Mission: Vanuatu 2016
The South Pacific nation of Vanuatu (formerly “New Hebrides”) gained independence from Britain and France in 1980. It is made up of some 83 islands, approximately 1200 miles east of Australia’s northern tip. Its closest neighbors are New Caledonia to the southwest and Fiji Islands to the northeast. While approximately 60 islands are inhabited, the majority of the archipelago’s 250,000 people live on the 12 largest islands.
The standard of living in Vanuata is quite diverse, with the capital city of Port Vila offering a fairly modern lifestyle, whereas the great majority of outer-island inhabitants engage in subsistence farming, build primarily with local materials such as bamboo and thatch, and have no running water or electricity. Tourism is the primary source of revenue, followed by agricultural exports including beef, coffee, cacao, copra and kava.
Mission Vanuatu began in 2005, after two survey trips, when the original mission team of five adults moved to the main island, Efate, and spent six years working with four churches there. Eric and Shawnda Brandell, part of the original team, are still leading the missionary effort and plan to continue there until 2025, when they hope to have led this effort for 20 years.
USA Contact Info: Perkins Church of Christ, Perkins, OK 74059, office phone 405-547-5393, www.missionvanuatu.com.