Laymen Ministries

Vanuatu: Surviving the Storm

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Jeff Reich


Series Code: LM

Program Code: LM000144A

00:10 Lot of times people have this idea
00:12 that international travel is really glamorous.
00:14 I've been doing this for 25 years now.
00:16 Sixteen to seventeen of those years
00:17 making TV programs just like this one
00:20 where I can tell you getting to the places
00:22 is not as glamorous as being there.
00:24 But sometimes you have situation
00:26 where you are stuck in long lines,
00:27 get misinformation or in this situation
00:29 we have all this luggage for our project in Vanuatu.
00:32 And we're told we have to exit the security area
00:35 and stay 18 hours outside before you can check back
00:38 in to get our flight to fly to Vanuatu.
00:40 But the good news is we are headed to Vanuatu
00:43 to check on our project there so come along with us.
00:50 Somewhere across the water
00:53 There are villages and cities
00:57 They're bustling with people
01:01 from the many walks of life
01:04 They never heard of Jesus
01:08 'Cause no one's ever told them
01:11 But they've seen the world's hunger
01:15 Its poverty and strife
01:18 We've got to go into the nation
01:22 With the good news of salvation
01:26 We've got to go and tell the world
01:30 And share the gospel song
01:33 As everyone that's out there
01:36 Is a soul that Jesus died for
01:40 We've got to go and tell the world
01:44 The Lord is soon to come
01:52 Vanuatu is a chain of islands located in the South Pacific.
01:57 The year 2015 marks the ten year anniversary
02:00 of Dr. Trent Boult and his family
02:02 coming to the island of Gaua
02:04 to establish a medical missionary work
02:06 with Laymen Ministries.
02:08 In March 2015, the South Pacific
02:11 was struck by one of the largest cyclones
02:13 in history Cyclone Pam.
02:16 It was regarded as one the worst natural disasters
02:18 in the history of Vanuatu.
02:20 Eleven people lost their lives and many were injured.
02:24 The cyclone built momentum north of the country for days
02:27 before making its way straight for Gaua.
02:29 Miraculously, the storm then shifted
02:32 eastwards sparing Gaua and our project.
02:35 But unfortunately Cyclone Pam been shifted west again
02:38 with winds peaking at 165 miles an hour
02:42 bringing devastation to Port Vila,
02:44 the capital of Vanuatu.
02:47 It was estimated that 90% of the buildings
02:49 in Vanuatu were somehow impacted by the storm
02:52 and 60% of the country's communication was cut off.
03:07 Where we're standing right now
03:08 is called the water front in Port Vila,
03:12 which is capital of Vanuatu.
03:16 This is usually a very shelter little spot
03:18 in the capital here and it's a place
03:23 where lot of yachts come to 'cause it's very protected.
03:26 But during the big cyclone hit Vanuatu, Cyclone Pam
03:31 this became a very dangerous place to be here
03:33 where yachts that were thrown up on here.
03:35 Pieces of yachts still remain here.
03:38 It was completely pounded by the cyclone but this was--
03:42 They say the worst cyclone has ever hit the Pacific,
03:45 the whole of the South Pacific
03:46 and it caused widespread damaged all over Vanuatu.
03:51 Yeah, it's just amazing right here
03:53 that was like a flee market
03:55 where a lot of women had little stalls
04:01 where they were selling material
04:04 and basket some things like that.
04:07 It's disappeared, everything is gone.
04:09 And in its place is a whole lot of rubble
04:12 which was thrown up here, bits of branches and stuff
04:16 and the remains of those buildings,
04:17 those stalls that they were selling materials and so.
04:21 Yeah, it's quite a sight when we came here
04:23 it was worsen as they've tied this up
04:26 but it's still looking pretty bad.
04:31 Yeah, we see a lot of yachts coming into Vanuatu
04:34 from all over the world.
04:35 Here's one that have got through thrown up
04:36 on the waterfront here.
04:39 And apparently this guy survived,
04:41 the guy that was on this yacht survived
04:42 that there was another yacht over there that got thrown up,
04:45 he wasn't so lucky.
