Late Norman Wiles receives another Family Tribute after 96 Years

March 11, 2016 by  
Filed under News

The sacrifice of Norman and Alma Wiles has long been a legend in the Australian and Vanuatu Mission history. The Wiles were one of the first few Christian missionaries ever to be sent to the notorious island of Malekula, especially the North Western part of the island. Malekula had the ungodly reputation of being the most primitive of all the islands in the country. Norman and Alma Wiles arrived here in the New Hebrides in 1915, their home for some months were with the Parkers in a duplex on the little island of Atchin. Here they shared the missionary work and explored the openings on Malekula and later set up the first mission on the village of Matanvat.

In 1918, Norman and Alma returned to Sydney Sanitarium to regain their health. Recovered and hopeful, they returned to the New Hebrides in January, 1920, but Norman sadly passed away on May 5th, 1920 at 10.00am on the lonely village of Tanmaru on Northwest Malekula.

In 1969 Alma returned to Malekula and visited the grave site of her beloved husband, with her sister in-law Vida Harris. Vida’s daughter, Zelma Edwards, recalled, “My mother, Norman Wiles sister, had never been to Malekula. She wanted to go there with Auntie Alma to see the grave site of Uncle Norman, and they eventually did that.”

Today, almost 96 years later, Zelma Edwards will set foot in Vanuatu to travel down to Malekula to visit the lonely grave site of her beloved uncle, Norman Wiles. Zelma is accompanied by her daughter Janelle, son in-law Ronald Boothby and her two grandchildren, Angie and Ron. Whilst it is a very short trip, it is a very important occasion and a historical tribute. Late Wiles only living descendant, Zelma Edwards, who is currently over 88 years old, is so determined to travel this historical trek that was once traveled by Norman and Alma. She intends to go and pay her last respect to her beloved uncle, who gave up his life for our people, 96 years ago on the shores of Malekula.

Wiles with Angie Zelma and Janelle on San Antonio, TX USA

Wiles Memorial Singers with Angie, Zelma and Janelle at the Lila Cockrell Theatre, San Antonio, TX USA

Wiles Memorial Singers is coordinating this historical tour. Our members, Richard Edwin and Graham Uzakana will be accompanying the team to Malekula. We praise God and we’re honored to host this historical visit and carry on this legacy until we’re reunited with our beloved ones at that Golden Morning.

Angie and younger brother Ron with their beloved grandmother Zelma Edwards, enjoying Australia. Doing a special family trip to see everywhere their ancestors lived. Their next destination is Port Vila, then onto Malekula!

Angie and younger brother Ron with their beloved grandmother Zelma Edwards, enjoying Australia.
Doing a special family trip to see everywhere their ancestors lived.
Their next destination is Port Vila, then onto Malekula!

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