Finding contentment in Vanuatu

Poverty showed Elisha Hammond what having plenty means

Elisha Hammond
NEW FOCUS: Elisha Hammond

Once, I thought all there was to life was a mundane routine. All my struggles, chaos and problems on repeat every day.

Nothing was interesting and nothing had real purpose.

My grades began to drop because I saw no point in trying to do well in subjects I didn't like.

I began to hurt others because I was jealous of what they had and acted out in my envy.

I wasn't willing to face the ugly truth: I didn't know where I was headed, and to be perfectly honest, I didn't really care.

Even though I had committed myself to Jesus when I was young, I wasn't reading my Bible or praying for His help.

Once a year, I would go to a youth camp that we often termed a 'recharger' because it was like making a fresh start. But after a month I would start to slip back into my old habits.

Something had to change, or I'd always be this way and I'd go crazy!

At a time where I was at my lowest, I was given the opportunity to go on a trip to Vanuatu to share about the salvation Jesus offers to us.

On our first day in the jungle it became apparent that I needed to depend on God for strength.

During those 20 days I faced some of my worst fears (I have a deadly phobia of spiders!), met some of my best friends and learnt some of my most important lessons.

Whenever we went to a new village to sing songs and talk to people about Jesus, they would put on a great feast. This often meant that the villagers would kill their precious chickens to feed us.

I remember thinking about what a privilege it was to have our luxurious meals back home and how generous these people were. How could they give so much to complete strangers?

Even more surprising was how happy the people were in their giving. They did everything with such enthusiasm and joy – even their cleaning was done with gusto!

“They did everything with such enthusiasm and joy”It was so different to the miserable life I lead at home. They were so joyful to have a hut to clean, vegetables to cook, a family to serve, that they were content in their work. God had provided, so they had nothing more to want after.

Considering the fact that I had a lot more yet still felt miserable, really taught me to be thankful and content in what I had.

I was a child of God, and that was all I would ever need. Seeing how people were content with nothing because they were made clean before God forced me to focus once more on Him.

I began to devote my time to helping others rather than myself. My wise old Dad once told me, "To become content, you must take your eyes off yourself and let God direct them to where He wants you to go."

I'm still learning, but each day it gets a little easier. God took away the mundane and boring and gave me contentment!

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