After six months of intense preparation, Bio village welcomed over three thousand guests to celebrate my ordination to the priesthood on October 16. Two weeks before the feast, Tess and I were sitting down with the ordination committee, wondering how we were going to feed so many. How richly God provided! Within days we witnessed several minor miracles. Far-flung communities from different tribal groups and languages sent assistance in the form of pigs and rice. One village even volunteered to do all the catering for our special guests. Our dedicated feasting account suddenly had an unexpected (and unexplained) surplus of $2000.
The day itself was an immense celebration of God’s calling. We were led by panpipes into the church where dancers sang the ‘Gloria’ to open the service. Our Bishop, Sam Sahu, sounded a clarion call to the Church of Melanesia to revive the practices of prayer, fasting and the reading of Scripture as part of her response to God’s calling to be his people. Many heard and celebrated the commission. We’re grateful that this event not only embodied for us the lavish hospitality of the Kingdom of God (and we thank our Melanesian brothers and sisters for teaching us a thing or two about this), but also for arriving when it did, on St Luke’s Day: “Pray to the Lord of the harvest, to send out more labourers into his harvest.”
Jonathan will be ordained to the priesthood on October 16 at Bio Village, Malaita. This is a very special ordination because Jon’s father, Douglas, designed and built the church and will be coming from the US to celebrate with us.
This is the first ordination for the village and they have used this opportunity for community development. They are completing a beautiful rest house for incoming guests, making permanent lavatories and planting trees and flowers. For the past five months, the villagers have been planting root crops and raising pigs and chickens for the feast that will follow the ordination. Different groups of men, women, and children are rehearsing dances and songs to entertain the guests. We pray that this day will be a joyous celebration of God’s faithfulness in the past and his continuing work into the future.
Tess has begun a Tuesday night Women’s Bible Study with women in the village. They gather in the dining room around the table and on the floor. Tess is leading them through the Gospel of Matthew, reading from the Pidgin Bible. Many of the women are illiterate, and those who can read don’t always have access to a Bible. They sing together in English, Pidgin, and Kwara’ae, the local language. After the study, they break up into small groups to pray for various needs in the village.
Many women are too shy to pray aloud. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will enable them to have boldness to come before the Lord with their burdens and praises.