This is Marie and–you guessed it–baby Steve. This 6-month-old bundle of joy lives with his family in a Merei speaking village deep in the bush on the island of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. I’d never heard of Vanuatu until Survivor did a season there. It is an island nation in the Pacific.
Sometime yesterday, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck the sea floor northwest of the Vanuatu capital of Port Vila. Earthquakes are a common hazard for Vanuatu, which experienced at least three last year gauged above magnitude 7 in its nearby waters. The archipelago nation consists of about 82 islands, which are home to about 220,000 people.
Vanuatu is towards the southwestern end of the Pacific “ring of fire” which has seen several severe earthquakes over the past year, including last week’s 9.0 magnitude quake off the coast of Japan, two earthquakes in the New Zealand city of Christchurch with magnitudes 7.1 and 6.3, and the 8.8 magnitude 2010 Chile earthquake.
There’s something happening in Steve’s village that will probably shake his world more significantly than this earthquake could. Let me explain:
Steve’s daddy, Norman, is the minister for their village and the primary Bible translator in that language community, working with Adam & Hester Pike on the Merei Scriptures. In fact, in the background of the photo, you can see women weaving ‘roof tiles’ for the new translation office that the whole community is pitching in to build.
Baby Steve is a part of the first generation of Merei speakers who will grow up knowing what it’s like to read God’s message and be able to understand it.
How cool is that?!