A youth group for adults

The Bula Blog Team

Anna Wilkinson
Year 13, Fiji mission

Bula!

After sixteen days in Fiji, I woke up in Suva and packed my bag ready for our homestay. Trucks filled with other homestay groups started to leave and it was sad saying goodbye to everyone. Even though it was only going to be five days apart, it felt like a lifetime, as we have been constantly together serving God for over two weeks. I am part of the Navua homestay group and we headed out on the bus around two hours west of Suva. Some of us had good conversations with the locals on the bus and I was really encouraged to see God working through our team already!

We arrived in this beautiful, colourful little town situated alongside a river. We headed for Wasaki’s house (the minister or 'tala tala') in the back of utes which locals call ‘carriers’. It’s so much fun sitting in the back bumping along. We split into homestay pairs and went to meet the family that we would be spending time with for the next five days. "¨"¨

Brenna and I stayed with a Fijian-Indian family. We met Bramhan who told us to call her ‘Aunty’ and her husband Edward, daughter Dorris and granddaughter Calina. They seemed really lovely and offered us some food. We rested and started to get to know them. Although it was a bit awkward to start with, with language barriers and cultural differences proving challenging, it did get easier as the week went along. We shared fish curry for dinner but the family didn’t eat with us and waited for us to finish before they ate. "¨"¨

We went to youth group on Friday night and we managed to pull together a program moments before it began! Josh spoke, we taught them some new games and had discussion groups. Fijians don’t usually have discussion groups, so it was a great time to get to know the youth in the area and break down the points Josh has made in his talk. It went really well! God really showed me that He was in control and had His hand over what we were doing - even when it felt like we weren’t really prepared! "¨"¨

The following day Aunty served us an ‘Australian Breakfast’. You could tell she was trying to serve us and help us feel at home. I was amazed at her servant-heartedness! "¨"¨

We then headed to Kids Club, which was a lot of fun. We learnt memory verses and taught songs, games and a Bible story. But it started raining, so our afternoon ministry was cancelled. Sometimes on mission we wished we had more to do, but maybe God was giving us time to rest and build relationships with our families. I’m beginning to understand the large importance that Fijians place on relationships - often it’s not the program we run that will have the most impact, rather it’s the relationships we build. "¨"¨

On Saturday night some of us were invited to an Indian wedding. This was an amazing cultural experience! We dressed up in Sauwa-kamis’ (a traditional Indian outfit, similar to a sari). When we arrived the beauty stunned me! So many women in colourful saris! The service was in Hindi and they did some strange things that we wouldn’t see in a western wedding - like walk around in circles a lot, swap flower necklaces, throw rice and tie yellow ribbons around the couple’s heads. Also, whenever you felt like it, you could get up and go and have some food in the middle of the service! It was very different, but amazing! We felt like we were on a Bollywood movie set. "¨"¨

On Sunday we had the opportunity to be involved with two Church services at the local Church (St Timothy’s). The 8am service was in English and the 10am service in Hindi. Wayne spoke at the 10am service and it was interesting to hear him preach while pausing for translation. I pray everyone there heard the message of freedom through Christ. We also shared in great fellowship after Church. "¨"¨

When we returned Brenna and I chatted to Dorris who shared with us some family photos and we likewise shared some family photos we had. After an afternoon nap, which is a normal part of life in Navua, we visited a beach, which was amazingly beautiful. On the way home we met an Indian man who stopped us on the street and asked us if we were from the Church, and then told us that we were brothers and sisters in Christ. I love how locals just stop to chat! As Australians, we’re not used to it, so I am still trying to work out how to act! "¨"¨

On Monday and Tuesday mornings we ran a Kindergarten at Church where we focused on Jesus’ power over the wind and the waves and how this powerful Jesus loves us! We also played fun games and sang songs, which they found hard to understand, but had fun singing anyway. On Monday, it was also Michelle’s 18th birthday, so we went for a boat ride to a beautiful waterfall and had lunch. Swimming in the pool underneath the waterfall is something I’ll never forget! "¨"¨

At night we had youth group, which includes anyone who isn’t married. So it ranged from babies to mid-30s! Sam spoke on David, Goliath and Jesus, which went really well, and Brenna gave her testimony. I taught everyone a game; it was hilarious seeing the adults get into it. We had some amazing fellowship afterwards just getting to know people and sharing our favourite Bible verses. "¨"¨

We were late to Kindergarten on Tuesday as our taxi was running on ‘Fiji time’. Even though we had a late start, it still went really well. We revised Monday's story and did chalk pictures of the wind and the waves. We made a cross during craft, which the kids coloured in and wrote, “Jesus saves me” on. They loved the new songs we taught them and ‘duck-duck-goose’ was a winner. "¨"¨

Brenna was ill on Tuesday and so I prayed that God would heal her. I was reminded that so often in Australia I can pray for things and not expect them to happen, even though I’m praying to a big God who can do anything. Brenna got better that afternoon and I was so encouraged to pray more and trust God more through prayers. "¨"¨

On Tuesday night we met up with the team and had a farewell. It was like a Church service where we were joined by locals, we sang, prayed and Wayne spoke about Year 13. It was sad saying goodbye to our homestay family, but we were all excited to see the whole Year 13 team again. "¨"¨

Now that we’re back together again, it has been amazing hearing everyone’s stories from all the different homestays. I have heard a range of incredible and challenging stories but overall God has been working powerfully in Fiji, and to Him be all the glory!

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