Revival Meetings in Vanuatu
[See 20 minute video from Pentecost Island – Bible College and ocean baptisms at the High School]
The Lord moved in a surprising way at the Law School Christian Fellowship (CF) during 2002. The weekend following Easter, the CF held an outreach meeting on Saturday evening, April 6, on the lawn and steps of the university square. The grassy square faces the main lecture buildings, school administration and library. God moved on them in a strong way that night.
Romulo Nayacalevu, then President of the Christian Fellowship reported:
The speaker was the Upper Room Church pastor, Jotham Napat who is also the director of Meteorology here in Vanuatu. The night was filled with the awesome power of the Lord and we had the back up service of the Upper Room church ministry who provided music with their instruments. With our typical Pacific Island setting of bush and nature all around us, we had dances, drama, and testified in an open environment, letting the wind carry the message of salvation to the bushes and the darkened areas. That worked because most of those that came to the altar call were people hiding or listening in these areas. The Lord was on the road of destiny with many people that night.
Unusual lightning hovered around in the sky, and as soon as the prayer teams had finished praying with those who rushed forward at the altar call, then the tropical rain pelted down on that open field area. God poured out his Spirit on many lives that night, including Jerry Waqainabete and Simon Kofe, both dramatically changed.
Many of these people are now leaders in their various Pacific Islands nations, both in civic and church affairs. Some of them experienced powerful conversions that night. Many were filled with the Spirit and began to experience spiritual gifts in their lives in new ways. Some students who had been heavily involved in drinking and night clubs found new freedom and zeal for God and have become effective evangelists through their changed lives. Many of the law students attended the lively, Spirit-led Upper Room church in Port Vila, where pastors Joseph and Jotham and others encouraged and nurtured them.
Eleven of those students came to Brisbane, led by Romulo their President, and led by the Holy Spirit, far more importantly! They sang and spoke at dozens of meetings in dozens of churches and homes, and prayed for people constantly. They were familiar with pastors laying hands on people and praying for them, but now they were doing that also, and seeing God touch people in many ways.
The law students from the Christian Fellowship (CF) grew strong in faith. Jerry, one of the students from Fiji, returned home after the visit to Australia, and prayed for over 70 sick people in his village, seeing many miraculous healings. His transformed life challenged the village because he had been converted at CF at the law school after a very wild time as a youth in the village. The following year, 2003, Jerry led revival in his village. He prayed early every morning in the Methodist Church. Eventually some children and then some of the youth joined him early each morning. By 2004 he had 50 young people involved, evangelising, praying for the sick, casting out spirits, and encouraging revival.
Simon, returned to his island of Tuvalu, also transformed at university through CF. He witnessed daily to his relatives and friends all through the vacation in December-January, bringing many of them to the Lord. He led a team of youth involved in Youth Alive meetings, and prayed with the leaders each morning from 4 a.m. Simon became President of the Christian Fellowship at the Law School from October 2003 for a year.
In May 2003 I took a team from the CF to Pentecost Island in Vanuatu for a weekend of outreach meetings on South Pentecost. The national Vanuatu Churches of Christ Bible College, at Banmatmat, stands near the site of the first Christian martyrdom there.
Tomas Tumtum had been an indentured worker on cane farms in Queensland, Australia. Converted there, he returned around 1901 to his village on South Pentecost with a new young disciple from a neighbouring island. They arrived when the village was tabu (taboo) because a baby had died a few days earlier, so no one was allowed into the village. Ancient tradition dictated that anyone breaking tabu must be killed, so they were going to kill Tomas, but his friend Lulkon asked Tomas to tell them to kill him instead so that Tomas could evangelise his own people. Just before he was clubbed to death at a sacred mele palm tree, he read John 3:16, then closed his eyes and prayed for them. Tomas became a pioneer of the church in South Pentecost, establishing Churches of Christ there.
Hosted by Chief Willie Bebe, the CF team of six led meetings in Salap village each night Friday-Sunday and Sunday morning – in Bislama, the local Pidgin and in basic English. It was a kind of miracle. That village church sang revival choruses, but the surrounding villages still used hymns from mission days! The weekend brought new unity among the competing village churches. The Sunday night service went from 6-11 p.m., although we ‘closed’ it three times after 10 p.m., with a closing prayer, then later on a closing song, and then later on a closing announcement. People just kept singing and coming for prayer.
