I will be teaching diploma level English at Talua Theological Institute, a cross-denominational college, on the Island of Espiritu Santo, the largest of eighty-three islands in the Republic of Vanuatu. During school holiday breaks I will research mission and ministry opportunities.
Why Vanuatu? Well, for the past nine years I have ministered in the Awatere Joint Venture Parish (Anglicans, Presbyterians and others), situated along the north east coast of Marlborough’s wine country. Seasonally, hundreds of workers come to our region and they are mainly Ni-Vanuatu. Our church has been instrumental in assisting with their Pastoral Care and, they say to me, “Mama Dawn, come to our islands!” It will be helpful and a real blessing to meet them at home with their families and in their villages. I doubt there will be time to see them all, however I will do my best as these workers are valued and loved by communities throughout New Zealand, many of whom would appreciate being able to sow back given a window of opportunity.
I am an ordained priest in the Diocese of Nelson on a year’s Leave of Absence. Though the preaching / teaching aspect of my skill set will have limited use due to the Reformed Presbyterian nature of Talua, l nevertheless aim to encourage the students, both women and men, to be all that God has called them to be. Other employment expectations include leading weekly devotions and showing hospitality, both of which I love.
I have been a member of Nelson’s Diocesan Overseas Mission Council for fifteen years, chairing the Tikanga Pakeha arm of Anglican Missions and serving these past six years as a member of the Board. I absolutely believe that in order to make the best global mission decisions on that Board it is good to experience the challenges our neighbors in the vulnerable Pacific Rim currently face and learn to recognise opportunities to serve in other nations. As a teenager I taught at St Andrew’s School, Tongatapu, and am aware that when God plants the seed to serve cross-culturally in one’s heart, it does not pass, but flourishes for a lifetime in a myriad ways for His glory.