04:46 Apparently, he tried to jump out
04:48 when the water was really rough and he drowned.
05:01 This morning we're heading now to try to beat a cyclone
05:04 that's coming in second one in three weeks.
05:07 We're gonna load up the plane and try to beat the storm,
05:09 fly to Gaua so we can do the repairs up there.
05:42 Mark, I have a question for you.
05:44 You know, that place that you lived in
05:45 when you first came here long time ago.
05:47 Uh-huh. What was it called?
05:48 Kiralu.
05:50 How long it's been since you've been there?
05:51 Long time about three years.
05:53 I was thinking it'd be kind of cool
05:54 for to kind of go down there.
05:55 Is it too far to go to?
05:57 No, we can go there.
05:58 All right.
06:00 We can go on the corner, I think.
06:01 When last time you were there what was it like?
06:04 It looked pretty overgrown
06:05 but I only passed it on the road,
06:07 I didn't go and see it.
06:08 It'd be kind of cool to go check it out.
06:09 Yeah, let's do that.
06:11 You want to grab a couple of bush knives and head up?
06:12 Let's go. Okay.
06:30 That place that we're headed is called Kiralu
06:32 named after a small river that runs through the area.
06:35 It was going to be interesting
06:37 to see the old bungalows that we used some 10 years ago
06:40 when we first started the project.
07:06 So how many years has it been since you've been here?
07:08 Oh, it's about three years I think
07:10 and that is looking very overgrown.
07:14 When we came in here before it seem like
07:16 there was a gate some place.
07:17 There was a gate. Oh, that gate right there.
07:19 Yeah, we came up here.
07:20 All right, and so the bungalow that's the kind of--
07:22 It's up on the top there.
07:25 Let's go, let's go and see it.
07:26 It looks totally different.
07:27 Get that bush knife out.
07:30 Let's go and see it.
07:34 Believe it or not it is in here somewhere.
07:39 Okay, this must be the house.
07:41 Man, it's so overgrown, wow.
08:04 Well, this is the kitchen area.
08:06 Is this used to be a kitchen?
08:08 Yeah, this is the only part
08:10 that's remaining, all has collapsed.
08:13 Man...
08:14 I remember when we used to have--
08:15 We had a table right here.
08:17 Yeah.
08:18 And we shot that one segment on the mall,
08:20 was used up against the bamboo thing right here.
08:21 We agree this is--
08:23 I remember you told me something about
08:24 when you were actually moving from this place,
08:26 you were going to another place and a cyclone hit then.
08:29 Yeah, this house is amazing
08:32 'cause it was built by some people
08:34 who intended it for it to be a tourist place, a bungalow.
08:39 Nobody ever came and there was dispute over
08:42 who owned it and it was standing,
08:44 it was staying there until we came
08:46 and we asked them if we could stay here.
08:48 We stayed here for two years and then when we left,
08:52 we were just about to leave
08:53 'cause that's about time we were donated the aircraft
08:56 and so we wanted to go and live near the airstrip,
08:58 the northern part of the island.
09:00 And just on that very weekend we got hit by a cyclone
09:03 and that's when the roof starting damage of course
09:06 now it's collapsed completely.
09:08 And then at that time there wasn't--
09:10 Wasn't too bad but we took some stuff
09:13 up to the northern part of the island
09:15 and we stored some stuff at a house up there.
09:19 While we were coming back here
09:21 to get some more gear, the hurricane came, hit us
09:23 and all of our gear in the other house
09:26 got blown out of the house.
09:28 So it was quite an experience--
09:29 You could say in more ways than one that
09:31 you've had to weather a few storms here in Vanuatu.
09:33 We sure have--
09:34 Both physically and spiritually.
09:35 Yeah.
09:37 It's amazing how many storms have been associated
09:39 with our lives here and spiritually too
09:41 we've been through a lot of stormy experiences.
09:43 I'm trying to, you know, figure in my mind.
09:46 It seems like I remember that
09:48 it used to be kind of a hill here.
