Sunday, 11 December 2011

Going forward home

Our time in Fiji has come to an end! It was a great time of learning and ministry for all of us! We were able to learn so much about living in Fiji. Most of our time there we stayed on a YWAM base in Labasa. The weather there was very hot, reaching about 90 degrees by 10am. It also rained nearly every single day. Our way of transportation was mainly walking or a crowded bus. Because we are all white, we were like celebrities there. It is not often that a non-tourist town saw white people, especially a team of them. We were constantly being watched, greeted, and once a lady even asked to have her picture taken with us! We got to eat all sorts of interesting Fijian foods…and we often (by often, I mean every time we ate) heard the phrase “kana vakalevu” which means “eat big”! The Fijian culture is very big on hospitality, which includes making heaps of food and expecting your guests to kana vakalevu!  Along with Fijians, there is a very large Indian culture in Fiji, which brings the Hindu religion into Fiji. I was actually surprised as to how many Indians live in Fiji…in places it seems like they outnumbered the Fijians! Fiji is a third world nation and so poverty is pretty much everywhere. It was interesting though because poverty is so widespread that it just seems to be the norm…not really looked at as poverty.
We did all sorts of ministry there.  A few times we went door to door in an Indian village. They all welcomed us in and were eager to hear what we had to say. Many teams led people to Christ and saw how excited they were about being free from Hinduism. Many people said they felt trapped in Hinduism because of parents, spouses, etc. Several of them claimed to agree with what we would say, but would then respond with something along the lines of “yes but all religions are the same…all gods are the same”. Perfect examples about how it can be very difficult to break down the walls of deception.
We went to the local hospital a few times and would go to the patients and pray for them and their families. The hospitals were shocking. Very crowded, dirty and extremely hot. There were four beds to a small room and all would be filled with sick children or new mothers with their newborns. It was really interesting because there were several Indian/Hindu families in the hospital that were really eager for us to pray for them and/or their sick child. It’s like they knew there was power in what we would pray…something they do not have outside of Jesus. So those were really interesting opportunities and it was a great way to encourage the families there.
We were also really involved with a couple of the churches there. We would share messages, testimonies and do skits at Sunday services and youth groups. We got to pray for people and spend a lot of time in fellowship.
For our last week there we spent 5 days in a remote village. This was quite the experience! There was no electricity, no running water, no proper showers, and we were in the middle of nowhere! There were heaps of mosquitoes and several times we had to hike through knee-deep mud to get to our ministry places. It was a pretty intense time for all of us, but by God’s Grace we made it through! We got to spend so much time with the kids there who absolutely adored us…it was really precious! One night we all separated and stayed with a family in the village. They were so excited to have us in their village that they wanted to host us for a night. That was really cool! We did children’s ministry, youth group, and 2 Sunday services while we were in the village. We were pretty exhausted by the end of our stay, but so glad we got to spend time there!
We returned from Fiji on Dec. 9 after spending 4 weeks there.
And l I can’t believe I’m typing this….but this is the last week of my time in Australia. It is so hard to believe I will be coming home in one week. It is even so exciting to be back in Australia after spending two months in New Zealand and Fiji. I didn’t realize how much this place really has become like home to me. As excited as I am to be coming home in a week, it is going to be really hard to leave Newcastle and all the wonderful people who have become like family to me. It is hard to imagine what my life is going to be like without the team I have spent every day with for the past five and a half months. We are all really excited to go on with where our lives are taking us: some are returning to or starting college, doing missions in Thailand, and joining YWAM. God has grown us all so much from when we started DTS. For me personally, I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would have during my time in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. When I reflect on the past couple of years of my life…I am truly awed by where God has brought me from. A girl who once lived life only to please herself has been redeemed by our Great and Mighty God to a life with Jesus Christ. I tell you I have never been more thankful for the Grace the Jesus offers each and every one of us. Two years ago I would never in my wildest dreams pictured myself traveling around the world as a missionary! But that just goes to show how Powerful God is. There is nothing special about me, nothing I could have done to deserve this. I simply prayed: “God, use me for something Big” and He heard my prayer and led me to do things even bigger than I ever could have imagined (Ephesians 3:20). All I had to be was willing. He loves us all so much, it is impossible to even grasp…and He is calling every single one of us to Love Him with everything we have to give. He does not require us to sit in church every Sunday, grudgingly offer our money, memorize the Bible, or try to do “the right thing” all the time. That was the law that Jesus Christ set us free from. God simply wants all of our heart, all of who we are…devoted to Him every day. That’s what this life is about-Loving God and His people…and giving all the Glory to Him. I don’t know who is even reading this blog right now, and I don’t know where you are in your faith…but I want to encourage you to think outside of yourself…forget about how little is in your power and recognize what a Loving, Gracious, and Holy God created You. Living a life to glorify Christ is one decision I can promise you will never regret. He will take you places you never even dreamed of…and show you a Love that can’t even be put into words. I am beyond grateful to have known this at 21 years old and I look forward to the rest of my life in front of me.  I’m very excited to not be going back home, but to be going forward home. I don’t know what my future will hold, but I know it will be Good…because that is the God I serve and He has shown me that in ways that are undeniable. He wants to show you too…what are you waiting for!?

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
Romans 5:1-2

If you want to see all of my pictures from Fiji you can just click the following links: