Revivals in the 21st Century
2003 Revival in the South Pacific – Pentecost Island
In May 2003 a team from the CF flew to Pentecost Island in Vanuatu for a weekend of outreach meetings on South Pentecost. The national Vanuatu Churches of Christ Bible College, at Banmatmat, stands near the site of the first Christian martyrdom there.
Tomas Tumtum had been an indentured worker on cane farms in Queensland, Australia. He was converted there and returned around 1901 to his village on South Pentecost with a new young disciple from a neighbouring island. They arrived when the village was tabu (taboo) because a baby had died a few days earlier, so no one was allowed near the village. Ancient tradition dictated that anyone breaking tabu must be killed, so they were going to kill Tomas, but his friend Lulkon asked Tomas to tell them to kill him instead so that Tomas could evangelise his own people. Just before he was clubbed to death at a sacred mele palm tree, he read from John 3:16, then closed his eyes and prayed for them.
Tomas became the pioneer of the church in South Pentecost, establishing many Churches of Christ there.
God opened a wide door on Pentecost Island (1 Cor 16:8–9). The weekend with the CF team brought new unity among the competing village churches. The Sunday night service went from 6–11 p.m., although it had been ‘closed’ three times after 10 p.m., with a closing prayer, then later on a closing song, and then later on a closing announcement. People just kept singing and coming for prayer.
Another team of four students from the law school CF returned to South Pentecost in June 2003 for 12 days of meetings in many villages. Again, the Spirit of God moved strongly. Leaders repented publicly of divisions and criticisms. Then youth began repenting of backsliding or unbelief. A great-grand-daughter of the pioneer Tomas Tumtum gave her life to God in the village near his grave at the Bible College.
Evening rallies were held in four villages of South Pentecost each evening from 6 p.m. for 12 days, with teaching sessions on the Holy Spirit held in the main village church for a week. The team experienced a strong leading of the Spirit in the worship, drama, action songs with Pacific dance movements, and preaching and praying for people.
Mathias, a young man who repented deeply with over 15 minutes of tearful sobbing, is now the main worship leader in revival meetings. When he was leading and speaking at a revival meeting at the national Bible College, a huge supernatural fire blazed in the hills directly opposite the Bible College chapel in 2005, but no bush was burned.
Used by kind permission of Geoff Waugh