09:50 And then those little bungalows,
09:51 the first little bungalow was your clinic.
09:53 Yeah. Is that right?
09:54 Yeah. So it should be down there.
09:55 Let's go and have a look
09:57 and see if we can see that place.
10:09 Wow, they've gone.
10:13 It got to be somewhere.
10:15 Let's see there.
10:17 Let's see it.
10:19 Yeah, Jeff, you might remember
10:20 this was our clinic the first bungalow,
10:22 we had a second one here which was like a store room.
10:25 And then over there under that last bush
10:27 over there was our third one which was like a--
10:30 That was my guest lodging.
10:31 That was guest lodging and for patients
10:34 when they had to stay with us.
10:36 Yeah, we did-- we did general anesthesia,
10:38 we did our first operations in here.
10:45 Where is the door?
10:58 Incredible.
11:12 It's been a lot of changes on the hangar out
11:14 since the last time we were here.
11:15 Joe Marshal who worked with our ministry
11:17 in the Philippines ended up coming to Vanuatu
11:19 and did a lot of working here.
11:21 He was a teacher and stuff.
11:22 He build down here extra spare room for guests
11:25 which is really nice now because that was a problem
11:27 before when we were here,
11:29 this was this all open and in struts,
11:30 it's all enclosed now
11:32 and then if we come around over here.
11:35 This is something I was asking Mark
11:36 to really push forward to get done to help
11:39 with their living situation
11:40 but they installed two real showers.
11:44 And so you don't have to go over
11:45 to those other showers where the patients were out
11:47 and put cold buckets of water over your head.
11:50 You can actually go in here
11:51 and take a real bona fide shower
11:54 and then they developed
11:56 this washroom like a utility room.
11:58 Washing machine, they got a lot of clothes here soaking.
12:02 And the other I wanted to show you
12:04 was the addition outside here.
12:06 They were working on this last time we're here too.
12:09 In fact when I was here last time
12:11 I was helping Joe put these panels up right here
12:14 and now it's all enclosed, they've got this roof on.
12:17 And this really adds a nice dimension
12:19 to the hangar house.
12:22 And the other thing that I wanted to show you
12:24 maybe if you saw the last video,
12:25 Joe Marshall was a building a brand new custom design
12:28 dirty kitchen for the patients over at the patient house.
12:30 And it's been used out for about a year
12:33 and four months that was the last time we were here.
12:36 I'll take you over and take a look at it
12:37 and see what it looks like today.
12:41 Well, you can definitely tell it's being used
12:42 when we were here last time
12:44 Joe built the very first fire in here
12:46 and he had this custom up graft system
12:48 that he built that goes--
12:50 It takes all the smoke up that way,
12:52 definitely we can tell it's been used.
12:53 What happens here at the clinic is that
12:56 when people are admitted
12:57 and then they stay over in the patient house,
12:59 the family members provide food for them
13:01 while they're here, so Mark and Naomi
13:02 don't have to cook for the patients.
13:04 So this is where they can cook all the food
13:05 to feed the patients that are the patient house.
13:11 This project was basically
13:13 a medical missionary project from the start.
13:15 We didn't have the plane to begin with.
13:18 It was just simply operating a small clinic in the bush
13:21 and from there it's grown into what it is today.
13:24 Yeah, we deal with a lot of--
13:26 A lot of people coming through here.
13:28 We've got different types of patients,
13:30 we've got inpatients who are here for special care
13:33 and surgical cases, obstetric cases
13:37 and then we have outpatients who come and visit us here.
13:41 And then when I go and visit other islands,
13:42 I often run into other cases and many people
13:45 who'll need for example teeth to be pulled
13:48 or just to have check ups,
13:49 blood pressure check ups and minor illnesses.
13:52 So we have the full spectrum.
13:54 We have a lot of people coming through
13:55 I think if we were to go through the community,
14:00 I could tell you that-- most of the people
14:03 who've been patients at some time in this whole area
14:06 like everybody has come in here at some point.
