Month long mission with eternal impact
Year 13 has just returned from a month long mission in Fiji. The team of school leavers have spent the last month on mission working with churches, teaching scripture and youth and doing ministry to underprivileged children and in women’s refuges. While the team are extensively trained in Australia, they are given the opportunity to try lots of new experiences such as interacting with people much older than themselves, running youth or kids clubs and sharing their testimony with adults. It’s a life-changing experience for both the Year 13s and the Fijians they come into contact with.
Misha Taylor, one of the Year 13 students from this years trip described the joy the Fijians had through their trust in Jesus. She was amazed by the extent that the Fijians saturate their conversation with Jesus and showed incredible joy during praise and worship. “Many of the older women saying how they used to be poor in possessions but are now rich in Christ ” said Taylor. She described seeing that kind of change amongst the Fijian’s even in the short time they were there, with young boys who barely spoke English learning that "Jesus is God's promised king" or "Jesus loves everyone".
“It’s so encouraging to see how little they have, yet they are so so so joyous in Christ”.
Harry Knox had the opportunity to speak to boys from the Ba Boys home. The boys aren’t able to live with their parents, but have the opportunity to study and learn about God. Knox said he was personally encouraged by the faith of a boy named Issac. Despite intense hardship, Isaac could be confident in Gods love: “No matter what happens, God will look after us”.
Learning to Question
Fijians are culturally Christian, and so this can often be melded with family tradition, leading to confusion about how Jesus wants people to live. One of the issues missions in Fiji face is that Fijian culture treats speakers in very high regard, which can lead to them being led astray by false preachers. One of the key messages emphasised by Year 13 this year was the importance of exploring the bible for yourself and that you can trust the bible is God’s truth and authority.
The Bigger Picture
Year 13 emphasises that these mission trips aim to partner with local Fijians. Each of the programs the year 13 students help run are through existing Churches or organisations. They are honoured to be invited back to Fiji each year and are passionate about seeing God change people over time.
Taylor says that while it is sad to leave the people they got to know over the weeks on mission, it is a relief to know Year 13 will be returning next year. To her, it is essential that the gospel continues to be spoken into the lives of the Fijians.
Over the years, Year 13 has seen the fruit of their long-term relationship. They visited a new Fijian village this year and met a woman who had prayed that a Year 13 group would visit them for three years, since she first heard of the mission.
What you can pray for Fiji:
Pray that God will reveal his truth to them and they will trust the authority of the Bible, reading and questioning everything for themselves.
Pray for the children and women in particular who are drastically impacted by poverty, abuse and neglect. Pray that God would continue to provide for them and that they would be able to learn about him.
Pray for the continued strong relationship between year 13 and the Fijian Churches they partner with, and that many would come to believe and trust in Jesus through this.