The President of the Vanuatu Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Mission is a soft-spoken, gentle man, who graciously invites us into his office.
Things in Vanuatu have not been easy or calm since the devastating category-5 Tropical Cyclone Pam completely devastated parts of the beautiful island nation.
President Nos Terry Mailalong has lived in the Pacific region for many years, surviving previous storms and cyclones but he freely admits, “In my lifetime, this is the strongest cyclone I’ve ever faced. The extent of the damage, the cost, it’s unbelievable.”
But while he’s clearly touched by the incredible need that’s evident in Vanuatu, he can also see the difference the collaborative effort of the SDA Church and Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) is having in the face of unprecedented crisis.
President Mailalong put out a radio message directly after the Tropical Cyclone Pam, and asked for volunteers to help in the response. And many young Adventists answered that call.
“On Monday, they were here. The young people are here. And they’re still around. The young people are happy to be involved.”
“A lot of people in the community are saying that ADRA is doing a great job, and a great work to support the needy. And I am proud to be associated with what ADRA is doing.”
“You guys are doing the job,” he says with conviction.
And President Mailalong also believes ADRA’s long-term work in development is making a huge impact. ADRA Vanuatu partners with the SDA Church through the Church Partnership Program, which aims to build the capacity of the church network through trainings to enable them to adequately respond to disasters.
“ADRA is doing great work, it’s not a very long time [since ADRA was established in 2008], but a lot of people in the communities they are now coming into an understanding of who ADRA is,” explains President Mailalong.
“But because of the involvement of ADRA in humanitarian activities and what are now slowly understanding what ADRA stands for.”
And while ADRA’s work is focused on everyone – regardless of religion, race, ethnicity – the President can see how ADRA’s neutral position is a positive for the wider SDA church.
“ADRA is breaking down barriers, building relationships, building the reputation of the church.”
“I am very thankful for what you guys do, and I would like to see a continued partnership between the church and ADRA.”
ADRA is thankful for the support of the Vanuatu SDA Mission, especially in the volunteers who have given their time to help us so much.
Source: ADRA Vanuatu