Vanuatu is a young nation in the Pacific, and its name means “the land stands.” Situated east of Papua New Guinea and Australia, this country is made up of about 80 different islands! Vanuatu has beautiful beaches, coral reefs and foliage; not many people know about this South Pacific nation but it is becoming more popular for tourists.
The Lewo people of Nikaura, Vanuatu recently celebrated the first Scriptures in their language! They first heard the gospel in 1890 when a missionary arrived in their village. And on March 2, 2017, they celebrated the dedication of the New Testament in their mother tongue — over 100 years after first being introduced to the Good News. One elder of the village commented, “Nikaura will never see anything like this again!”
The Nikaura chiefs led the new Bibles and all the people in a procession and performed a dance, and one chief gave a speech. He said, “The first missionaries to Vanuatu used our local languages. Our languages were later taken out of the schools, but today, our language has come back to us! Our mother tongue is important to us — it sets us apart from other people. But more important is the Bible where we learn God’s thoughts. Even better is when the Bible is joined to our language so that we can really understand and live with blessing when we believe it.”
After the dedication ceremony, people ran to buy Bibles at the sales booth. There were large amounts of food at the celebration, and soon every hand was clutching either a New Testament or a plate of food!
In addition to the hundreds of people from all parts of the island of Epi, there were 20 guests from overseas who represented the sponsors of the translation project over the past 30 years.
They learned about Vanuatu culture and generosity, and they returned home overjoyed to have been invited to witness the wonderful event. It was a celebration that will be long remembered by all who attended this significant day — the day the Lewo community received God’s Word in their own language!
- Continue to lift up the translation projects happening in Vanuatu and across the Pacific, so more people groups will know the God who speaks their language.
Make a Prayer Connection: Pray for Wycliffe missionaries Casey and Valerie Ellis. Ask God to raise up a team of prayer and financial partners so that Casey and Valerie can begin serving as Scripture use workers in Vanuatu.