God opened a wide door on Pentecost Island (1 Cor 16:8-9). Another team of four students from the law school CF returned to South Pentecost in June 2003 for 12 days of meetings in villages. Again, the Spirit of God moved strongly. Leaders repented publicly of divisions and criticisms. Then youth began repenting of backsliding or unbelief. A great-grand-daughter of the pioneer Tomas Tumtum gave her life to God in the village near his grave at the Bible College.
We held rallies in four villages of South Pentecost each evening from 6 pm. for 12 days, with teaching sessions on the Holy Spirit held in the main village church of Salap each morning for a week. The team experienced a strong leading of the Spirit in the worship, drama, action songs with Pacific dance movements, and preaching and praying for people.
Mathias, a young man who repented deeply with over 15 minutes of tearful sobbing, is now the main worship leader in revival meetings. When he was leading and speaking at a revival meeting at the national Bible College, a huge supernatural fire blazed in the hills directly opposite the Bible College chapel in 2005, but no bush was burned.
Pentecost Bible College
By 2004, the Churches of Christ national Bible College at Banmatmat on Pentecost Island increasingly became a centre for revival. Pastor Lewis Wari and his wife Marilyn hosted these gatherings at the Bible College, and later on Lewis spoke at many island churches as the President of the Churches of Christ. Lewis had been a leader in strong revival movements on South Pentecost as a young pastor from 1988.
Our leaders’ seminars and youth conventions at the Bible College focused on revival. The college hosted regular courses and seminars on revival for a month at a time, each day beginning with prayer together from 6 a.m., and even earlier from 4.30 a.m. in the youth convention in December, 2004, as God’s Spirit moved on the youth leaders in that area.
Morning sessions continued from 8 a.m. to noon, with teaching and ministry. As the Spirit moved on the group, they continued to repent and seek God for further anointing and impartation of the Spirit in their lives. Afternoon sessions featured sharing and testimonies of what God is doing. Each evening became a revival meeting at the Bible College with worship, sharing, preaching, and powerful times of ministry to everyone seeking prayer.
Teams from the Bible College led revival meetings in village churches each weekend. Many of these went late as the Spirit moved on the people with deep repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness, and prayer for healing and empowering.
A law student team from Port Vila, led by Seini Puamau, Vice President of the CF, had a strong impact at the High School on South Pentecost Island with responses at all meetings. Most of the whole residential school of 300 responded for prayer at the final service on Sunday night 17 October, 2004, after a powerful testimony from Joanna Kenilorea. The High School principal, Silas Buli, has prayed for years from 4 a.m. each morning for the school and the nation, alone or with some of his staff.
The church arranged for more revival teaching at their national Bible College for two weeks to over two dozen church leaders. On the weekend in the middle of that course, teams from the college held mission meetings simultaneously in seven different villages. Every village saw strong responses, including a team that held their meeting in the chief’s meeting house of their village, and the first to respond was a fellow from the ‘custom’ traditional heathen village called Bunlap.
Through 2004-2005 we held many revival leadership meetings at the Bible College, usually in my vacations from college in Brisbane. Don and Helen Hill from the Renewal Fellowship in Brisbane joined me there for some visits. They provided needed portable generators and lawn mowers, and Don repaired the electrical wiring and installations at the Bible College. Helen recorded my teaching sessions, now available on DVD. Friends around the world, such as in Kenya, Nepal and the Pacific, have used those DVDs for their leadership training.
Those Bible College sessions seemed like preparation for revival. Every session led into ministry. Repentance went deep. Prayer began early in the mornings, and went late into the nights.
Chief Willie asked for a team to come to pray over his home and tourist bungalows. Infestation by magic concerned him. So a prophetic and deliverance team of leaders at the Bible College of about six people prayed there. Mathias reported that they located witchcraft items in the ground, removed them and claimed the power of Jesus’ blood to cleanse and heal the land.
Village evangelism teams from South Pentecost continue to witness in the villages, and visit other islands. Six people from these teams came to Brisbane and were then part of 15 from Pentecost Island on mission in the Solomon Islands in 2006.
Pentecost on Pentecost
Grant Shaw joined me on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu in September-October 2006. Grant grew up with missionary parents, saw many persecutions and miracles, and had his dad recounting miraculous answers to prayer as a daily routine. They often needed to pray for miracles, and miracles happened. From 14 years old Grant participated in mission teams travelling internationally in Asia. Then he attended a youth camp at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship which had revival from 1994. He then worked there as an associate youth pastor for 18 months before studying at Bible College in Brisbane. So he is used to revival – all his life! In Vanuatu he received clear words of knowledge, and saw people healed daily in Port Vila and on Pentecost Island both in meetings and in the villages. That inspired and challenged everyone.
