Rev. Gideon Iawaki appointed first local District Superintendent for Vanuatu District

Jun 7, 2024

A great milestone was reached for the Church of the Nazarene in Vanuatu when, during the 2023 District Assembly, Rev. Gideon Iawaki was appointed the first Ni-Vanuatu district superintendent for the Vanuatu District.

The church began in 2003 with Pioneer missionaries from the United States of America (USA), Rev David and Sylvia Potter, and their three boys, Joel, Jeffery, and Wesley. In 2006, the Isaacs’ from Papua New Guinea (PNG), Rev Peter and Jenny, with their three boys Bennett, Enrich, and Junior, heard the call for missions to come to Vanuatu. The Potters and the Issacs worked together with the people of Vanuatu to help grow the church. In 2007, the first district assembly was held with General Superintendent Dr. Jesse C. Middendorf appointing Rev. Peter Isaac as missionary DS. Rev. Isaac served as DS until November 9, 2023. During the district assembly this past year, Rev. Peter Isaac joyfully passed the mantle (leadership) to his local counterpart, Rev. Gideon Iawaki, when he was appointed the first Ni-Vanuatu district superintendent for Vanuatu District.

Just like the story of young Timothy and Paul in 2 Timothy 1:6-8, DS Gideon’s testimony on how he came to know the Lord focused on how he was encouraged not to be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord Jesus Christ. He was encouraged to fan into flame God’s gift by those pioneer missionaries who brought the doctrine of holiness to his island nation.

Reverend Gideon Iawaki Iakapas’s shared his personal Christian journey with God and how God had been at work in his life.

Iawaki is given to the Paramount chiefs in my village, and I was named after the paramount chief. My principal responsibility was to prepare Kava (a ceremonial drink that is drank during every ceremony) for the elders in the Nakamel (A place of gathering for man).

The chief I was named after said to me, “My namesake, you will not go to school and continue on. You will only go to school to learn to write your name, and when you know that, that is enough for you.” I went to school and reached class 3, and after that, my chief told me that was enough. So, I finished my education, and for the rest of my life, I stayed at home.

But I realized that life needs education and work when I grew up. I looked for a job in town, but most employers ask for a CV and my education level. I was feeling hopeless and useless. I thought I was not suitable for any job. But I thank God because he has a plan for me. One time, my dad gave me a Bible and a notebook. He wanted me to read the Bible and at the same time take note for anything I read that applies to my life. My father gave me a Bible verse, Jeremiah 1:5. “God told Jeremiah, I knew you before you were formed in the womb. Before you were born, I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Reading that passage, I knew God had a plan for me. I heard the call of God to do God’s work in 2005, but my life was not strong.

In 2007, my father was invited to attend the Black Sand Church of the Nazarene in Port Vila. My father also invited all my siblings and me to attend. Soon, we were taken as members of the church. In early 2008, I was enrolled in South Pacific Nazarene Theological College (SPNTC). I was also appointed NMI president of the local church. In 2009, I received my local preaching license.

I just want to thank my spiritual mentors. I regard them as my spiritual mom and dad, and they are the missionaries – Potters and Isaacs. They have done well to mentor and nurture me with the word of God to become more mature in my relationship with God. Thank you, my Global Church of the Nazarene family, for your prayers and support for the people or church in Vanuatu. I have faced many challenges in my life, but I thank God for everything He has done in my life because you have been praying for me and my people.

1 Peter 1:16 Be holy because I am holy.

Mathew 28: 16-20 Making Christlike disciples in the Nation.

Continue to pray for Vanuatu. We want to fight for holiness message to spread in our nation.”

District Superintendent Rev. Gideon Iawaki and his wife Aline have been married in the church of the Nazarene and they have two children, Dorline and John. Gideon and Aline have the gift of Apostolic ministry, and a mission heart and are powerful holiness preachers. Their greatest desire is for their people to know the real holiness message that we all know. They both have leadership and evangelism skills. God is using them powerfully in the church and we believe and pray that God will continue to do greater things in the church of the Nazarene in Vanuatu.

Alyza Muaki

Alyza Muaki is the Communications Coordinator for Melanesia - South Pacific Field.

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