14:09 And when I go places I'm constantly interacting
14:12 with former patients.
14:15 A countless times I've just gone to bed--
14:18 just head just hit the pillow
14:20 and then it's seems only five minutes in
14:23 and the door knocks.
14:24 And somebody is knocking they need help
14:25 because of somebody, so it can be really exhausting.
14:29 It's taken its toll, I think we've aged
14:32 a lot from being here but it's a blessing too.
14:34 I really believe that God sustains us in our work.
14:38 I've been able to handle illnesses
14:40 and handle difficulties physical exhaustion
14:43 much better than I ever would have anticipated.
14:46 I think God really is sustaining me in my work
14:48 so I'm so thankful for that.
15:24 The clinic isn't the only part of the project that's growing,
15:27 Laymen Ministries' Matafanga school
15:29 is becoming well-known throughout the Island of Gaua.
15:34 Matafanga would not be possible without your support.
15:37 This is a Laymen Ministries project.
15:39 It's always been a Laymen Ministries project.
15:41 One thing it's kind of unusual about
15:43 this project is that Laymen Ministries throw us
15:47 a set of circumstances has ended up
15:50 being requested to establish a church institution school.
15:56 That might be a first, I'm not sure in this division,
16:01 this area of the church,
16:02 but I think it's a blessing to see
16:04 how a lay ministry is able to work hand in hand
16:09 with the denomination in establishing a church that--
16:12 A church school it's a 100% a church school.
16:14 It really is a denominational school
16:16 and yet Laymen Ministries it's really--
16:19 Laymen Ministries' baby, so the school side of it
16:22 is really interesting in that respect.
16:24 And without Laymen Ministries we could have never have done
16:26 what we're doing.
16:28 Yes, the reason that we have a school here in--
16:31 Up here in this northern part of Vanuatu
16:34 is that we could see a great need
16:36 for the children to have better education.
16:39 While there are other schools available,
16:42 we could see that there was definitely a need
16:44 for training future leaders for even just for the country
16:47 and also for furthering God's work here in Vanuatu.
16:51 We see a great need because here in Torba Province
16:54 it's known as the last province in Vanuatu
16:56 that means very few leaders come form Torba.
17:00 And we'd like to change that.
17:01 We'd like to see leaders and kids graduating
17:04 from the school going out and doing something
17:07 that makes a difference in the world around us
17:09 and also in preparing them
17:11 to carry on God's work in the future.
17:25 So this is our current grade
17:27 seven and eight classroom right here
17:29 and as you can see we're in the middle
17:30 of preparing a roof and the structure
17:34 of the building is not real great.
17:36 So we really need a permanent classroom
17:38 for our students to replace this building.
17:42 Over here we have our teacher housing accommodation here.
17:47 Currently we have coconut leaves up on the roof
17:50 that was for the cyclone to prevent
17:52 the roofs getting ripped up, but the roofing is getting old
17:55 and needing repairs.
17:56 And we need to upgrade the teacher housing also.
18:03 So this is our missionary transit house here,
18:07 currently we have Scott and Kathy in here
18:10 and they'll be working on fixing up
18:12 another small staff house at the back.
18:15 So that this will be free for another couple
18:17 that want to come in with their family,
18:19 a bit later in the year.
18:21 So we like to have this as our transit
18:24 so that it helps people during their adjustment period
18:27 while we get accommodation sorted out for them.
18:30 And at the back here,
18:32 we have the very first staff house
18:35 that was built on the campus
18:36 and that's the one that Scott and Kathy
18:38 will be doing some upgrading to make it suitable for them.
18:42 And then we'll be needing another one similar
18:43 to this for another couple that plan to come soon also.
18:50 For this school to be registered,
18:52 the government wanted something different
18:55 because they said the nearest primary school is too close,
18:58 even though it's another decent walk.
19:03 So Naomi and Mark came up with the idea that
19:06 they would cater for special needs in the community.
19:10 And this is one of those classes,
19:12 these three lovely students out all day
19:17 and so I have been teaching them
19:20 different sets of words.
