Twenty-six people were baptized after the first evangelistic meetings were held on Araki Island, Vanuatu, on August 15–28. Led by Pastor Renold Toa, the meetings were an initiative of the Enra Basket ministry, started in 2019 by Franklyn William and his wife, Rose, church members from Santo Island.
A constructor by trade, Franklyn’s passion for helping those in need started in 2020 after Cyclone Harold devastated the country. Realizing many were struggling financially in South Santo, he and his family started visiting the village of Jorova every Sabbath, where they distributed food, ministered, and prayed with people.
“As the interest grew, he invited extended Adventist families to help him. For some of the difficult questions Franklyn couldn’t answer, he invited retired pastor Renold Toa, who joined the ministry, to address hard theological questions,” said first-year minister Lui Yarakei. After a few months of dedicated work, the Enra Basket ministry built and dedicated the Jarova Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In early 2021, the ministry decided to start Bible readings in Araki, a small island dominated by Presbyterians, with no Adventist presence ever established. “The interests grew from one to more than twenty!” exclaimed Yarakei.
On August 26, during the first evangelistic meetings in the area, the Salalapa Seventh-day Adventists Church was dedicated by Pastor Toa, with the attendance of Pastor David George, Sanma District ministerial leader. Adventists from the island of Santo and members of the communities around Araki were also present at the dedication ceremony.
“Franklyn and Rose are passionate about the gospel message. They decided to spend their own money to build the first new Adventist permanent church building on Araki Island. They believe whatever they have, it is God who is the Giver of all blessings. Therefore, they return all these blessings for the furtherance of the gospel,” said Yarakei.