Hitraty S. D. A. Church - Efate District
When words become action
The first quarter 2018 Sabbath School lesson about stewardship reminded members of the Hitraty Adventist church in Vanuatu that God owns every resource: our lives, money, gardens, and so forth.
Most of the Hitraty church members would plant gardens or root crops in their backyards and then pay tithe, in cash (estimate Nomo), only for their first harvest. Sometimes they paid nothing at all. Each year their harvests were getting smaller. Thieves also came and stole from their gardens, and they experienced other problems as well. Then they realized that in Malachi 3:10, God gave special instruction for His people to return a tenth of their earnings (harvest) to His storehouse. The people came to believe that they were robbing God because they never returned a tenth of their harvests to His “tithe house.”
The church, through their Adventist men’s group, decided to build a tithe house, where the villagers and church members could return a tenth of their crops to the house of God. The last time the church had a tithe house was in 2009/2010. It is also an approach to indirectly preach stewardship to the community of Mele & Melemaat, Vanuatu.
Church deacon Sam Willie, the Efate District Wealth fare leader, Northern Zone, Vanuatu, took the appeal seriously and decided to personally build the tithe house using his own money and experience as a maintenance officer. Sam believes that God has given us skills and money, and we should use them in His service. It took Sam two weeks to complete a simple and portable tithe house.
On March 11, 2018, the Hitraty church board agreed that all church members would come together for the dedication of the tithe house. The church minister, Lolet Worwor, conducted a special service, which was followed by an outdoor dedication ceremony held near the tithe house. The ribbon cutting was done by the head and assistant head elders, as well as the church intern minister, Saprina David. The tithe house was opened, and everyone brought in their tithes from their gardens and stored them in the tithe house. Minister Worwor did the prayer of dedication—with the support from the church elders— and declared the tithe house open and ready to be used.
A special collection of the food was given to the church ministers, and other items were priced by deacons and purchased by the church members. These funds were returned to the church as tithe paid to the Vanuatu Mission.
The church members praise God for this special tithe house. They believe that in the coming months they will be sharing testimonies of blessings received by community members who faithfully return their tithes to the storehouse of God. They also are challenging other local churches to build tithe houses and to encourage their members to return their tithe to the storehouse of God so that they, too, can enjoy the blessings from God.
Article written by Loleth Worwor, a member of the Hitraty S. D. A. Church