Fiji will be awesome!
Bula " Hi!,
My name is Liz McMurray, and I'm on my way to Fiji! But this is no ordinary holiday " we Year 13ers are not going over to Fiji as tourists, but to tell people about God. Our aim on this mission is to teach the Fijians about God's love, and how through Jesus Christ we can come into a restored relationship with God - Vinaka Jesu! (thankyou Jesus!). We will have the privilege of telling people about Jesus in a variety of settings " markets, schools, prisons, slums, orphanages, churches, and at the Fijian Youth Leadership Conference we will run… But in it all, I expect to learn more from the Fijians than I could ever hope to teach them.
I know that there are going to be many amazing experiences in Fiji:
"¢ It will be amazing to see how the Fijians worship God " which is apparently quite different to what is common in Australia. We have already been warned that prayer meetings and church services often run for hours, if not all day!! This is going to be totally wananavu (one a nar vu) " awesome " although it may be a little difficult to keep the attention going that long.
"¢ Spending five days living with a local Christian family will also be an incredible experience: we will be splitting up into four groups for this period and we will be doing what they do, eating what they eat, going where they go " really living as they do!
"¢ I am also greatly looking forward to going into the orphanages and schools. I can't wait to spend time with these kids, and getting to tell them about the most important thing in the world " a restored relationship with God " is just a total privilege. Please kere kere (kery kery) " pray " that we will speak God's Word faithfully, clearly and boldly.
"¢ I am also looking forward to seeing how much faith the Fijians have in God, despite generally having a tougher time physically. I keep hearing stories about their deep faith in God's goodness and provision so I can't wait to learn from this!
I'm also quite sure that there will be some pretty tough times. I expect to be faced with situations that are difficult to deal with, highly challenging, and also simply exhausting. While I know that these times will be hard, I hope and pray that God will use these situations to make me (and the other Year 13ers) more aware of the Global Church, the physical needs of other countries, and the greatness of God, trusting Him more and more.
But, thankfully, we aren't just going to be flown over to Fiji without any preparation. Our lecturers have been teaching us about some of the cultural differences that we should expect " clothing, language (now you know some words too!), food" culture in general.
For example, we have been warned that Fiji time is quite different to our culture " rather than meetings and transport (except for the trains!) etc running within set times as in Australia, in Fiji there is no sense of rush, things will happen when they do. Sanganalanga " which means "no worries, for the rest of your days'" kind of like "acuna matata' " is the lifestyle in Fiji, which might take a little bit of getting used to.
With regards to clothing, our checklist goes something like this: Is it loose-fitting enough? Does it cover my knees even when I sit? Is the neckline high? Do the sleeves reach almost to my elbows? Will my belly be still covered if I lifted up my arms? In dressing in this conservative way by Australian standards (despite the heat), we will be showing the Fijians that we respect their culture and values, and aren't just over in Fiji as self-absorbed tourists. Hopefully this will help to avoid barriers to us sharing the Gospel.
Over all, I think this four-week-long trip is going to be an amazing opportunity that will hopefully further God's Kingdom " positively impacting the church and individuals in Fiji, as well as each of us Year13ers going on the mission trip. As you can probably tell, I am very excited and really looking forward to it! This mission is going to be awesome " wananavu!
Please remember us in your prayers! [Check out our program for here] Thank you " vinaka " in advance.
The Year 13 Youthworks Gap Year team " including 38 students and 10 leaders " will be on mission in Fiji from June 25 to July 23. They will be using this blog to regularly say "bula' (Fijian for "hello') to those who wish to follow their journey and pray for them along the way. You can read their stories, see their pictures and hear how God stretches them as they partner with local churches to share the gospel in orphanages, universities, schools, families and more!