Prisoners and machetes
Suva is a land of surprises; I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.
As part of our orientation we had an Amazing Race activity. After staying with a family who lived on a farm during our home stays, I felt slightly out of place in Suva, which is kind of like Sydney, with shops and markets everywhere. The highlight of the Amazing Race was seeing that whilst it felt a little like Sydney, the people were so much more friendly and willing to serve.
While in Suva we ran a youth leadership conference which went really well and offered us a great chance to share the Bible and the way we do things with all the Fijian youth leaders. We also learnt a bit about how they go about running their youth groups and it was great to see how we could help each other. The other great thing about the conference was seeing everyone hanging out together, whether Aussie, Islander or Fijian.
The next day was Sunday and we all went to a few different churches around the Suva area. The church I went to was in a settlement and was made up largely of Indo-Fijians. They met in a small room under the pastor’s house and the service seemed as though it had no specific structure, yet still flowed quite nicely and the message was good. There was then a time of fellowship over lunch after the service where we were able to meet some amazing people. Everyone seemed incredibly open to sharing anything and everything and we had some really interesting and fruitful conversations.
Later on I went back to the settlement with a small group, to visit with and talk to some of the local people. A lot of families were Hindi and I know a few people had a difficult time trying to communicate to them because they saw Jesus as just another god. The experience was really full on but also really exciting. We hope and pray that any seeds we planted may grow so that some of these people will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour!
The next day we went to 'Homes of Hope', a place for women and their children to escape and recover from abuse. As a way of caring for these people we used machetes to hack down a whole lot of grass to clear a path to a water supply. We also carried innumerable bags of pebbles up a hill to create a level area the women could stand on to hang up their washing. These things may sound slightly trivial but they meant a lot to them.
Another we split into three groups and visited a few prisons to share songs, testimonies and a gospel message with the prisoners. It was so exciting to see convicted murderers who had repented and were so excited to live their lives for Jesus. Unfortunately we didn’t get to talk to them at all but it was great to shake hands with them and give a quick smile and hello.
Those three days, as full on as they were, were also some of the most encouraging days of my life and I wouldn’t have changed a thing we did. I’m so thankful for all the work that the leaders have put in and for the support from my fellow Year-13ers.
God is doing amazing things in Fiji. All honour and praise be to Him!
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