19:22 This last time we just learnt body words
19:25 and that's what we're revising today.
19:28 So they're special students but they're very bright.
19:31 They've all passed on their test
19:34 and yeah, they could go
19:38 so it's a pleasure to teach them
19:41 and help them integrate into the school community.
19:44 Hey, Scottie.
19:45 Hey, Jeff. Good to see you.
19:48 What are you working on?
19:49 I'm just making some components
19:51 for some chairs that the boys are making tomorrow.
19:55 How many kids do you have right now with your teaching?
19:58 I've got one sort of apprentice
20:00 and there's a bunch of lower schools boys
20:03 is probably up to 15 to 18 of them,
20:07 then they'd come different times.
20:09 Our objective is to give the boys and girls,
20:14 if girls come in the rest as well.
20:18 The opportunity to get some practical skills
20:20 to use in the field perhaps they want to work for the Lord,
20:26 building on other islands that we can equip them
20:29 with skills to built churches or schools or anything.
20:35 Like many things here in this project,
20:37 the school has come a long way
20:39 since its inception years ago.
20:41 Our Maule M-7 has come a long ways too
20:43 as the heavy usage in the islands has taken
20:46 its toll on the airplane.
20:48 Northern Vanuatu, it's-- it's a remote area.
20:53 The only way you can get between islands
20:55 because it's an island nation 83 different islands.
20:59 The only way you can get between islands
21:00 is by boat or by plane.
21:02 When it comes to emergencies, you really need an aircraft.
21:10 And we have since discovered that it would be really,
21:14 really difficult to find any production aircraft--
21:17 Foresee the production aircraft that could handle the workload
21:22 that we're doing here flying into small bush airstrips.
21:26 And carrying loads that it's carrying maybe a--
21:30 or something like that but I think the Lord knew
21:33 that we were-- we need to stay
21:35 within a budget an operating budget
21:37 that were still manageable than that.
21:39 So this really is the most suitable aircraft
21:41 I think for this project.
21:46 It's kind of unthinkable to imagine
21:50 this project operating without this aircraft
21:52 so it worries me a little bit if the plane ever--
21:56 was not in service.
21:59 Then I think the project would kind of collapse
22:02 because we use it for everything
22:04 and it's so important.
22:06 We need to keep this plane fine,
22:08 we need to keep it flying 'cause it's so essential
22:10 for our work here.
22:12 In terms of fuel and maintenance,
22:14 it cost us a 2-3,000 a month.
22:17 When it comes to aircraft,
22:19 engines need to be changed at the TBR of the engine
22:23 which in our case is 2000 hours
22:26 and we're just coming up to that now.
22:29 We have to change the engine, we have no choice.
22:31 If we're gonna continue flying, we have to have a new engine.
22:34 And we're now looking at a recondition engine
22:38 which is gonna cost over $45,000 US
22:42 a lot of money we put deposit on that.
22:44 We don't have the full amount but we believe that
22:47 God is gonna pay somebody to help us
22:48 because unless we have that engine,
22:51 we have to stop operating that means not only
22:53 the medical aviation aspect of it.
22:56 All the patients are gonna be affected and our school
23:00 and this whole project is gonna be adversely affected.
23:03 So we believe that God will provide the funds
23:08 and that we're just excited to know that we're in--
23:11 we're in a faith ministry and we know that
23:14 God is gonna work to help us.
23:18 Yeah, another thing it needs to happened
23:20 for this aircraft.
23:22 We get a lot of damage on the tail wing
23:25 because of terns flying up on these bushes.
23:27 So we need to get regularly we're gonna have
23:31 to purchase a new tail wing
23:34 and that should be done sometime this year.
23:38 Tail feathers including the radar need to be replaced.
23:44 This airplane has a really interesting history.
23:46 It was purchased from mall by a man name Gary Smith.
23:49 His friends all called him Bear
23:52 and Bear had kind of a colorful history himself
23:54 because Bear used to fly
23:56 for what was called the Blue Angels.
23:58 It's like a acrobatic team of fighter jets
24:01 and he was involved with the military
24:03 and had a lot of friends.
