Twenty-six people were baptized after the first evangelistic meetings held on the island of Araki, Vanuatu, from August 15 to 28, 2021. Led by Renold Toa, the meetings were an initiative of the Enra Basket ministry.
The Enra Basket ministry was launched in 2019 by Franklyn William and his wife, Rose, church members from Espiritu Santo. The ministry combines caring for other church and community members to provide for their physical and spiritual needs. The couple found inspiration to launch their ministry in Mark 1:16 in the Bible, where the author of the Gospel wrote that “as He [Jesus] walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.”
A builder by trade, William’s passion for helping those in need grew in 2020 after Cyclone Harold devastated the country. Realizing many were struggling financially in South Santo, William and his family started visiting Jarova village every Saturday (Sabbath), where they distributed food and ministered and prayed with people.
“As the interest grew, he invited extended Adventist families to help him,” minister Lui Yakarei shared. “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.”
After a few months of dedicated work, the Enra Basket ministry built and dedicated the Jarova Seventh-day Adventist Church building.
In early 2021, the ministry decided to start Bible studies on Araki, a small island dominated by another Christian denomination but with no constant Adventist presence. “People interested [in studying the Bible] grew from one to more than twenty!” Yarakei said.
On August 26, during the first evangelistic meetings in the area, Toa helped dedicate the Salalapa Seventh-day Adventist Church. District ministerial director David George attended the dedication ceremony. Adventist members from the island of Santo and members of the communities around Araki were also present at the inauguration of the new church building.
“Franklyn and Rose are passionate about the gospel message,” Yarakei said. “They decided to spend their own money to build the first new permanent Adventist church building on Araki Island.”
Yarakei explained that the Williams believe that whatever they have, it is because God is the Giver of all blessings. “It is the reason they return all these blessings for the furtherance of the gospel,” he said.