We attended the afternoon service at Upper Room church in Port Vila. That night the senior pastors were in Tanna Island on mission and the remaining leaders were so glad God had sent us to preach that night! Great warning! It was fantastic. Worship was strong.
Raised from the dead
At sharing time in the Upper Room service Leah Waqa, a nurse, told how she had been on duty that week when parents brought in their young daughter who had been badly hit in a car accident, and showed no signs of life – the monitor registered zero – no pulse. Leah felt unusual boldness, so commanded the girl to live, and prayed for her for an hour, mostly in tongues. After an hour the monitor started beeping and the girl recovered. What a great testimony!
Grant gave words of knowledge about healings needed and prayed for those people, then told some of his testimony. When he was eight years old he saw Jesus in a vision, so bright that Grant could not see his face. In the vision Grant saw the glorious gates of heaven, but did no enter, although he wanted to.
We prayed for all the children, many of them ‘resting’ in the Spirit. Then Grant told more of his testimony, about his time in Toronto. The message that night covered Luke 8, 9, 10 – where Jesus, the 12 and the 70 all did the same things, with no money, preached the same message on the Kingdom of God, and had the same ministry of healing. Most people came out for prayer, most of them resting in the Spirit.
On Tuesday, the day we flew to Pentecost Island I woke again at 3 a.m., as often happened in the previous few weeks, but this was different. I had just seen a quick and powerful vision (while asleep). After seeing a ‘wall’ full of accusations ripped apart with a golden tear, I saw a marvellous long cascade waterfall full of bright living colours. The vision then merged into a brilliant hillside scene where Jesus the Good Shepherd, with shawl and staff, gathered his flock to himself. At first I thought they were sheep but the forms became children and people. I didn’t see Jesus’ face but felt his huge love for everyone – wanting them all to come to him and gathering them to himself. I woke up crying with joy. Significant timing as we started on Pentecost Island that night.
Our mission continued on South Pentecost once more. Based in the village of Panlimsi where Mathias was then the young pastor, we slept in a house with bamboo walls and floor and thatch roof, and ate with their team there in the village.
The Spirit moved strongly in all the meetings. Repentance. Reconciliations. Many healings, daily. Confessions. Anointing. Healings included Pastor Rolanson’s young son able to hear clearly after being born partially deaf. Rolanson leads evangelism teams, and helped lead this mission.
South Pentecost attracts tourists with its land diving – men jumping from high towers with vines attached to their ankles. Grant prayed for a jumper who had hurt his neck, and the neck cracked back into place. After prayer, an elderly man no longer needed a walking stick to come up the hill to the meetings. The Lord healed a son of the paramount chief of South Pentecost from Bunlap, a ‘custom’ village, when Grant prayed for him and pain left his sore leg. He invited the team to come to his village to pray for the sick. No white people had ever been invited there to minister previously.
A team of about 20 of us trekked for a week into mountain villages. I literally obeyed Luke 10 – going with no extra shirt, no sandals, and no money. The trek began with a five hour walk across the island to Ranwas on the eastern side. Mathias led worship, with strong moves of the Spirit touching everyone. At one point I spat on the dirt floor, making mud to show what Jesus did once. No one had ever done such a thing there! Marilyn Wari, wife of the President of the Churches of Christ in Vanuatu, then jumped up asking for prayer for her eyes. Later she testified that the Lord told her to do that, and then she found she could read without glasses.
Glory in a remote village
We trekked through Bunlap, the ‘custom’ village where the paramount chief lived, and prayed for more sick people. Some had pain leave immediately, and people there became more open to the gospel. Then the team trekked for seven hours to Ponra, a remote village further north on the east coast. Revival meetings erupted there! The Spirit just took over. Visions. Revelations. Reconciliations. Healings. People drunk in the Spirit. Many resting on the floor getting blessed in various ways. When they heard about healing through ‘mud on the eye’ at Ranwas some came straight out asking for mud packs also!
One of the girls in the team had a vision of the village children there paddling in a pure sea, crystal clear. They were like that – so pure. Not polluted at all by TV, videos, movies, magazines, worldliness. Their lives were so clean. Just pure love for the Lord, especially among the young.