24:04 So lot of people in the aviation world knew him.
24:05 He worked at Boeing the last years of his life.
24:08 And he was-- I was told involved
24:10 with designing the ejector seat for the F15 fighter jet.
24:14 Well, when Gary or Bear
24:16 as his friends called him retired,
24:18 he ordered two brand new planes.
24:20 One was a Super Decathlon
24:23 and other one was this Maule M-7 Super Rocket
24:26 and this one came special custom ordered from Maule
24:29 with a sunset orange paint job in sapphire blue trim.
24:34 And fully decked out with search and rescue gear
24:36 'cause he planned on doing volunteer work
24:38 for the search and rescue.
24:40 Right after he purchased this plane,
24:41 he was out in California with his Decathlon teaching a man
24:46 from I think it was Post Falls, Idaho
24:48 and they were doing touch and goes.
24:50 And something went wrong
24:51 and he crashed the Super Decathlon
24:53 and both he and the fellow from Post Falls, Idaho
24:55 were killed unfortunately in that wreck.
24:58 His widow was left with this plane
25:00 and Joel the man who donated this plane to us
25:02 bought this plane from his widow.
25:06 It's an unfortunate situation that Bear lost his life,
25:10 I bet little did he know that the plane
25:12 that he custom ordered was gonna be salvaged
25:15 for doing exactly what he intended
25:17 and that was to search out and save people.
25:20 And that's what this plane is used for today.
25:22 It's a truly a search and rescue plane.
25:28 Yeah, we've-- it's interesting
25:30 being on the receiving end of donations.
25:32 We are a faith ministry, faith based
25:35 and we don't operate with income.
25:39 We have people helping us and we've learned that--
25:42 That givers have, have characteristics
25:46 and one of those characteristics
25:47 are they're usually people who want to see results.
25:51 And they focus primarily on things that are visible
25:55 and tangible and that gives it,
25:58 that's feeling of satisfaction when they give, which is good
26:01 'cause that's what drives projects like this.
26:05 That's how, how we're funded, how people help us.
26:08 We've discovered that people like buildings,
26:10 they like seeing things going up.
26:11 They like to see that progress which is good
26:14 because in a place like this
26:17 we really need to infrastructure,
26:19 we need help with that so that's being a blessing
26:21 to have so many people help with that.
26:24 One of the weaknesses I think with donors
26:27 in spite of their good intentions sometimes
26:29 they tend to forget the maintenance
26:32 aspect of a project for example,
26:34 if a school is built, in their heart of hearts
26:38 they don't want to see that thing dwindling into nothing
26:41 because they put their money into that.
26:43 But somehow along the-- in the experiences that
26:46 they're going through they tend to have a--
26:49 They have tendency to forget that maintenance of a project
26:53 is just as important, the upkeep of the project
26:55 is just as important if not more so
26:57 than the actual establishment
26:59 of the project in the first place,
27:00 so I think that's a-- that's just a human thing.
27:03 I don't think anybody intends
27:05 on making a mistake in that area
27:07 but it is a weakness with some donors
27:09 that they overlook at.
27:11 So yeah, it's incredible how--
27:13 how much you learn about human nature
27:15 and you learn about people
27:17 when you are involved in a project like this.
27:18 And I think it's a--
27:20 it's a character building experience for us,
27:22 you know, to go through this.
27:35 It's amazing to look back in time
27:37 and to think that just 10 years ago Dr. Mark
27:39 was performing operations in a primitive hut
27:42 and traveling to other islands by a banana boat.
27:45 But now thanks to your support.
27:47 Dr. Mark and his family are able to more effectively
27:50 reach out to the people through medical aviation
27:52 and our clinic on Gaua.
28:08 The people of Vanuatu needs your help.
28:11 If you'd like to help support this project,
28:13 contact our ministry at 414 Zapada Road,
28:16 St. Maries, Idaho 83861
28:19 or call us at 1-800-245-1844.
28:24 You can also reach us at


Revised 2022-08-29