Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Scott had the good fortune of meeting the Principal of
the Takamoa Theological College in Rarotonga, Rev. Vakaroto Ngaro, when
we were in Rarotonga in December of 2005. At that time he arranged to
teach a two week course on evangelism to the students of the college. At
the end of the class our request to them was that they each take one of
our Bibles and give it to their new or prospective convert whenever that
The students and their wives complete four years of study after which
they will go back to their home church and start their own church.
What's interesting here is that most of the students don't live in the
Cook Islands. Most live in New Zealand or Australia. Their parents came
from the Cooks and they have relatives out on the outer islands (many
from Penrhyn), but their home is not really the Cook Islands.
these last two photos you see several things: Clearly, the wives are an
integral part of the college. They take the same courses as their
husbands and if they don't pass, the husband doesn't pass!! How's that
for being "equally yoked?" The two crimson books in front of her are the
Bibles that we gave to her and her husband for their evangelism. You see
she has here child, Daniel, with her. This lady gave the opening
devotions that evening. AND, of course, you see the mosquito coils on
Miri, the lady on the left, became a friend and was part of the
organization team that put together a banquet of food and gifts the last
night we were at the Takamoa Seminary.
Palmerston Island, The Cook Islands
Island is a community of about 50 people, half of whom are children.
They teach all the children (except kindergarten) in this one room and
use a Christian home school curriculum. This works pretty well as many
of the families spend part of the year here on Palmerston and part of
the year in New Zealand. The Cook Island people have New Zealand
passports and travel back and forth fairly regularly.
and Sue live on Palmerston with their six children. They were our host
family while we stayed there. When they found out we had Bibles on the
boat they asked for Bibles for their family, the two boys that lived
with them and their grandmother, fondly called "Auntie."
Suwarrow, Cook Islands
family of six were the only people living on Suwarrow. The closest
people live almost 300 miles away (upwind). With a radio that rarely has
enough power to transmit their situation is often tenuous. Clearly these
folks were happy to have the encouragement of the Bibles we brought and
the two morning prayer services we led on Sundays.
Penrhyn, Cook Islands
man on the left of Scott is the principal of the school on Penrhyn. He
arrived here a year and a half ago responsible for the education and
formation of the fifty children in his school. There was not a Bible to
be found anywhere at the school. His desire was to teach English and
religion using the Bible. He has been praying since his arrival for
these Bibles. He's just frustrated that it took us so long to get here!
are some of the younger children at the school. In addition to Bibles we
also gave some children's literature. So all-in-all we were all pretty
happy about finding Bible homes in this school!
was also a small Catholic Church on the island and we were able to give
some Catholic Bibles to that community.
(left) is the wife of the Roman catholic deacon on the island and she is
a catechist, herself. We talked about her role as a leader in the Church
and also her life as the mother of eleven children. She is a very neat
lady and the island's baker.
the "other side" of Penrhyn we were able to give our Bibles to the
members of a Bible study group at the Church.
you see, we were also able to leave the last of our children's' books.
And Scott generously gave Ray, their pastor his parallel Bible for his
use in developing sermons and Bible teachings. Scott is always trying to
influence Church leaders that there is more than one way to understand
many Biblical passages.
is full of surprises! Our visit to the Seafarer's Center in Pago Pago
gave us an opportunity to get our Bibles onto container ships who have
Pilipino crew. Many of the people from the Philippines read English. We
also found that there is a great need for Bibles in Mandarin Chinese.
The Center had some pretty hairy stories about physical abuse of crew on
some of these big ships.
This center provides a place of refuge for all seafarers. They have TV,
games, books, internet and light refreshments. They helped us by
receiving boat parts and legal documents without which we would have no
responsible party to assist us. Additionally, they had some school
supplies that they wanted to get to the remote islands of Tonga. Since
it was our plan to go to Niuatoputapu this worked out great.
entrance into Tonga was the rather remote island of Niuatoputapu. When
the officials came aboard our boat we were able to give then Bibles as
well as arrange for a case of Bibles to be brought to the school. Of
course, the school supplies went to the school at that time also.
very neat lady is wearing the traditional mourning clothing in honor of
the recently deceased king.. We were delighted to see the woven mats
that they wear.
The Customs lady wore black without the mat. People were in mourning for
a month and wearing black for the entire time. This was because the King
had just died.
Because we are interested in placing our Bibles in remote areas we did
not look for homes on either Vava'u or Tongatopu. Instead we focused on
the Ha'apai Group and this turned out to be good.
Hapa'ai Group of islands in Tonga have a reputation among the
cruisers of being a bit more challenging as far as navigation is
concerned. Because of this these small islands are not visited as often
as Vava'u, which is quite a yachting and tourist center. The first village we
visited was Ha'ano. By chance we arrived on the eve of a special
day of giving. Before Church services we were invited to a feast (left)
attended by visiting dignitaries. Scott is seated between the
Agricultural Minister and and Pastor of the Church.
the right is a photo of the many gifts given by the congregation.
the left I'm seated with two of the Church leaders as I present our
Bibles to their Church. We were unable to go to a formal ceremony in the
Church that day
because Scott injured his foot just after the feast.
south at the village of Pungai on Lifuka Island we were able to
connect with our friend. He was able to take Hope and myself out to a
local school where our Bibles will be used to teach English and The
I am with the principal of the school. (left) She was so thrilled that
she called Hope and me "Angels." We were very happy that our Bibles
received such a warm welcome and will be used in Pungai for many years.
Bibles will be used for high school level students. Since it was a
little late in the day there were only young children left in the school
continued south to a little Island called 'Uiha. when
crossing the reef to get into the anchorage our depth meter registered
11 feet - or 2 1/2 feet under our keel. This is one of the reasons 'Uiha
doesn't receive many visiting yachties. The village seemed deserted when
we arrived. However, we were
"fortunate" to meet the local school teacher as she was riding
down the street on her bicycle. She was able to introduce us to the
Pastor's daughter. Here's Hope on the left going back to the dock with
the teacher to get the case of Bibles. Scott is limiting his walking
because of his injured foot.
finally, (right) here we are with our gift to the Church of 'Uiha. The
school teacher is in the middle with the Pastor's daughter on her right
and me on her left. We were told that the village was deserted because
people were out in the bush harvesting produce for dinner, including the
Pastor - a real tent-making disciple.
is the Church where the bibles will be used for adult Bible study. The
Churches in the islands are pretty impressive and represent a time when
the population was significantly greater.
is another yachting/tourist center, so we had decided that we wouldn't
be actively looking to place our Bibles here. However, as it turned out
this lady (she calls herself "Big Mama" and she runs a yachtie hangout)
has a charity to the northern islands. One of the islands, Niuafo'ou,
was impossible for us to visit on the Quest. Big Mama took our remaining
Bibles and a few remaining school supplies to the school in Niuafo'ou.
We did keep one Bible out for the Customs' officer who had indicted in a
conversation with Scott that he would very much like to receive one of
our Bibles. And with that we depleted our stores of Bibles and completed
our Bible Mission for 2006. Actually, this was a pretty exciting year
for us because of the many small villages we visited and the fact that
we were able to place so many Bibles.