It has only been a few days of our Fiji short-term mission trip, and already I have been encouraged and challenged so much more than I expected.
Fiji is a country with greater extremes than I expected. We wake up each morning to the extreme beauty of God’s creation – the wondrous mountains and the sea of sugarcanes that surround our campsite. But then when we left the campsite to visit the local villages, we saw how extremely little the Fijians have.
Yet they are extremely hospitable. Despite not having many material possessions, the Fijians have been so eager to share all that they do have with us.
On our first full day, we were given the opportunity to visit Korobebe Village. After the Kava Ceremony (a Fijian custom to welcome visitors by having them drink the national drink), we were told that we were welcome to go anywhere within their village. They invited us into their home, provided us with lunch, and were so friendly to us. This kind of hospitality is something I have never experienced back home in Australia.
As a Christian, this really struck me and challenged me to think about being hospitable in my own life. God calls his children to show hospitality, and why? To reflect the love and hospitality that he showed us when he adopted us as children into his family, so that we can be co-heirs with Christ.
The villagers in Korobebe have understood what it means to be hospitable, but it is something that we don’t seem to be great at in Australia. The Fijians are so eager to invite stranger into their homes, which is something that would be considered downright strange in Australia.
So I have been personally challenged and encouraged to work on being generous and hospitable in my own life. But to be honest, I have been struggling to see how to go about this. I guess it is something that should first and foremost be about my heart. If my actions are going to be changed, first there needs to be a change in my heart.
I want to change the way I see the various relationships in my life, so that they are not about what I can gain from those people, but how I can be serving them.
I want to change to be less selfish, but instead centered on loving God and people genuinely.
And I want to change to be generous no matter how much or little I have.
God is the only one who can bring about these changes in my life, and I can already see him doing this in the short time that I have been in Fiji. The hospitality shown by the Fijians has reminded me of God’s hospitality, and challenged me to be living more like Him.