Update on Tonga Volcano

The following update on the recent volcanic eruption in Tonga was provided by the Asia-Pacific Christadelphian Bible Mission. Please keep our brothers and sisters in your prayers.

Update on Tonga Volcano
17 January 2022

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This is a brief update from Bro Alan Struckman, our Tonga Area contact, on the recent undersea volcanic eruption with tsunami significantly affecting Tonga.

Kingdom of Tonga – Undersea volcanic eruption with tsunami

As reported in the news recently, the Kingdom of Tonga has once again experienced volcanic activity (undersea) in the area, but this time the volcanic eruption and resultant tsunami was significant – Saturday 15 January, late afternoon. There was much flooding on the northern coastal margin of the mainland (swamped residential areas) and some of the smaller neighbouring islands totally swamped.

Currently there are four brothers and sisters living in Tonga, Bro Dicky and Bro Ralph living on the mainland (Tongatapu) and Bro Manase and his wife Sis Talitha and three children, living on an outlying island (Utu Vavaʻu). It is understood that Sis Talitha is currently doing some seasonal work in Australia. Brother Dicky has wife Lisia and three children.

Around 2pm on Saturday 15 January, contact was made with Bro Dicky. He reported that heavy clouds of volcanic ash covered the mainland on Friday. He also mentioned that due to the larger volcanic eruption they had received a tsunami warning on Saturday, to take precaution and stay away from coastal zones. Both Bro Dicky and Bro Ralph live more inland, away from the coastal margin.

Late afternoon on Saturday, Tonga received much of the tsunami flooding and as a result all communication networks went out of service and is currently the status quo, but remedial work is now in progress. With communication networks down, we have not been able to make any further contact with any of the brothers or sisters in Tonga.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade reported Sunday 3pm that “there were no official reports of deaths or injuries in Tonga, but communications remain limited”.

It appears that the Island of Utu Vavaʻu, where Bro Manase and family live, was also less affected by tsunami flooding.

We are continuing to attempt to make contact with our brothers and sisters to understand their wellbeing and needs. We ask that our brothers and sisters of Tonga be remembered in prayer.

With love in our Lord,

Ken Pooley
ACBM National Secretary 
Email: secretary@acbm.org.au 
Mobile: +61 421 357 392

Three New Sisters in L.A. Hispanic Ecclesia

With great joy we report the baptisms of 3 new sisters in Christ. On September 4, 2021, Phoebe Cuadra, daughter of Sis. Edyth Melgar and great-granddaughter of Bro. Carlos and Sis. Margarita Perez, was immersed into the saving name of Jesus. Phoebe developed a great love for the Scriptures while growing up in our Sunday school and CYC. She is one of probably very few Christadelphians to have received the right hand of fellowship from their great- grandfather—while sitting beside him in a Zoom meeting!

Then on October 2nd we had the pleasure of baptizing two long-time students, Edith Bolaños and Cecilia Maldonado. Each had spent 10 years faithfully doing postal courses and having telephone Bible classes. They are delighted to be part of the family of the faith. It has been wonderful to welcome three new members into our meeting and the worldwide Christadelphian community. May God bless and guide them in their walk to the kingdom.

Written by Bro. Jim Hunter, Link Brother

Cost Rica Study Weekend

I had been putting off this trip for quite a while—a year, in fact. With all of the restrictions brought about by COVID, and “Do Not Travel” advisories on the American Embassy website in Costa Rica, I decided to hold off visiting the country. In fact, I was able to participate in the Costa Rican Virtual Year-end Conference in December through Zoom, that amazing application we didn’t even know existed two years ago. However, although there is still an advisory in effect, I decided that since I am vaccinated, and the curve is definitely on the way down in Costa Rica, it was time to visit the brothers and sisters in person instead of virtually. The trip was much easier than I expected, and the airport and airline did a wonderful job to make travel as pleasant as possible. And the Costa Ricans were as warm and accommodating as always.

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Revisiting Jamaica

Returning to Jamaica seventeen months after finishing our two year stay in was a bittersweet experience. My husband David and I were overjoyed to see our friends again, but our time was over far too quickly. As anyone who has ever uprooted to live in a new place knows, you leave a piece of your heart behind when you say goodbye to the people you’ve grown to love. We never expected to be away so long, but the arrival of Covid on the worldwide scene was an unanticipated barrier to travel after we landed in the US in early March 2020, just ahead of massive lockdowns in both countries. 

Bro. David, Sis. Shauba, Sis. Alissa and Sis. Milred in Port Maria

Over those long months while we adjusted to a more isolated lifestyle, I did my best to keep in touch with my ecclesial family in Jamaica.  Several of our sisters in isolation in the Port Maria area became my close friends while we lived there, so we kept in touch regularly during lockdown. We were able to encourage, comfort and advise each other during the rapidly changing, anxiety-inducing progress of the pandemic. Whenever my energy for communication was flagging, I could always count on Sister Carol Bingham from the Broughton ecclesia to reach out to me and see how I was doing. Even when calls had trouble going through, she would keep trying until she got through to me, and that diligence warmed my heart. 

Continue reading “Revisiting Jamaica”