Larne missionaries help typhoon-stricken island

William and Sarah Robinson are helping to rebuild the island of Saipan after a typhoon. INLT-26-700-con

William and Sarah Robinson are helping to rebuild the island of Saipan after a typhoon. INLT-26-700-con

A Larne missionary couple have flown over 7000 miles to aid a typhoon-stricken community on a remote island in Asia pacific.

The island of Saipan, which is the largest of the Northern Mariana islands at 12 miles long and 5.6 miles wide, is now home to Larne man William Robinson and his American-born wife Sarah.

The couple met when Sarah volunteered at Millbrook church of the Nazarene as part of her masters degree in Intercultural Studies from the Nazarene theological seminary in the USA.

Former Larne Grammar pupil William, who is a founding member of Millbrook Church of the Nazarene, said that the couple “have both felt lead to missions for a long time” and that they “jumped at the chance” to go to Saipan after receiving an email from the Church of the Nazarene’s headquarters in Kansas city.

The Millbrook church raised around $1000 to help the couple realise their trip to Saipan.

“We quit our jobs and God really opened up doorways and confirmed our decision,” William revealed.

“This is our first assignment as a married couple.

“We will be relieving a missionary couple who have lived here for 16 years as they travel to the United States to visit grandchildren.

“We will be taking over their roles of pastoring the church, assisting the elderly nearby, running teen youth retreats and children’s bible clubs.

The couples’ help will be invaluable to the small island, which was devastated by typhoon Soudelor in August 2015.

“There was no power for almost two months in parts, no water for three weeks,” William explained,

“Electronic communications affecting hospitals and banks where down.

“All houses that where not concrete structures, over 50 per cent, where severely damaged.

“Rebuilding has been very slow.

“Those who where poor in the first place are now even poorer trying to get back on their feet.

“Our main objective is to ‘love on’ the people here.”