Our Vanuatu missionaries work in three locations – Port Vila, the island of Malakula, and the island of Tanna. At the present time their main work and residence is in the Freswota 5 area of Port Vila, where the Presbyterian Reformed Church Vanuatu (PRCV) Freswota 5 local church was established in January 2010.
The PRC mission work in Vanuatu was established in the early 1970s when two families from Australia were sent by the PRCA as missionaries to North West Malakula. Their task was to learn the language, to preach the Word, to establish an indigenous church and to translate the Scriptures into the local language (Big Nambas). God has been very gracious in growing the church in Brenwei, NW Malekula – today the church has more than 60 members, local elders and is led by Pastor Isul Lunabek.
In 1983, the PRC commenced an outreach to the island of Tanna. The first missionary, Kilet Itei came from the church in Malekula. Tragically, he died three years later, but Tom Kout of Tanna continued the work of caring for the church. Several other men from Malekula have assisted Tom in his work over the years, and an Australian missionary family also lived and worked with him for nearly a decade preaching God’s Word and translating the Bible into the local language. The congregation in Tanna has a stable membership and the translation work continues, with support from the returned Australian former missionary who is fluent in the language.
The PRC has also had a long history in Port Vila. In the late 1970’s the church sought to establish a church on the Island of Ifira (off the coast of Port Vila) but Island politics prevented this; instead we were allowed to live, worship and translate on the island of Iririki, a short boat ride away from Ifira. A handful of Australian missionaries were based on Iririki and sought to establish a church there, but with limited success. An encouragement was the completion of the Ifira NT, however, there was a limited response to the gospel from the Ifira people and in the mid 1990’s the work on Iririki ceased.
A new church plant in Port Vila was established in 2010, but this time on the Efate mainland, in the area of Freswota 5. This was at the request of the Vanuatu PRC, who saw a desperate need for a local church in the capital, whose population had ballooned due to urban drift and the lack of services, employment and schooling in the outer islands. This was, and continues to be a joint work between PRCV and PRCA. To date, two Australian missionaries have lived and worked in Freswota 5 with their families alongside Mikel Venu, the indigenous missionary-Elder from the Malakula church. The work is flourishing, with many being brought to Christ through His Word.