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by Paul Kearns

As a young person, you probably feel like you are being pulled in various directions. Indeed, today’s world is a busy one and young people find themselves in this chaotic environment which can lead to us becoming overwhelmed with stress and make us feel that we can never “chill out”. This busy life can create anxiety and make you feel like you can never get ahead, it can contribute to a poor diet and can prevent us from engaging in meaningful activities.

Let me share with you some valuable lessons I learned while in a place that was refreshingly slower paced!


After visiting Church members in Vanuatu, upon reflection, there were three main things that I felt that I learned during my time there.

Firstly, I had it confirmed to me that many of us are too busy for our own good in “developed” countries. There is certainly nothing wrong with hard work. In fact, God encourages us to be hard workers (Ecclesiastes 9:10). If you are still at school, God expects you to give it everything you’ve got! However, if we are working hard in a disproportionate manner when compared to other more important areas of our life, this can lead to our downfall. Our emotional and mental state – and particularly our spiritual state – needs to be catered for or else we will become unraveled and less effective in our job or studies.

The Vanuatu brethren showed me that it was okay to take “time out” and briefly sit down and relax when the opportunity presented itself. Oftentimes, I would just sit in their company, not so much as saying a word, and hence have time to meditate and think on things. Indeed, God wants us to set aside time to THINK! Whether it be meditating on His laws (Psalm 1:1-2), thinking on good and uplifting things (Philippians 4:8), or merely taking some “time out” to regain your thoughts, I learned that it is not only important but it is NECESSARY to stop and meditate productively (as opposed to daydreaming!) when we have the opportunity to do so.

Secondly, I learned how good it is to eat fresh fruit that was picked straight off a tree! Whether it was a banana, mango, paw-paw, wild nuts, or even a cacao fruit (which had the most unique taste!), I just felt healthier eating fresh fruit. Eating unprocessed food the “village way” reflects, I believe, how God originally intended food to be consumed (cf. Genesis 1:29-30) and will undoubtedly contribute to keeping you in good health (3 John 1:1-2). Perhaps ask your parents if you can plant a fruit tree in your back yard.

Finally, I learned that I need to look at the stars more. In our modern cities that are dominated by artificial lights, we can forget about the stars above us. I crawled out of my hut one night to see the stars and the dense lights that illuminated the night sky sent shivers done my spine. I immediately thought of King David who was doing the same thing thousands of years ago (Psalm 8:1-9), which helped him maintain his focus on how great God was and how insignificant – in comparison – he was. Have you ever looked at the stars through a telescope? It’s awesome!

So, my final thought is this – while it is important to work hard, study hard, and be driven for success, don’t fall in to the trap of being too busy with “life.” Take “time out” out of your schedule to meditate on God and His ways and even schedule in an evening or two per month to look up at the stars on a clear night. Make sure your diet is a healthy one and avoid too many processed foods. These are just a few ways we can apply the positive aspects of village life in our busy, western world and reap the blessings and benefits from it!

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