Photo: Jackson is a chaplain to students at Vanuatu’s Londua Bombua School.
Londua Bombua School in Vanuatu isn’t just a quality technical education and business management school — they also offer a holistic Christian education to their students.
Jackson, as chaplain, works alongside the school pastor to provide pastoral care, teach lessons, and help students manage their spiritual life. He also oversees chapel services.
“We do devotions, Sunday services, counselling the students, praying with the sick,” Jackson says. “I also find out about every student and the situations they are facing – that’s a lot of work.”
The Vanuatu Ministry of Education provides the curriculum for classes and Jackson, “makes sure what is taught is supported by the Bible.” The Ministry of Education encourages schools across Vanuatu to have a chaplain.
“I think that is important to maintain the motto of the country – In God We Stand,” Jackson says.
In schools that don’t have a chaplain, Jackson has observed some differences in student behaviour. “Because there is a chaplain in a school, this builds up respect, honesty and Christian behaviour in students,” he says. “I see that my role helps the children.”
Jackson wants to see that Christian education is taught well and that all the students receive a foundation of Christian belief.
The Londua Bombua School only has a few permanent buildings. This is one of the challenges that Jackson faces. Many children board at the school, meaning much of the space has to serve multiple purposes, for the children’s living and educational needs.
After the Manaro Voui volcano erupted the second time in 2018, Londua Technical College moved from Ambae to Santo, and merged with the Bombua School. This meant the number of students using the facilities grew quickly, increasing their need to rely on temporary structures.
“When there is rain, we can’t have classes,” Jackson explains. “And on a Sunday when we meet for chapel, we remove the dining room table and chairs for worship. It would be my prayer to have a separate chapel.”
The buildings in the coastal school are vulnerable to damage from cyclones, like Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015 and, more recently, Cyclone Harold. This means maintenance is an ongoing challenge. Despite this struggle, Jackson continues to encourage, guide and care for students after the traumatic events of the volcano and Cyclone Harold.
GMP supports the presence of a chaplain at Londua Bombua School.
Article first published by Global Mission Partners’ In Partnership newsletter. Read more stories at www.gmp.org.au