TuMa and I are so grateful to be working alongside such a diverse collection of individuals on our staff team, each with varying skills and interests. This year we’ve had the privilege of seeing our co-staff, Nanise Rainima, represent Fiji in the 67th Miss World 2017 Beauty with a Purpose Pageant. Though we miss her, our hearts and our prayers are with her all the way!
Every year teams made up of students and staff plan a week-long ‘Mission Project’ to different universities and tertiary institutions within Fiji and neighboring countries. This year our destinations included Suva, Nadi, Samoa and Tonga! TuMa joined the Tonga team while I joined the Nadi project team.
Nadi (FNU Namaka Campus)
For some, raising funds for the mission trip was a faith barrier they overcame, and others simply sharing the gospel to strangers was beyond them. Some students shared that stepping out of their cultural comfort zones and sharing with ethnic Indian students (most of whom are either Hindu or Muslim) was something they never dreamt of doing; even though nearly half the population of Fiji are of Indian descent.
The sharing was exciting and they were really intrigued as what we were sharing. I have felt that I just conquered one of my greatest challenges. What motivated me the most was that early the next morning, while we were still having our training, I received a text from one of the Hindu friends saying that he was really motivated by our sharing and that he was thankful about it. He was thinking of making a really big “change” in his life. I was really inspired by this and this boosted my willingness to go out and reach more, touch more lives and save more souls for Christ.
Praise the Lord for just enough students on the Namaka campus for the project students to not only focus on their comfort-zone iTaukei but also our ethnic Indian brothers and sisters.
Another student, Pita, shared that his faith barrier was not ‘stranger oriented’ but in sharing with an old friend from high-school. One whom he used to get up to a lot of mischief with back in the days. This was of course, if the Lord allowed their paths to meet again in Nadi.
Our last day on campus ended with a combine fellowship and a game of touch and volleyball with the Namaka students. This was it, Pita thought, but just as he got onto the playing field, he spotted his old mate on the sideline and knew instantly the tugging on his heart was an indication to quit the game, go over and say hi. The ‘hi’ turned into a late lunch catch-up and gospel presentation by Pita, to his friends’ surprise. Pita was honored that day to be the Lord’s vessel in leading his old mate to Christ.
Tonga Missions Project
“It’s not about the label; Navigators, or Cru, or CF. When we gather on Mondays for our Connexion on campus, it’s just a group of believers that want to worship God together”.
I’ve really felt the presence of God while being a part of the outreach and trainings this week. My parents try to discourage me from coming, they don’t really understand the reason why I’m doing what I’m doing but that’s okay. I know this is what God’s called me to do and I know it pleases Him. That’s all that matters.
Overall Mission Projects Stats
467 exposed to the Gospel
- Suva – 53
- Nadi – 144
- Tonga – 120
- Samoa – 150
365 presentations of the “Knowing God Personally” booklet.
162 decisions to follow Christ.
USP’s ban on the ministry work on campus stands despite our efforts in requesting the ban be lifted. Our senior staff and ministry board members continue to seek other avenues to address not only the issue of the ban but more so the USP Religious policy that was enacted in Nov 2016.
Regardless of the policy, students continue to meet for Bible studies, fellowship and training, most of which now happens off campus either at McDonald’s over a cup-a-tea or soft serve ice cream or at our office a 15 min walk or 5 min bus ride away from USP. We thank the Lord for providing these opportunities to meet with students.
What may seem an obstacle has actually opened up the minds of our staff to explore more creative alternatives of reaching Students apart from going on campus. The Judea Express was a suggested alternative where we hope to reach Students living in accommodations just outside of USP.
Pictured below was one such opportunity that Judith was a part of where a couple of older Student Life members (Student Leaders) from Fiji and Vanuatu were encouraged to share the gospel to a group of girls living in a house located not far from USP. More than 15 girls were present from Vanuatu, Solomon Is and Fiji and heard the gospel presented along with a testimony.
In our previous January newsletter we were anticipating two upcoming events; Staff Conference and a Vanuatu trip.
What a way to begin the year with a week long time spent with our regional staff from Fiji, PNG, Guam, NZ based regional staff, and the US. We also had Rose from the Solomon Is and Veronica from Tonga who have both applied to join staff but have yet to serve their two year bonds in their individual countries.
