A small school had been established at the project, providing primary education for the children of surrounding villages, fulfilling the request of the village elders. A local Pastor & his wife, who was also the teacher, currently resided there.
I prayed for clear direction & provision for this adventure…I didn’t have the necessary funds for this trip as I had just finished studying. I kept this prayer request just between God & I…
A few days later…
I received a phone call from an old friend, who I hadn’t heard from in awhile. Her first question was to enquire what was happening in my world…because, she said, she felt God leading her to fully fund a mission trip for me!
I was truly humbled to such a quick & direct answer to prayer!
This was amazing, God was already working miracles for this trip!
It was arranged that I was to go ahead for several speaking engagements that had been arranged by my hosts. To share my unique experience…which you can also read Here.
The plans were that my friend would join me in Port Vila after four days, when we would begin meeting with the various agencies. However, regretfully she told me she had not been able to secure a meeting with the Ministry of Health at this time.
Once this was done, we would continue our journey to the Island of Tanna together.
As the aircraft left Sydney & climbed, one of the flight crew asked me if I would like to change seats, she had noticed the two young men sitting beside me, had boarded the aircraft intoxicated & were starting to misbehave.
His timing & appointment
I welcomed this offer, as the situation had become increasingly uncomfortable… However this would prove to be a God appointed seat allocation!
I was moved into First class…& you’ll never guess who I was seated next too…the Minister of Health for Vanuatu!
We had a lovely chat over the remaining time of the flight, he was extremely interested in the reason for my trip, by the end of the flight, we had his offer of support! Yes, definitely a God appointed meeting!
On arrival in Port Vila, I was warmly welcomed by my hosts & spent the next four days sharing my testimony with many on the Island of Efatè. Whom had graciously opened their homes in ni Vanuatu hospitality.
My friend arrived & mentioned that a construction team were now working at the project to build the accommodation for visiting voluntary workers.
The school building, clinic & a residence for the Pastor, his wife & family had now been completed by the previous construction teams.
With our meetings, permissions & compliance behind us, we flew into Lenekal, Tanna Island landing on a grass airstrip. The air terminal was a grass hut at the time! This was truly a unique adventure…
Traveling to the project
We were scheduled to travel to the project the following day after purchasing necessary supplies. The project was a further three & half hour trek by four wheel drive through the jungle.
However word came to us that the vehicle at the project had just suffered a mechanical break down & they had no way to come & collect us! So, once again we put it to prayer…after waiting another day in the Guest House…we had our ride!
Word had reached the Minister of Health back on the mainland… he directed his team on Tanna to pick us up in their new four wheel drive.
They graciously drove us through the jungle that night, finally arriving at the project in the wee hours of the morning!
We awoke to the most beautiful tropical paradise, set within a tiny ocean front cove, listening to the waves crashing on the beach below us…
And then at breakfast we met the members of the construction team. Whom over a delicious tropical breakfast, excitedly shared an adventure they’d had a few days earlier.
They had climbed to the top of Mt. Yasa, to the very edge of the crater, seeing & experiencing the mighty percussive power of this volcano, as it spewed lava missiles from its molten depths!
I thought this was absolute madness but these men seemed to have enjoyed the pure exhilaration of the adventure. One of the carpenters on the construction team, sharing his volcanic adventure, was Steve!
That’s how we met all those years ago…But that’s not the end of the story…a further 7 years would pass, before the first seed of romance was sown! Sprouting a deeper relationship from a valued friendship.
I hope you enjoyed the little peek into our story, seeing God’s amazing grace in action is always inspiring.
Until next time,
Jennifer is a published author, discover more in The Book Nook
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