Sailing to Serve

By Rachel Greco

While here in the United States we enjoyed the changing colors of autumn and celebrated Thanksgiving, Jim and Gina Nie and their two children, Colton and Niki, sailed across shimmering azure waters among the group of approximately 80 islands known as the nation of Vanuatu, where over 70 languages are spoken. The family’s mission: to deliver much-needed provisions and building materials to the Dieringer family who serve as Scripture-engagement workers on the tiny island of Mota Lava.

This was the first far-flung foray for the Nie’s boat, Sweet Dreams, since it collided with an unmarked reef about 25 months ago. The family has spent the interim time making the boat livable and sailable once more. On their way to Mota Lava, they actually sailed by the wreck site and, according to Gina, “said a prayer of gratitude for all the support over these past months.” Then they “promptly turned the boat, put it to stern, and sailed onward!”

This family is thrilled to again be able to aid those who serve the Lord in the remote places of the world by delivering their goods and building materials. On their way to the Dieringer family in Mota Lava, the Nies stopped off in Malekula to visit the Miles-Fannings who work there as translators, currently developing a dictionary for the Naqahai language.

The Nies and the Dieringers

The Miles-Fannings live in an exceptionally remote area, with no other translation team nearby. They see other teams about once a year, depending on when they return to Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, or when another team travels to them. To reach Port Vila, where they buy their supplies, the family must first take a two-three hour ride in a small fiberglass boat to the closest airstrip, since, as Alison Miles-Fanning explains, “There are no roads around here.” They then fly in a small plane the rest of the way to the capital.

The Nies with the Miles-Fanning Family

Needless to say, they were ecstatic to see their friends the Nies again and receive the five boxes of food and other necessities the Nies brought them.

After a night of food and refreshment, the Nies sailed north to visit the Dieringers and help finish their house. For six months the Dieringer family had been living in a local bamboo house while some staff from the organization Build Aid built them a more permanent house.

Unloading Cargo at Mota Lava

“Our time in Mota Lava was ACTION PACKED!” Gina declares. “Once anchored, [our] attention turned to offloading cargo [which consisted of about 80 boxes] and making our way ashore, which wasn’t for the faint of heart.” While there, the Nies stayed busy. They fabricated and hung screen doors—including a cat door—installed privacy curtains and clothing hangers to help keep clothing dry, crafted shelving for the kitchen, installed a few mirrors, organized the pantry, and entertained the Dieringer’s three young girls.

The Nie men working hard on some doors

Praise God! With support from JAARS, the Nies are able to be the hands and feet to the body of Christ who serve in some of the most inaccessible places in the world!

Check out more about our budding maritime service and other transportation solutions here and how you too can be the hands and feet to the body of Christ.