Rescuing locals from a volcano

Our muscles were tense as the ocean spray hit, causing our clothes to become damper than we intended when we dressed that morning.  The perpetual bobbing of the watercraft nearly caused the lifejackets to take flight in the wind.  We were soaked.  How were we to know that we would be wading up to our waist to ensure that the boat didn’t drift?  Oddly enough, we felt a sense of joy when we jumped in the waters fully clothed.  With the life we live, it’s the unexpected that we have learned to expect.

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Riding the tender ashore  to take the locals to the YWAM ship, the Pacific Hope.

Living onboard the YWAM ship the Pacific Hope for about a month so far, the first few weeks haven’t been all that noteworthy—just getting into a routine of working shifts and prepping the ship for sail.  However, in early October a crisis struck.  An island volcano, about a 15-hour sail north of Port Vila where we were anchored, started displaying signs of imminent eruption.  The Vanuatu government asked us to aid in the evacuation of a hospital on the island.  Just a few days later, we were making rounds from the volcanic island to a safer, nearby island.

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Numerous locals gathered on the beach with everything they own forced to leave the only home they know.  Few stay behind refusing to leave the island. 

As we reached the island, Ambae, the island then spewing lava and fire balls*, we dropped anchor and deployed the tenders (outboard motor boats.)   The tenders drove to the beach and were filled with hospital patients and their caregivers.  As they loaded onto the bigger tender, the smaller tender was being loaded with all their possessions.  This continued for a few hours until we had around 75 onboard the Pacific Hope, then set off for the nearby island and to their safety.  We did this process twice, evacuating 130+ men, women, and children.

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One of the many trips taking the locals to the ship.

Currently, the ship is moored alongside an industrial key in Latoka, Fiji.  Awaiting the arrival of engineering parts and two more crew members, the departure date is still uncertain.  Our hopes are to leave on or around October 20th.  Once we set sail, it will be 22-26 days at sea before we reach the Panama Canal.   Everything after that point is still being orchestrated by the Lord and is unknown to us, and may remain that way until we reach Panama.

After this journey on the high seas, I will be heading back to the U.S.A. for the first time in over a year!  The reason for the unexpected trip to the U.S. is to apply for my two-year U.K. visa.  I have to submit the application, passport, and fingerprints from my home country.  Sadly, during the visa review process, which lasts around a month, I won’t be visiting KC, to my understanding.  For financial reasons and for ease of working with people involved in the developing ministry, I will probably be staying and working at YWAM Orlando, Florida, or YWAM Tyler, Texas.  Flights to and from both are significantly cheaper than KC, and I have connections to the ministry at both locations.

It is always hard to see people displaced from their homes, whether it is a child from Iran running from the persecution of the Taliban, or an elderly grandmother forced to leave the only life she has ever known because a volcano threatens to destroy her island.  In these situations, and many others like them around the world, the most we can do for them is pray.  Not a #prayforpuertorico or #prayforparis prayer, but a prayer of God and to God.  Anyone can post #prayforsyria, but does that mean that prayers were actually prayed in intercession on behalf of those people and for their deliverance?  If you don’t know what to pray for, or how to pray, just remember that the Lord knows the needs of His people.  Ask the Lord what to pray for and He will show you. I believe that the world would be a different place if we all prayed the prayers on His heart.

*The volcano was spewing lava and fire balls, but we didn’t see it and were not in imminent danger because the volcano was on the other side of the island.

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