Elder Tanner Tupou from Australia thought his Aussie roots would guarantee him an easy mission in a big city “and an air conditioned Toyota Corolla.” He was stunned, and not in a good way, when he read the words “Fiji Suva Mission, with assignment to Vanuatu.”
“I never wanted to serve anywhere but Australia, I couldn’t imagine anything worse than mosquito ridden survival treks and third world living in the blistering sun. I had hoped that my craziest mission experience would be riding a push bike in a suit”.
He accepted the call and arrived in Vanuatu just after Cyclone Yasi. Tupou said, “On exiting the plane, the extreme humidity and heat was no welcome party, but I knew this would be my home for the next two years, so I had to get used to it and make the best of it.”
The Church in Vanuatu was very different from his large ward in Sydney. “Often we would be running a small branch or helping to build, something or other, this was a pioneering mission in a district, not a stake, and just as I thought, no air-conditioning, but I got used to it”.
Just as soon as he got comfortable in Vanuatu, he was transferred to the even smaller island of Tanna. This island contained just six missionaries, who looked after 4 branches.
It wasn’t long before a tall, shoeless, Ni Vanuatu (local) man arrived at their home. “Missionaries, my name is Issac and I am the unit leader for Green Point.”