An unfamiliar home

The Bula Blog Team

Zoe Barnes

It’s now been a week since we came home from our jam packed month in Fiji. And it already feels like a dream.

Our last week of Fiji consisted primarily of our last “official” ministry for the trip, which was a second youth leadership training weekend and de brief and re-entry training.

During our de brief times, were really challenged to remember what went on all that time ago at Sabeto and in Nasakawa and how we would answer peoples questions if they asked us things about them.

For these 2 days of de-brief and re-entry we were lucky enough to go to a backpackers ‘resort’ situated on the island of Waya Lai Lai. Getting used to the comfort level was interesting but as we were told, staying where we did was a way of slowly re-integrating us into western culture also a way of supporting the Fijians, for the resort was run by and helped support the village on the island. It was a big shock seeing westerners again in such a close context and especially when most of them spent their day in a bikini or shirtless (a big shock since us girls had gotten to the point where we almost felt immodest showing our knees!).

Re-entry training allowed us to really zone in on the reality that we were at the end of our trip. After so much preparation and lead up, we were at the end and preparing ourselves for the next adventure of going back home and facing all the challenges that waited for us there.

Since coming back things have been interesting. It was strange coming back and having my own space. In Fiji we were very much living in each other’s pockets and so the temptation to hole myself up in my room for lengths of time and revel in time actually by myself was extremely tempting and to be perfectly truthful I did do it at times. 

I remember being really overwhelmed by everything, at home: my bed was too comfortable, there was so much food in the house and the house was so big. I was used to a one room house sleeping with 6 of us in the same room!

One of the highlights of being back home was going to church and experiencing that community once again. The same people, that strong sense of fellowship and actually understanding the sermon, it was a really big comfort, especially coming from a small church I definitely felt back home.

I have been challenged not to be judgemental of things since coming back home, something that is easy after being on a mission trip such as one we were just on. I have really been challenged to be humble in my approach to things and to live out what I have learnt, rather than trying to preach it to people. 

Philippians 2:6-7 says: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” This verse has helped me see that I should not expect people to serve me; but that I, like Christ, should be serving others.

Mostly, since coming back I’ve loved trying to build relationships with the people around me more deeply, especially my family. Having non Christian parents has really motivated me to draw on God’s strength and tell them as much about God’s work over in Fiji as possible so that they can see how important He is in my life.

We’ve all faced our challenges since coming back, all of them different and all of them forcing us to draw on God’s strength to help us through. But that’s the thing. It’s God’s strength, he is there with us every step of the way and I continue and will always stand by the fact that He will never put one of his children through anything that we can’t get through together.