Three weeks ago I launched a Moderator’s appeal for Vanuatu in response to the scale of damage caused by Cyclone Harold.
This Category 5 Tropical Cyclone wreaked tremendous havoc on Vanuatu’s northern Islands on 6 April, as we have seen on our Global Mission Facebook.
Through your generous support for the recovery work by our Church partner Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PVC), our beloved congregations and members have raised $33,000 as of 15 May. Well done for giving so generously in the current circumstances.
The fact that we can respond financially even while we face an uncertain economic future is testament to the deep faith within our membership, and of the strong commitment that we have to our partner Churches. While we are unable to send anyone to help due to Covid-19 border restrictions, the financial support will be a significant boost to the PCV’s rebuilding programme.
Our Church has been quick to send much needed funds. In the first week after the cyclone, the PCANZ donated emergency funds to Talua Theological Training Institute, which had sustained serious damage. The following week we forwarded further funds to contribute to the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu’s support for communities affected by Cyclone Harold, and also by volcanic ash fall which was simultaneously causing serious problems on Tanna Island.
In a letter of thanks to donors, the PCV General Secretary Allen Nafuki made note of our donation, he wrote: “On behalf of the PCV a massive thank you to every group and individual who made a donation to the Church’s effort to support all those affected by Tropical Cyclone Harold and the volcanic ash fall on Tanna”.
A subsequent letter from the PCV has indicated the size of the recovery programme ahead. The total damage to PCV buildings and property across five presbyteries, including Talua College and Navota Farm, is estimated to be in excess of NZD $500,000. The PCV has made the difficult decision to close Talua College until 2021, in order to concentrate on the rebuild programme.
The PCV has approached its other partner churches for financial help, so whatever our Church contributes will be added to this collective effort.
I invite you to continue to give what you can, as the need is great for our brothers and sisters in Vanuatu. The appeal will conclude on 9 June. You can donate online to the PCANZ Global Mission account number: 02 0500 0086963 10 with the reference Cyclone Appeal. Cheques can be mailed to the PCANZ Assembly Office, PO Box 9049, Wellington 6141. If donating online, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a receipt.
I know that our Church, the PCANZ, acknowledges and is grateful to the Rev Phil King PCANZ Global Mission Coordinator, and the team at our Assembly Office, for coordinating this appeal. Surely, to give to help another, in your own hour of need, is of the highest action of love.
Rt Rev Fakaofo Kaio
Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand