THE EL HAVEN PROJECT AND HOW WE CAME TO BE INVOLVED IN IT….
Last year, my husband Joseph and I were holidaying in the Philippines. We were on a bus and I was day dreaming about the possibility of inheriting something from my uncle who had passed away a month before.
As I was doing this a clear voice came to my mind and said “If you get anything from your uncle, I want you to start a refuge for babies and women”. Surprised, I continued to daydream when I distinctly heard it again. This time, realising that it was God speaking to me, I submitted to the request and promised to do exactly that with anything that I should inherit.
Two months later our team went to Vanuatu on our 4th Mission trip. When we arrived in Port Vila, we found out that our onward flight was cancelled and we were put up for the night in a nice hotel.
The airline had booked us to fly the next day at 5 pm but that was too late to start our program so I told my husband to organise that we all arrive at the airport in the morning and insist that we fly on the first flight out. Even though the plane was fully booked, just 5 mins before departure, we were told that we were able to board! We all sensed that something important was happening.
I was the last person to enter the plane. My assigned seat was taken by a couple wanting to sit together so they asked politely if I would mind shifting to another seat. So….on a plane I should not have been on…on a seat I should not have been sitting in…I met a lovely expat woman from New Zealand.
We exchanged conversation and I told her that I was on a mission trip with the SDA church. She then proceeded to tell me that she only knew one Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) woman but that she was an amazing lady with a great vision. Then she shared that something happens in the Vanuatu culture that is barbaric. She said that girls, some of them only young, that have been either raped or are victims of incest or some illicit affair, if they become pregnant are shunned by their families and communities and have no place to go and no options. When the time comes for them to have the baby they take to the bush alone and have the child completely unsupported. Not only that, but they leave the baby there in the bush to die and return to their families.
Some don’t make it…others run into trouble with post-delivery complications.If discovered, they are arrested and charged with infanticide and imprisoned. Sad….too sad…they are made double victims.
Just then, she shared that the SDA woman had a vision to start a REFUGE where these mothers and babies could find safety. Right about then I just about jumped out of my seat…a REFUGE!!! Then I told her my experience in the Philippines with that still small voice.
She helped me tomake connection with Pr Dorolyn Laloyer when I returned to Vila and I told her the whole story. We were amazed at the Providence of God in connecting us. Dorolyn has had a vision to start a residential facility to house these girls since 2008. She has tried to get it underway but funding in Vanuatu is very limited.
Some months later, I did inherit just $10,200. This year just prior to our mission trip, other members of our team, Shirley and Leon Coombs offered to go out early and look for some way that we could make a start with the funding we had. So…they made contact with Dorolyn in Port Villa when they arrived.
Shirley asked Dorolyn how much she had to contribute to the project and Dorolyn replied 200,000. Shirley asked if that was dollars to which Dorolyn nodded and said “yes yes.” Shirley, now confident that not only could we purchase some land but would have some left over to make a start with the buildings, proceeded to go looking for property.
She found a 4300m2 piece of commercial land in a new subdivision for 6.5 million vatu. She offered 4.5 million and it was accepted. When it was all signed and sealed…she asked Dorolyn for the money and then realised the mistake….Dorolyn meant VATU not Dollars!!! Her 200,000 vatu (prior to independence, the currency was called dollars) was only worth $2000 AUD. Shirley had just signed a legal document for the land purchase of $60,000AUDwith only $12700 NZ in the kitty. This led to a couple of sleepless nights for Shirley wondering what on earth we were going to do.
When we arrived in Port Villa a few days later, Shirley took us aside and asked if we would be prepared to go halves in the balance of the monies owing on the land. We all agreed that we would borrow against our mortgages as bridging finance until more sponsors could be found. This we have done. In the end, we all figured that it was meant to be…there was no way that we could have got anywhere with any land or buildings with the funding that we had. Evidently….God had plans that were bigger than ours!