Angels singing filled the air about 3 a.m. It sounded as though the village church was packed. The harmonies in high descant declared “For You are great and You do wondrous things. You are God alone” and then harmonies, without words until words again for “I will praise You O Lord my God with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name for evermore” with long, long harmonies on “forever more.” Just worship.
The team stayed two extra days there. Everyone received prayer, and many people surrendered to the Lord both morning and night. Everyone was repenting, as the Spirit moved on us all.
Grant’s legs, cut and sore from the long trek, saved the team from the long trek back. The villagers arranged a boat ride back around the island from the east to the west for the team’s return. Revival meetings continued back at the host village, Panlimsi, led mainly in worship by Mathias, with Pastor Rolanson organising things. Also at two other villages the Spirit moved powerfully as the team ministered, with much reconciliation and dancing in worship.
People in the host village heard angels singing there also. At first they too were thinking it was the church full of people, but they realised that the harmonies were more wonderful than we can sing.
Grant and I returned full of joy on the one hour flight to Port Vila after a strong final worship service at the host village on the last Sunday morning, and reported to the Upper Room Church in Port Vila on Sunday evening. Again the Spirit moved so strongly the pastor didn’t need to use his message. More words of knowledge. More healings. More anointing and many resting in the Spirit, soaking in grace.
That church continues to minister in the Spirit and has seen powerful moves of God in the islands, especially Tanna Island. They planted churches there in ‘custom’ villages, invited by the chiefs because the chiefs have seen their people healed and transformed.
During their missions there in 2006, many young boys asked to be ‘ordained’ as evangelists in the power of the Spirit. They returned to their villages and many of those young boys established churches in their villages as they spoke, told Bible stories, and sang original songs given to them by the Spirit.
Return to Pentecost
21 year old Andrew Chee (Grant Shaw’s cousin) came with me on a three week mission to Vanuatu in June-July 2012. We saw God’s blessing and many miracles.
Andrew sensed God telling him to go on this trip, and he booked his flights only one week before we left when flights were full so he was wait-listed but the next day seats became available.
Andrew and Grant (photo) love praying for the sick because they see God constantly taking away pain and healing people. They has strong faith in God’s Word, such as Mark 16:17-18. Jesus said, “these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; … they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” We saw all that in Vanuatu, literally. Daily.
Andrew, from Hawaii, once lived to surf. Now he lives to serve – for God.
We flew into Port Vila, the capital, late on a Friday night and stayed at the Churches of Christ transit house above the church there. Next morning at 6am we heard young people worshipping in their beautiful island harmonies, so we joined them. They welcomed us and invited us to speak briefly and pray for anyone sick. Andrew had words of knowledge about people with pain who then came out for prayer immediately. Our praying continued for everyone wanting prayer after the closing prayer. Nice fast start to our mission!
That morning we flew for an hour in a very small plane on the windy trip to Pentecost Island – the bumpiest I have had on my dozen visits there. So now I was returning again, with another keen young firebrand for God. This long, narrow island was sighted and named on the Day of Pentecost, 1764, by explorer Bougainville, and also seen by Captain Cook in 1774.
Pastor Rolanson met us at the airstrip and we walked 300 metres to the beach to ride for half an hour in the outboard canoe 10k south to Pangi village. There Rolanson’s boys met us to carry our bags along the muddy track half a kilometre inland to their village, Panlimsi.
We had our first meeting there in the village church, partially lit by a couple of old fluorescent lights when the generator was started, usually after everyone has arrived – to save fuel! So most meetings begin in the dark with torch light or candles.
Early in the worship Andrew again had words of knowledge about people’s pain so worship included praying for the sick. Their pain left. After we both spoke that night, we prayed for many more.
So began three weeks of such night meetings. During the day every time we went out into the villages people asked for healing prayer. So like Jesus sending out the 12 and 70 (Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1) in pairs, we too went through the towns and villages proclaiming the kingdom of God, healing the sick and casting out spirits. Many illnesses there result from curses or witchcraft. Often we had to break curses, bind afflicting spirits and cast them out in Jesus’ name.
The first time I went there, in 2003, my host Chief Willie asked me to throw out an afflicting spirit giving him a headache, literally. He said that ‘enemies’ had cursed him. So we prayed together, bound and cast out attacking spirits, and he felt fine.