Highlights from the Conference include:
- Morning sessions working through the 10 growth indicators in the Book of Jonah with Mark Yardbrugh.
- Afternoon couching sessions with Marc Rutter (Cru HR) developing skills in the area of practically guiding conversations to get desired outcomes (couching).
- Commissioning our first mission team to Samoa a group comprising Soi & Fataki from Tonga with their three sons and Sera Tuiyalani from Fiji.
- And last but not least, getting to meet staff from around the region.
Time in Vanuatu
Right after Staff Conference, there was an opportunity to head back home (Vanuatu) mainly to tie off lose ends at both Judith’s old work places but also to actually meet in person those of you supporting us in ministry and tell you a bit about what’s been happening. We were so grateful for this opportunity and loved meeting with you. For those we weren’t able to meet we hope to catch you next time. Please do let us know when you are in Suva.
Not until half way through the school semester are we finally getting into a regular routine in life consisting of staff meetings, appointments with students, new staff training, family functions and house and yard attending. We had hoped to move to Suva at the beginning of this year but with the way things have panned out have decided to stay a while longer here at Pacific Harbour, and enjoying coming back to the calm and quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of Suva.
Our new work year began on January 2nd as we dove right into an intense yet very rewarding two weeks of theological studies. We were both privileged to be a part of John Majors and Mike Sense’s class of Biblical Interpretation and Communication; learning the intricacies of interpreting a passage of scripture and then developing it so that we could deliver a lecture. Phew! What a way to start the year. We are thankful and praise the Lord for growing us in these areas the past two weeks.
Encouraged to see Nicky one of the guys that I got to disciple for a semester while he was here in Fiji doing the same back in the States. He posted this on his Instagram.
Encourage. Invest. Pour into. repeat. I’ve had other people encourage, invest and pour into me and I’m glad I’ve got to do a little bit of that for you guys. Don’t forget to pass it on to others!
Never stop encouraging, investing, pouring into God’s people.
Our Digital Strategies team have just sent through a report on an online campaign Cru Fiji was a part of in the month of July.
We were glad we could be a part of it and blessed by so many stories from around the world of discipleship. One of the stories we really enjoyed was of Josiah. Josiah grew up in the Amazon completely convinced that he was luckiest kid on Earth, but when tragedy struck at the age of 13, God revealed to him a much greater identity.
“Someday I’m going to be gone… but who am I going to leave? I want to leave a generation of disciples who will make disciples better than I did” Josiah Huber.
A few weeks before our wedding, Judith invited me to a Scripture Union camp for kids. It was to be her last camp before moving over to campus ministry. We had an awesome time with the kids. I’ve found that one of the joys of living and working in a small place like Port Vila is the opportunity to work with and alongside other ministries. It’s a blessing to rub shoulders with people serving under different umbrella organisations; Scripture Union, Youth with a Mission (YWAM), Christian fellowship, Bible translators and other missionaries. During my short time there God has reminded me of how he uses us all in different ways but with the same objective, to help fulfill the Great Commission – to make disciples of all nations. I can honestly say that one of the highlights for me was simply “guys’ fellowship”; where we’d meet on a Tuesday night, read a passage of scripture and just break-off into talking about the “big questions” in life… in BISLAMA! [laughs] God is so good. I feel that God has been teaching me to be more practical with my faith and not to limit ministry to students on university campuses but to be open to opportunities that present themselves everyday. Not by going out on the streets and giving out tracts but by learning to love people more and being sensitive to their circumstances. More than that; offering to lend a hand.
I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to share such exciting news. Judith and I [finally] got married on Saturday 21st May at Joy Memorial Chapel in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Thank you for your continued prayers and support, the day was truly one that we will never forget and one of many fond memories.
Church was packed to the rafters and it was such a joy to see a large contingent from Fiji fly over to be part of the celebration. I was especially happy that my older brother was able to come in all the way from Afghanistan. What a pleasant surprise!
I don’t think we can really begin to express how overwhelmed at how smoothly everything progressed; only that God is faithful and that he was with us every step of the way.