Monday, 31 October 2011

blackbirding... what the news won't tell you

Much to my shame "blackbirding" didn't mean much to me when I first arrived in Vanuatu. I had a hunch... but was ignorant.

It's been in the news a little recently. See here, here and here.

It's part of the national psyche here. One of the local football teams is called the "blackbirds". The Church of Christ in town has a boarding house called "suga-ken" (sugar cane).

We were at that Church of Christ a few years ago with a student. There is a large white monument on the lawn. I asked the student what it was for. He said it was to remember the blackbirds. Being ignorant, with a feeling it might be something about which I ought to be ashamed, I pressed for more information. Why was there a monument to the blackbirds on the church lawn?

Because, he said, as if everybody should know, they brought the gospel back with them.

There you are. It's not the only way, or the first way, that the gospel came to the New Hebrides, but it was a significant way. It reminds me of Joseph's words to his brothers about when they sold him into slavery;

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20

1 comment:

Little Em said...

I like the "translation" at the end...

CHOIR (singing): You, me one fella, big fella family, family belong God.