Vanuatu, (pronounced vah-noo-ah-too) is a string of more than 80 islands in the South Pacific. Most of the islands are inhabited; some have active volcanoes. Vanuatu is mountainous and much of it is covered with tropical rain forests. Like most of the area, it is prone to earthquakes and tidal waves. Most of the people live in rural areas and practice subsistence agriculture. Local traditions are strong. The main sources of revenue are agriculture and eco-tourism. But ultimately Vanuatu is not about the geography or climate; it is about the Vanuatu people.

The people.

The people of Vanuatu are an intelligent and resourceful people. They have a strong sense of community and familial ties. Most people claim to be Christian but many are confused by their mixing of animism and incomplete Christian understanding. The Vanuatu people have a keen sense of the spiritual world but many do not have a true and helpful understanding of God as He shows Himself in the Bible. There are around 108 different languages spoken throughout the islands. Most of these people have no Bible in their primary language which makes them susceptible to the false teaching of cults who pass through.

Learn how the Bible transforms people's lives when it's written in a language they can clearly understand, and discover how many language groups are still waiting for their own translation.

his story. 

I didn’t grow up in a Jesus following family. In my early high school years, through the witness of one of my mother’s close friends, the Lord started to draw my mom to Himself. Eventually my mother dragged our whole family to church. Through the love and gospel teaching of that church, my entire family put our trust in Christ’s work on the cross!

I attended Bible college where I tried to pursue overseas ministry after graduating but the Lord had seemingly closed the door at that time. A clear opportunity opened up to serve youth and families at Grace Calvary Church in Ship Bottom, New Jersey. For the last 5 years this is where I have had the privilege to serve. I met my wife through serving in the youth ministry together. My family is now walking through a door that the Lord has now opened to the people of Vanuatu with Wycliffe Bible Translators.


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her story.

I trusted in Jesus when I was a teen, yet it wasn’t until I attended college in Philadelphia that I enjoyed real fellowship with other believers and intensional discipleship. The Lord used the transitional time of college as a time of deep conviction and growth. 

I graduated college with a Bachelor of Science and a focus in Interior Design.  I wasn't exactly ready for the mission field in the traditional sense.  However, a few years after working in the design field and moving back home to New Jersey, the Lord started to change my heart. Casey and I met, working together in the youth ministry in our church. Our relationship grew. Before we were engaged, he asked me if I’d be willing to possibly serve overseas if the opportunity arose.  A few years later and now with 2 sons, the Lord has opened up that opportunity for our family.

Transformation has the best chance when people can read or hear God’s word in their primary language; know what it means, and know how God wants to shape their thinking, attitudes, words and actions. If the people of Vanuatu don’t learn how to interact with God’s word and apply it to their lives the result will be boxes full of dusty translations! This is why we have joined Wycliffe. Our family is teaming up with another family who is already starting the translation aspect of this ministry while we hope to serve through discipleship and literacy development. 

 We look forward to being involved in:

  • Language and culture learning:
    • This will be the first step that the rest of our ministry will be built on. The beginning of our time in Vanuatu will be focused mostly on this foundational process.
  • Evangelism
  • Literacy development
  • One-on-one discipleship
  • Discipleship material development
  • Teaching ministry
  • Leadership training
Bible Translation is more than giving people a Bible in a language they can read – its about transformed lives!
    Us with the Richards family and Laura Thulsen who are heading up the translation aspect of the ministry.

    Us with the Richards family and Laura Thulsen who are heading up the translation aspect of the ministry.

If you're interested in learning more of what Casey and Valerie will be doing, read this article by Dr. Wayne Dye, professor at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas, TX. "The Eight Conditions of Scripture Engagement".

Wycliffe works all around the world. Currently our efforts serve languages spoken in more than 90 countries. The majority of the remaining translation needs represent minority languages—relatively small people groups, many of which struggle to maintain their identity in the shadow of majority culture. Often these groups have no written language of their own, and many struggle to gain the literacy skills they need to prosper in the majority culture.

The benefits of translation and literacy for these minority language groups are many. They include better health as a result of access to medical information, economic growth due to the acquisition of marketable skills, and the preservation of culture thanks to a written history. Most importantly, Bible translation brings people closer to God Himself—the One who transforms hearts.

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