February 2011 Mission Update
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Blessings on you in 2011. May you be encouraged that God is faithful and has great things in store for those who daily seek His will for their lives.
As 2011 unfolded we found ourselves adjusting to the cold, snowy Canadian winter after being in 35 degrees for 6 weeks prior.
We (Dave & Abby) left for Vanuatu & Solomon Islands on October 31, 2010 full of anticipation of what God was planning for Mission #8. The mission began in Vanuatu, with Bible distribution, showing the Jesus film, ministering in the prisons and encouraging the sick in the hospital. God did a lot in 2 weeks in Vanuatu. Over and over it seemed that God was saying that one of our roles this trip was to equip other believers as they go out. We even met up with a wonderful missionary couple from Romania who were asking for Bibles to take out to the bush people in a remote area of Santo. Our paths also crossed with another missionary going to remote parts of Tanna; we gave her Bibles too.
Our Bible distribution also included a very poor ‘settlement’ outside of Port Vila (the capital city of Vanuatu). We then showed the Jesus film in a high school where12 students received the Lord as their Saviour; they all received a Bible. The prisoners in the high risk prison, who had never had visitors, were so greatful for a personal copy of God’s Word. There were three or four prisoners in each container and we went into each one, giving them a Bible, words of encouragement and some even needed a hug. When we left they sang, “We give all the glory to Jesus” in perfect harmony. In the hospital we distributed Bislama Bibles to all the patients and nurses. Some said that now many would be healed as their spirits had been lifted up.
On November 16th, 2010 we were off to the Solomon Islands, just north of Vanuatu. It was only the day after arriving that Dave boarded a cargo ship on his way to the Koio people living in the mountains of Malaita. The voyage seemed even longer than 21 hours as the only bed was the hard iron deck. When it started to rain the captain took pity on the only white man aboard and invited Dave into his cabin. There he got a few winks until a cockroach woke him up, trying to crawl into his ear.
After trading in the big cargo ship for a small open boat, the distribution began. First at Olumburi, then on to Sinaragu. The little boat made it’s way up the river and then the team hiked up the slippery jungle trails into a mountain valley, distributing Bibles along the way. The guide was quick to point out the poisonous snakes and centipedes that everyone must be on the lookout for. The group was tired after arriving back at base camp and the bed provided looked so inviting, rather than set up his jungle hammock. The next morning Dave wished he’d slept in his hammock as he was covered in flea bites. Within a day they had got big and infected. He tried everything to relieve the itch, slapping anything he could find on the bites; toothpaste, shampoo, soap, anti fungal cream, etc. But, of course, nothing worked. Luckily, Dave had got word that a boat was leaving for Atoifi hospital, God had answered his prayers and provided a way out.
On the boat he met a man named John who introduced himself as a teacher and said he lived in a remote village where they really needed Bibles. Dave gave him some and then asked John if he was a Christian. He answered, ‘not really, but now that I have a Bible I have the faith to become a Christian and I want to become a Christian right now.’ As Dave was explaining the way of salvation to this man, suddenly the weather turned very bad and a big storm was on them. The wind howled and the rain came in torrents, the waves got worse with the bow of the boat even going under the waves a few times. Dave hardly noticed the storm as he and John talked about God’s love for him and how God sent His only Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for John’s sins. John received the Lord as his personal Saviour right in the middle of that storm. Dave told John, ‘If you die you will go to heaven and be with Jesus’. This boat was like all the others, it had no life jackets.
After arriving at Atoifi hospital, Dave received an injection for his bites and the kind doctor (from Peru) invited Dave to stay at his guest house to recooperate. When Dr. Elmer heard that Dave had the Jesus film in Pijin with him, he did a little jump and explained how he had been praying for a copy. That day a new friendship was born. The next day the team gave out 160 Pijin Bibles to everyone in the hospital and surrounding area. God can even use fleas to bring about His plan and bring glory to Him.
We also went to other hospitals and prisons in the Solomons sharing with each one the Good News of God’s Word. Another place was to a group of people who live on a remote island and worship a man whom they call ‘Spiritual Authority’. These people were happy to receive 112 Bibles and we pray their lives will change and they too will believe that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Altogether we were able to reach a few thousand people during this Mission, in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. We distributed 1,235 printed Bibles and 160 Proclaimer (audio) Bibles. We also showed the Jesus film many times along the way. The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. Jesus said, “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers”.
We thank God for all of your support for though we are going, your gifts make it possible for us to equip others with the Word of God. May His Spirit comfort and guide you in 2011 and may His will be done in all of our lives.
Sincerely with love & gratitude,
Dave & Abby Dever
PS: Please pray for this upcoming year that we would hear God’s direction for every area of our lives.
This May 20, 2011 is 150 years since the Canadian martyrs, George & Ellen Gordon (from PEI) gave their lives for the Gospel on Erromango, Vanuatu. The leaders of Vanuatu have asked us to assist them in organizing a Commemoration Ceremony in May on Erromango.They have informed us that there is a great need for Bibles on Erromango and we are hoping to bless the people with many Bibles as the Lord directs and provides.