Vanuatu churches minister in aftermath of Cyclone Pam

Vanuatu, Asia-Pacific Region

In Vanuatu, the Church of the Nazarene has been working to meet needs following the devastation created by Cyclone Pam.

After the category 5 cyclone crashed into the island nation on March 13, local Nazarene churches and Nazarene missionaries immediately began to respond. There are officially eight Nazarene congregations and preaching points in the islands of Vanuatu. The missionaries and members are working to provide for immediate needs, including shelter, food, water, and other supplies, as well as helping to clear debris and start to rebuild homes.

Thousands of people lost their homes in the storm, and entire villages were blown away.

Meriam and David, co-pastors of a Nazarene church in the community of Vila North, lost their home, as did others in their community. 

"I thank God for prayers, and I have seen the hand of God's protection," Meriam said. "No matter which direction I turned, the wind was hitting us. … The first wall lifted. Then the next wall. Then the roof. … There was [only] one shelter that didn't get blown away. Our house was strong but it got blown away."

Meriam, David, and their children survived by running to a nearby cave for shelter.

"We thank everyone for your prayers," Meriam said. "I have seen the power of God. I wasn't sure how I would get the yard cleaned of fallen limbs. This week some boys from Ohlen came and helped clean the yard, then the small congregation from Vila North came today to do some more work. I just thank the Lord for the local church. … I knew that we couldn't do it alone. But God has provided."

In Prima, a man named Jimmy from a Nazarene church plant shared that most of the structures in his community were not strong enough to withstand the winds, including his own home and the building where their congregation had been meeting.

During the storm, Jimmy helped several children find shelter in a nearby concrete building. After the storm passed, the church helped with clean-up and shared some rice, water, and tarps with other members of the community.

"The chief of the [Prima] village expressed his deep gratitude to God and to the church for the needed provisions that arrived at a key time in the life of his community," said John Watton, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries coordinator for the Asia-Pacific Region.

Jimmy and others from the church have also helped people restore the roofs on their homes.

"Our local church members have been involved in helping restore their own communities," Watton said. "[For example,] the people up at the Snake Hill preaching point sent a big sack of vegetables down to the people at the Prima church."

Nazarene churches and individuals from around the world have provided financial support to help the local churches in Vanuatu meet immediate needs in their communities.

Seul, another church leader in Vanuatu, said, "Thank you to the Church of the Nazarene, who have provided food and water in this disaster."

The church will continue to respond in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam through long-term rebuilding efforts.

"These are key times for the church to be the church," Watton said.

How to help

To support Nazarene disaster response efforts through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, you can give to the Asia-Pacific Disaster Relief Fund.

To send donations by mail, make checks payable to "General Treasurer" and send them to: 

Global Treasury Services
Church of the Nazarene
P.O. Box 843116
Kansas City, MO 64184-3116

Be sure to put ACM1200 in the Memo area.

In Canada, make checks payable to "Church of the Nazarene Canada" and send them to:

Church of the Nazarene Canada
20 Regan Road, Unit 9
Brampton, Ontario L7A 1C3

Be sure to put ACM1200 in the Memo area.
--Nazarene Compassionate Ministries

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