At other times people asked me to help them get rid of strong invading spirits such as one that haunted a house by ‘jumping’ onto the stones on the floor at night. We prayed and it was gone after that. However, that impudent one ‘jumped’ on the stones in my bungalow that night, so I had to cast it out in Jesus name, and it never returned. Rather weird to hear someone ‘jump’ into your dark room at night!
This time we experienced strong witchcraft. On our last day there, when Andrew and I were weary, Andrew was hit by severe aches and headache. That night I saw a strange dull light, like a reddish torch light, moving horizontally just outside our village hut. We began praying against powerful spirits. God’s Spirit reminded Andrew to bless those who curse you and pray for your enemies. He did. The strange spiritual connection was immediately broken, and pain started easing off. It took a day to recover from that one. “All hail the power of Jesus’ name …”
One Sunday there we shared in a combined churches service in the packed village church. Before the service Andrew had words of knowledge about pain in a man’s shoulders and the right side of a woman’s face. Both came for prayer while people were gathering in the church. We then sidcovered that the man was the leader of the service and the woman preached that day! Many times, the words of knowledge Andrew received were for pastors and leaders first, and then later we prayed for others.
At that Sunday service I was strongly led to call people out for prayer during communion. That was a first for them. It never happened in communion. A large number came for prayer and the healings were fast and strong.
One night Andrew felt led to wash everyone’s feet. That took the whole service! We put a bucket of water near the door (regularly refilled) and Andrew washed everyone’s feet as they arrived while we worshipped, prayed, spoke and called people out for healing and empowering prayer. I was led to wash the leaders feet that night also [Photo: Andrew washes the chief’s feet].
Our adventures included another outboard motor canoe trip an hour north for a combined churches youth rally on the beach with a large campfire at the end of the meeting. We joined forces with another Australian mission team from Gladstone staying there. That night we also prayed for many people after the service. Healings were the fastest and strongest we had seen till then. We realized that people’s faith was rising and God was especially blessing unity.
The heathen village of Bunlap on the east coast is famous as the spiritual centre for pagan witchcraft and curses. I went there with Grant in 2006 on a five hour trek across to Ranwas village and then via Bunlap on a seven hour trek to Ponra village where we saw the power of God at every meeting and I head angels singing in the night, like the church was full, although no people were there. Grant had prayed for the paramount chief’s son whose groin was healed at Pangi village on the west coast, so we offered to go to Bunlap and pray for the sick. A couple of days later we heard that the chief had invited us to come and pray – the first white people to ever be invited to pray for people there.
This time Andrew and I were swimming off the jetty near Pangi when one of chief’s sons from Bunlap and his friends wandered onto the jetty. Two of those young men had pain so Andrew prayed for them and the pain left. The chief’s son told us they would be there when we came to Bunlap the following Saturday to pray for sick people again.
This year we enjoyed the luxury of a four wheel truck trip across the island through the dense green mountains. We had three nights of meetings at Ranwas village, Friday to Sunday, including the Sunday morning service there. On Saturday we trekked half an hour through the jungle to Bunlap.
People were even more welcoming this time at Bunlap. We prayed for dozens of people, and their pain left. We talked about the kingdom of God and how Jesus saves and heals. Some of the people told us they believed that and when the chief allowed it they would be part of a church there.
The paramount chief once burned a Bible given to him by a revival team from the Christian villages. Now he is willing for a church to be built on the ground where he burned the Bible. Hallelujah – what a testimony to God’s grace and glory. For the first time ever that paramount chief asked for prayer. He wanted healing from head pain. Andrew placed his hands on the sides of the chief’s head and we prayed for him in Jesus’ name. The pain left.
Then another chief there prepared lunch for us so the pastors in the team and Andrew and I ate in his house – again the first time ever for white people on mission there.
Like Jesus’ disciples, we returned to Ranwas village church rejoicing that afflicting spirits were cast out, people were healed in Jesus’ name, some believed in Jesus, and they now plan to have a church there. Our host chief told Rolanson he can bring his guitar and have meetings in the chief’s house anytime.
Some Christians at Ranwas were amazed to hear the reports. They have endured witchcraft and curses from Bunlap for a century. Again, during communion on Sunday large numbers came for prayer for healing, and healings were fast and strong. They had never done that in communion before. At all the meetings Andrew had specific words of knowledge about healings, and pain left quickly. In the beginning we had to pray for some people two or three times before the pain left, but as the weeks passed and faith rose, healings were much quicker and stronger. By the end of the mission trip people in the congregation were praying for each other in faith and seeing God touch their friends.