Welcoming one another

After countless hours of prayer, preparation and packing we are finally on Fijian soil! Leaving behind our loved ones and all that is familiar and comfortable, we nervously boarded the plane bound for Fiji--our home for the next month.

We arrived in Fiji under the cover of darkness and took a bus to Sabeto Christian Camp. We immediately felt welcomed by the many locals who waved at us and called out, “Bula!” as we drove by. Although it was dark, we could tell that Fiji is very different to Australia. Even so, we weren't prepared for what we would wake up to the next morning…!

The breathtaking view of the mountains surrounding our campsite took everyone by surprise. After our first Fijian breakfast, we took a bus to a local village called Korobebe where we were welcomed with an official kava ceremony. There were so many of us that we struggled to all fit into the ceremony area. After we had been officially welcomed, we were all given a beautiful handmade garland and given a tour of their village in the hot Fijian sun. We watched the adorable children in the Kindergarten perform a beautiful song and we sang a song to them in return. The women in the village had prepared a large feast for us and we all ate until we were more than full.

Later that night, we split off into our local church mission teams and were given the opportunity to run various Youth Group programs around Nadi.

The next day we visited Denaru Island—one of Fiji’s biggest tourist spots. The purpose of this visit was to open our eyes to the sharp contrast between life around the resorts and the everyday life of average Fijians. The first thing we were confronted by was the close proximity in which the resorts and villages are located. We were also challenged to work hard as a cohort against the typical stereotype of Westerners that was presented at the resorts. This was helpful for us to keep in mind in preparation for our homestays over the next few weeks.

The rest of our afternoon was spent in Nadi town and visiting orphanages. In Nadi we were exposed to the hustle and bustle of many new sights, sounds, people and traffic. We had the challenging task of finding our own lunch which was both filling and safe for us to eat. After this we slowed down the pace and visited some of the local orphanages. Whilst at the orphanages we were able to chat to and play with the children who lived there. This was one of my favourite parts of our time in Sabeto because I had the opportunity to share the gospel with one of the girls at the orphanage.

On Sunday we concluded our time in Sabeto by travelling back to the churches where did Youth  Group on Friday, to attend their church service. We were both encouraged and challenged by the Fijian people’s passion for the gospel and the fact that they didn’t try to hide their love for Jesus.

By Year 13 students Samantha Begg and Lauren Street (pictured above at Sabeto Christian Camp)