First-Ever Graduating Class of South Pacific Nazarene Theological College Celebrated!

Dec 9, 2015

Vanuatu, South Pacific: “This is a big thing in my life, and for my family, and for my island, and for the whole country of Vanuatu!” says new graduate Joe Malikum. That ‘big thing’ is the completion of his studies at South Pacific Nazarene Theological College, (SPNTC) Vanuatu Campus.

SPNTC graduates and facultyNovember 28th was an exciting day for Joe Malikum, Austin Jereva, and Gideon Iakapas as all three men received a Certificate in Ministry. But this wasn’t merely an ordinary graduation service. This is the first-ever graduating class of SPNTC Vanuatu Campus. Held in Eratap Church of the Nazarene with nearly two hundred people in attendance, it was standing room only. The family members, fellow students, and church body of five Port Vila churches were gathered to witness the three students as they received their certificates.

The missionary ladiesOne family member wept as she considered the accomplishment that her brother had made. The spirit of celebration translated into a fresh inspiration for other SPNTC students to continue their studies and reach the goal of graduation themselves.

Rev. Schmelzenbach in true form, acting out the role of the baby eagle!

Rev. Schmelzenbach in true form, acting out the role of the baby eagle!

The commencement address was given by Melanesia South Pacific Field Strategy Coordinator, Rev. Harmon Schmelzenbach, with DS Rev. Peter Isaac translating to Bislama. Rev. Harmon challenged the students and congregation with an image shared originally by GS Dr. David Busic from Deuteronomy 32:11 – encouraging them to spread their wings and fly, just as does a baby eagle.  He encouraged the graduates that God, like the mother eagle, is always with us and ready to lift us up when we need him, but that also like the baby eagle, we were never intended to stay forever in the nest.

The three new graduates will now continue in ministry with pastoring positions in churches in and around Port Vila. The students are almost always serving in leadership positions as they complete their courses – some as pastors, some as district leaders.

We give God the glory for the great things He is doing!  May this be just the first of many such graduations and deployments of new leaders into Kingdom service!

— Submitted: Sylvia Potter

— Edited by: Rebecca Moisio

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Todd & Connie Lou Aebischer

Todd and Connie Lou Aebischer served as Regional Communications Coordinator - Regional NMI Coordinator respectively for over 4 years. They are now serving in Papua New Guinea under Mission Aviation Fellowship as Country Director / Program Director.

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